Thanks for those of you who participated in last month’s Macro Food challenge on flickr. There were some great shots, including this gorgeous cucumber, which was perhaps my favorite. Today marks a new month, and a new challenge.
This month, I got inspired by Chez Pim’s post a week ago about “the ugliest food photo ever.” It’s stunning that a professional actually published this photo of Tuna Tartare in the New York Times, taking what sounds like a decent recipe and making it look just awful. I mean, it’s almost right up there with the Snappy Mackerel Casserole.
Here’s the good news. The New York Times included a recipe for the Tuna Tartare. Let’s show them how it should be done. Your challenge is to take a photo of this dish (or something similar to it) and make it look appealling rather than appalling. You can make the dish yourself or find something in a restaurant that is close. If you want to change some of the ingredients, that’s fine… just keep it in the spirit of the salad. For example, if you don’t eat fish, you could make the tartare with roasted red peppers. And I’ll probably substitute real peppers for the tabasco.
Can’t wait to see what you come up with! And, tell your friends….
Update: I hadn’t realized that you needed to sign up for the NYT for the recipe. While I think it’s free to do so, here’s the recipe:
Originally Published: April 26, 2006 in the New York Times Food Section
Adapted from Gotham Bar and Grill
Yield: 6 servings
FOR THE GINGER VINAIGRETTE:
10 ounces fresh ginger
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot sauce
Â¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons grape seed or canola oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with a sprinkle of salt
Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper
FOR THE CROUTONS:
1 baguette, cut diagonally into 18 slices, each 1/8 inch thick
Extra virgin olive oil
FOR THE HERB SALAD:
1 small head baby frisÃ©e, rinsed, dried and torn into 1- to 1Â½-inch pieces
Â½ cup gently packed chervil leaves
1/3 cup gently packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/3 cup gently packed cilantro leaves
1 large seedless cucumber, ends trimmed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE TUNA TARTARE:
1 pound sushi-grade yellowfin tuna, well chilled
6 shiso leaves, cut into narrow strips
1/3 cup very thinly sliced scallions, white part only
Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper.
1. For the ginger vinaigrette, use a food processor or medium-fine holes of a cheese grater to chop or grate ginger as finely as possible. In batches, wrap ginger in a piece of cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel, and squeeze to extract 3 tablespoons of juice into a small bowl. Whisk in lime juice and hot sauce. Gradually whisk in oil until vinaigrette has emulsified. Whisk in shallot and garlic, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover, and refrigerate.
2. For the croutons, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange baguette slices on a baking sheet, and bake until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Let slices cool, and brush both sides very lightly with olive oil. Place in an airtight container until needed.
3. For the herb salad, in a medium bowl, toss together the frisÃ©e, chervil, parsley and cilantro. If you wish, use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to remove strips of peel about Â½ inch apart down the length of the cucumber. Using mandoline or sharp knife, cut cucumber into paper-thin slices. Set aside.
4. For the tuna tartare, using a sharp thin-bladed knife and an impeccably clean cutting board, slice tuna into Â¼-inch dice. Place in a mixing bowl, and add shiso, scallions and Â½ cup ginger vinaigrette. Toss, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. For assembly, dress herb salad with 3 tablespoons vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste; mix well. Place a 2Â½- to 3-inch ring mold in center of a chilled dinner plate. Using outside edge of mold as a guide, make a ring of overlapping cucumber slices. Spoon a sixth of the tuna tartare into mold, pressing it down lightly. (If you do not have a ring mold, simply arrange a ring of cucumber slices, and shape a neat mound of tartare in center.) Stand 2 or 3 croutons in tartare, and pile dressed salad on tartare, between croutons. Carefully lift mold up and off the plate. Repeat to make 6 servings.