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Test Kitchen video tip: Chilling meats before slicing

August 27, 2012
  • 14K's tuna tartare.
14K's tuna tartare. (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles…)

A few weeks ago, we ran the recipe for 14K's tuna tartare in our Culinary SOS column. The recipe calls for the tuna to be cut into a brunoise, a French term for a fine dice, typically 1/8-inch cubes.

Because the tuna fillet was soft, we placed it in the freezer long enough to firm it up so we could get a nice, clean dice as we tested the recipe.

It's a simple trick that works for any meat when your knife cuts are important: Simply place the wrapped raw meat in the freezer just long enough to firm it up before slicing and dicing. Not only will you get cleaner slices and better edges than when trying to slice through a soft cut or fillet, but you'll also find it's easier.

Click on the video link to the left of this post for a demonstration.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at


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14K's tuna tartare

Total time: 15 minutes

Servings: 1

Note: Adapted from 14K at the Crowne Plaza in Washington, D.C. Wasabi tobiko (flying fish roe) is available at many Japanese markets, as well as select gourmet and cooking supply stores. To fry the wonton skins, cut each square skin in half on the bias to make a triangle and deep-fry in 350-degree oil until puffed and crisped, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

3 ounces sushi-grade tuna, cut into very small dice

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon minced shallot

1 teaspoon minced chives

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Juice from ½ cold lime

1 teaspoon chile oil

1 teaspoon wasabi tobiko

Pinch black sesame seeds

Fried wonton skins, for serving

In a small bowl, toss the diced tuna with the sesame oil, soy sauce, olive oil, shallot, chives, Dijon mustard and lime juice. In a frozen martini glass, place the teaspoon of chile oil. Spoon the tartare into the glass and garnish with the tobiko and black sesame seeds. Serve immediately alongside the fried wontons.

Each serving: 237 calories; 22 grams protein; 4 grams carbohydrates; 0 grams fiber; 14 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 49 mg cholesterol; 1 gram sugar; 500 mg sodium.

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