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RECIPE: Tuna Tartare with Wild Mushrooms and Shredded Phyllo
In this multitiered appetizer, a sprightly mushroom salad underneath the tartare provides all the acidity the tuna needs without turning it gray. For crunch, it's topped with a kataifi (shredded phyllo) cracker. You break off a piece of the kataifi and use it to push the silky tuna and mushroom salad onto your fork.
Makes 2 Servings:
- 1½ ounces (40 g) frozen shredded phyllo (kataifi), thawed (see Notes)
- ¼ cup (60 ml) clarified butter
- 6 ounces (180 g) sushi-grade tuna fillet, cut into ¼-inch (6 mm) dice 2 teaspoons thinly sliced chives
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
- ½ cup (60 g) Wild Mushrooms
- "à la Grecque"
- Mushroom powder, for dusting, optional
1. Heat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set a 3-inch (7.5 cm) ring mold on top (see Notes). In a small bowl, toss the phyllo with the clarified butter until coated. Pat half of the phyllo into the mold; remove the mold. Make a second disk with the remaining phyllo. Cover the disks with another sheet of parchment and set a second baking sheet on top. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
2. In a small bowl, toss the tuna with the chives and oil. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Set the same mold on a salad plate. Pat in half of the mushrooms, then half of the tuna and smooth the top; remove the mold. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms and tuna on a second plate. Top each with a phyllo disk and drizzle oil around the tartares. Dust the plates with mushroom powder, if desired, and serve.
- Shredded phyllo (kataifi) is available at Greek and Mediterranean markets.
- Mushroom powder is available at specialty food shops and online, but I make my own using dried black trumpet mushrooms. Pick through the dried mushrooms, discarding any leaves, twigs, or pebbles, then grind them to a fine powder.
- Instead of a ring mold, feel free to use a tuna can with the bottom and top removed Or try a ramekin brushed with oil; you'll need to pat in the tuna first, then the mushrooms to get the order of the layers right, because you'll invert them onto a salad plate. Running a table knife around the inside edge of the ramekin helps the filling slide out nicely.
Wild Mushrooms "à la Grecque"
À la grecque is the French culinary nod to the Greek style of cooking vegetables in olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice. In this recipe, I-a Greek chef- pay my respects to the French by sautéing mushrooms, then tossing them with oil and vinegar. But you can't lump all mushroom varieties together. Some are firm and require longer cooking, some taste best when caramelized, and others are delicate and need gentle heat, so I cook each kind separately. I like to use shiitake and oyster mushrooms as a base and then add a seasonal mushroom, such as chanterelle, morel, black trumpet, or white beech.
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 7 ounces (200 g) baby oyster mushrooms, sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 6 small thyme sprigs
- 7 ounces (200 g) baby shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps sliced ¼ cup (60 ml) dry white wine
- 10 ounces (300 g) chanterelle mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tablespoons finely diced carrot
- 2 tablespoons finely diced leek, white parts only
- 3 tablespoons finely diced shallot
- 2 tablespoons finely diced peeled, seeded tomato
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Banyuls vinegar (see Notes) or sherry vinegar
- Finely sliced chives, for garnish, optional
1. In a medium skillet, warm 1 tablespoon of the canola oil. Add the oyster mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat, undisturbed, until lightly browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Stir the mushrooms and cook, stirring often and reducing the heat as needed to avoid scorching, until lightly browned all over, about 5 minutes more. Add 2 garlic cloves and 2 thyme sprigs and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer to a medium bowl.
2. In the same skillet, warm 1 tablespoon of the canola oil. Add the shiitake and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 garlic cloves, 2 thyme sprigs, and 2 tablespoons of the wine. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the skillet is dry, about 1 minute. Transfer to the bowl with the oyster mushrooms
3. In the same skillet, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Add the chanterelles and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned. 2 to 3 minutes.
Stir in the remaining 2 garlic cloves, 2 thyme sprigs, and 2 tablespoons of wine. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the skillet is dry, about 1 minute. Transfer to the bowl with the other mushrooms and refrigerate until cool.
4. In a small saucepan of boiling water, cook the carrot for 1 minute. Add the leek and cook until both vegetables are crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Drain the vegetables in a fine sieve, rinse in cold water, and drain again.
5. Remove the garlic and thyme from the mushrooms and discard. Add the carrot, leek, shallot, tomato, olive oil, and vinegar to the mushrooms and toss to coat: taste for seasoning. Transfer to a platter or serving bowls, garnish with chives, if desired, and serve.
To make ¼4 cup (60 ml) of clarified butter, melt 6 tablespoons (100 g) of diced unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally; take care not to brown or burn it. Remove the pan from the heat and skim off the foam. Pour the remaining butter into a bowl, leaving behind the whitish milk solids at the bottom (which is what burns); discard the solids.