Tuna tataki: for when I don’t want my dinner parties to suck.

I have the tendency to make things horrifically complicated. It is as though I have a genetic predisposition to make things difficult for myself.

For future reference, any simple task that you present to me comes with an unwritten guarantee that I will probably go out of my way to ensure it becomes ten times harder than it ever needed to be. Don’t ask me why this is, because I have no idea. I guess it is just another delightful element of my extremely annoying personality.

For this reason alone, under no circumstance should I be trusted to throw a dinner party. Ever.

Unfortunately for The Swede and everyone else involved, I love them. They are my single favourite activity in the home – right after purposefully leaving my towel on the bathroom floor and counting how many minutes it takes The Swede to complain about it.

As you can imagine, in line with basically everything else in my life, my dinner parties have never been a straightforward exercise. Why do a main and dessert when I can do two entrees, a main and dessert? Why invite one couple when I can invite three? And why serve one beverage style when I can serve ten?

The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?

With each successive dinner party I have been making a conscious effort to scale everything back. This has resulted in coming to the lovely realisation that I can fit in more drinking, more eating and more enjoyment each and every time.

Naturally, my initial changes were implemented over the starters. This being the case, unless The Swede is contributing a plate or two, I limit this course to one dish only. This must be something I can predominantly prepare in advance, requiring simple assembly just before we sit down to eat.

Of these, my favourite is tuna tataki. It looks good, tastes great and is deceptively easy to throw together. As hesitant as I am to share the recipe (it is the single most requested dish in my repertoire), I feel obligated – mostly because I didn’t know what else to write about today.

If you have my soy-glazed salmon bowls down perfectly, this will be a breeze – the dressing is basically the same.

Tuna Tataki
Serves 4

500g sashimi-grade tuna*
2 tbsp sesame oil

For the Dressing
4 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp mirin
2 scallions / spring onions, sliced into thin rings
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated

To Serve
Fresh coriander, leaves picked
Sesame seeds
Crispy fried shallots

To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Cover with cling film and leave in the refrigerator until it is time to serve.

Heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick frying pan and sear the tuna on each side. Using a sharp knife, thinly slice and arrange on individual serving plates.

Drizzle each serving with a tablespoon of the dressing and arrange the picked coriander, sesame seeds and crispy fried shallots  on top. Serve immediately.

*If I feel like mixing it up or have a meat-heavy audience, I often change the tuna up for some good quality fillet of beef.

NB: returning guests? There is always room for a good disguise – they will never know! I dice the tuna, being careful to remove any sinew. Stir through 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander, 1/2 a tablespoon of finely diced golden shallot and the dressing. Place in mounds on individual serving plates and cover with fine slices of radish (I slice mine on a mandolin). Voila! Tuna tataki is transformed into tuna tartare. It looks impressive and tastes equally as great.

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