Potato Pancakes Topped with an
Asian Pear and Tuna Tartar
Serves 2 (2 pancakes per serving)
The combination of a crisp potato pancake as a base for a topping of a raw tuna tartar,
flecked with crispy Asian pears and flavored with Asian seasonings, gives this Sunday
Supper dish a fetchingly unctuous appeal. It's light, yet full of unusual flavors. We had
this as a first course for a Valentine's Day supper and made the potato pancake into a
heart-shaped. Whether you make a special-occasion shape or just make the pancakes roughly
round, you'll find this recipe a simple heart-warmer for a light Sunday Supper or hors d'oeuvres.
1 small piece of Ahi tuna (1/2 lb. for a light topping for four 3" round pancakes)
chili oil or chili powder
1 Asian pear
- Cut the tuna into tiny even cubes. (Chopping is OK, but the texture won't be the same as
cutting it into fine cubes because the sinew of the tuna does not allow it to be chopped
- Mix in the seasonings and let the tuna marinate
for about 2-3 hours.
- Just before serving, chop the Asian pear into very tiny cubes the same size as the tuna
and mix them together.
2 medium size Russet potatoes
4 TBS butter
salt and pepper to taste
- Peel the potatoes and cook them (whole) in boiling water for about 8 minutes. Drain and
when cool enough to handle, grate the partially cooked potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and
pepper and 2 TBS melted butter.
- Have a hot skillet ready and melt 1 TBS of butter on skillet. Drop about 3 - 4 TBS of
the grated potato mixture onto the hot skillet and pat it into a flat round shape or into
a bottomless mold of your choice (heart-shaped mold for Valentine's day, star-shape for
4th of July, Santa Claus or angel for Christmas, etc.) When the potatoes have set, remove
the mold and let the potatoes cook over moderately high heat until crispy brown on the
bottom. Spread the remaining 1 TBS of butter over the unbrowned side of each pancake and
flip once to brown the other side.
- Off heat and while the potato pancakes are still warm, arrange them on individual
serving plates and spread a thin topping of tuna tartar evenly across the top.
- Drizzle with a chiffonade of thinly shredded arugula leaves and mint (in equal
- Asian Pear: The light crunchy
texture and light flavor of the Asian pear blends beautifully with light but
"oily" texture of the tuna. If Asian pears aren't available, you could try using
apples or regular pears. But each of these fruits will impart more of their own flavor and
will change the over effect of the dish.
- Proportions for seasonings: The
proportion of these ingredients depends on your taste. Try starting with 1 tsp sesame oil,
1 TBS olive oil, 1/2 tsp dry mustard and enough chili oil to give it some bit. From there,
adjust the seasonings to your own taste. Keep in mind that you'll be adding the Asian pear
just before serving. So you'll want to aim to have the tuna full-flavored so that it will
carry the seasoning when the Asian pear is added.
- Hors d'doeuvres: If you're making hors
d'oeuvres, then either shape the potato pancakes into 1" rounds or brown a large flat
sheet and cut out the 1"rounds after cooking the first side. Then brown the flip side
or each 1" round.