One weekend LL and I spent the weekend in San Francisco to see Kiki and Herb at the A.C.T.,  but the show seemed sad and we were happy so we snuck out and walked down to the St. Francis where we went to sit at the bar at the Compass Rose but it was the new Michael Mina (which is the old Michael Mina now) and we were wowed by his tuna tartare.

It was one of those astonishing dishes, prepared table side – in our case, bar side – with gorgeous pink rich ahi and crisp sweet diced pears and salty pine nuts with the zing of garlic and the heat of jalapeño held together with quail eggs. It was a dish we had to recreate.

The first time, we followed the recipe faithfully, special ordering sashimi-grade ahi from Deluxe Foods and tracking down quail eggs at Whole Foods. The second time we were a bit more lackadaisical. Whole Foods had stopped carrying quail eggs because of the discovery that the birds were, in fact, NOT free-range, so we omitted the egg entirely. We used canned jalapeño and pre-crushed garlic, used olive oil instead of sesame because we were out. And you know, what? It was still delicious.

Keep this in mind next time you want an elegant zinger for a dinner party. It’s too good to hoard for yourself!

Ahi Tartare Just Like Michael Mina Makes
This is an intensely flavorful and rich dish created by chef Michael Mina
Recipe type: entree, appetizer
  • 8 oz. Sashimi grade Ahi , diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic (I use 1 tsp Christopher Ranch crushed garlic)
  • 1 tbsp minced jalapeños, minced (here I used the canned jalapeños)
  • 2 tbsp diced pears
  • 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tbsp mint chiffonade
  • 1 tsp pasilla chili powder
  • 1 white pepper
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 12 thin slices sourdough baguette, toasted
  1. Mound the ahi in the center of a platter.
  2. Arrange jalapeños, pine nuts, garlic, and pears at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock.
  3. Drizzle sesame oil over the dish.
  4. Sprinkle with chili powder and white pepper.
  5. Top with mint.
  6. Gently toss, incorporating all the ingredients.
  7. Serve with the toasted baguette.

Here is the recipe as it originally appeared on StarChefs.com.

Then watch Chef Mina prepare the dish on this YouTube video:

embedded by Embedded Video