At Max's South Beach, chef Simon creates an eye-catching presentation with brilliantly colored beet vinaigrette, tiny beads of wasabi "caviar" (flying fish or capelin roe with wasabi paste added) and crisp potato gaufrettes (waffle-cut potato chips). In the restaurant preparation, the chef puts fresh beets through a juicer, then reduces the juice to create an intensely flavored beet "essence" for the vinaigrette; here we've adapted the vinaigrette recipe so it is easier to make at home.

You will have more lemongrass oil and beet vinaigrette than you need in this recipe. Consider serving a green salad alongside the tartare, dressed with the extra vinaigrette. Extra lemongrass oil can be used to season steamed vegetables, potatoes or pasta.

Lemongrass Oil
Beet Vinaigrette
Potato Gaufrettes

To make the lemongrass oil:

Combine the canola oil and lemongrass in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low for 10 minutes. Take the pan from the heat and let sit until cool. Strain the infused oil, discard the lemongrass and store the oil in a sealed jar until needed.

To make the beet vinaigrette:

Combine the beets, vinegar, salt and pepper in a food processor and process until smooth. With the motor running add the olive oil in a gentle stream. Taste the vinaigrette for seasoning and set aside until needed.

For the potato gaufrettes:

Peel the potato. Using the ridged side of a slicer, cut the potato into waffle slices, turning the potato a quarter turn with each slice. (Alternatively, you can thinly slice the potato with a knife.) Immediately put the slices in a bowl of cold water and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain the slices and thoroughly dry them with paper towels (any remaining water on the potatoes will sputter when fried). Heat the oil in a medium heavy pan over medium high heat; the oil should come no more than halfway up the sides of the pan. Test the oil with one potato slice: it should actively flutter in the oil without coloring immediately. Fry the potato slices 6 to 8 at a time until lightly browned and crisp. Drain on a plate covered with paper towels.

Cut the tuna into roughly 1/4-inch dice and put it in a medium bowl. Drizzle over 2 teaspoons of the lemongrass oil and sprinkle with a large pinch of black pepper. Toss the tuna gently to thoroughly mix. Arrange the tuna tartare in 3 small mounds around chilled individual plates and top each mound with some of the wasabi caviar. Pile the potato gaufrettes in the center of the plate and drizzle about 1 teaspoon of the beet vinaigrette around the plate. Lay the chives in an "X" across the center of each plate and serve immediately.

Servings per recipe: 2
Wine suggestions: Steele Chardonnay 1993 or LaCrema Chardonnay 1994

Go to Kerry Simon's: [ Home Page ][ Bio][ Recipes ][ Interview ][ Restaurant ]

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