ffwd: fresh tuna, mozzarella, and basil tartelette

tuna tartelette

For the past three years, I’ve been cooking my way through Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook Around My French Table along with the rest of the French Fridays with Dorie crew. With hundreds of recipes in the book, one cannot love them all. Last week, I was intrigued yet uninspired by Floating Islands (meringues on a pool of custard). I was feeling the same ennui about this week’s recipe, but didn’t want to skip two weeks in a row.

The selected recipe this week is Fresh Tuna, Mozzarella, and Basil Pizza. I like all the individual ingredients in this recipe, but I was having trouble imagining them all together in one dish. You never know until you try, so I plunged right in.

The main ingredient in this one was fresh tuna. I’m a big sushi fan so I have no objection to eating raw fish, but I anticipated sourcing sushi-grade tuna to be challenging. There’s a Japanese grocery that sells sushi grade fish, but I didn’t have time to get there this week. I only needed a little bit of tuna because I was making just a single serving for lunch. My game plan was to buy some prepared sushi at Whole Foods and cannibalize slices off the top of a few rice balls. I was pleasantly surprised to find sushi-grade tuna in a freezer case in the fish department instead.

Sushi-Grade Tuna

The base for this fusion pizza is supposed to be a disk of puff pastry. I had a mini-tart crust hanging around my kitchen. When I made a tart last week, there was some extra pastry so I’d made a mini crust but hadn’t had a chance to fill it yet. This seemed the perfect opportunity to use it.

With the crust and tuna ready, the rest of the preparation is a snap. Lightly sautéed scallions are spread on top of the crust. Then slices of tuna, fresh mozzarella, and basil leaves are alternated decoratively around the crust. This would be enough for a beautiful tart, but then the tuna is topped with cherry tomatoes, olives, and freshly grated ginger. The tart is slipped into a hot oven for a few minutes to slightly cook the fish.

There’s no doubt that the fish tart was very pretty too look at. Unfortunately, I found the flavors a bit conflicting (or anachronistic, to quote my friend Lauren – you know who you are). On the one hand, the tuna and ginger are reminiscent of sushi. On the other hand, the tomato, mozzarella, and basil scream Salad Caprese. Sushi and Italian is a bit too fusion for me. My other complaint is the basil. After a couple minutes in the oven, any exposed edges turned black. I think this would work better to add the basil after it comes out of the oven.

The concept works. I particularly liked the base of sautéed scallions. I wouldn’t rule out a second try that firmly stands in one flavor profile. While I didn’t try the puff pastry bases, I really liked this with the pâté brisée. I’m even inspired to make a batch of mini tart shells to play around.

If you’re curious about how other Dorista pizzas turned out, follow their links here. Happy Friday!




Posted on 6 September 2013, in French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Oh I like the idea of this in a mini tart shell! Nice one!

  2. I really need to get my hands on some ahi tuna – it is one of my favorite foods (especially when it is seared on the outside and crusted with toasted sesame seeds – mmmmm). It’s just a bright and cheery dish!

    Have a great weekend.

  3. Totally did the same thing with the sushi-grade tuna! But, I just bought them in sashimi form from my favorite sushi restaurant.

  4. The green onion base was my favorite part, too. Yours looks really good. I didn’t use tuna or ginger on mine, so I had less of the discordance.

  5. Betsy, your individual serving looks colorful and delicious and very pretty to me! I agree that there were a lot of flavors involved here but without the freshly grated ginger it seemed to work for us – I have not been able to find sushi-grade frozen tuna here – so this recipe was a great excuse to go to the fish monger – interesting recipes this month!
    Have a nice weekend, Betsy! Liebe Grüße aus dem sommerlichen Bonn – all the best from very sunny Bonn!

  6. I couldn’t bring myself to use the ginger because of the conflicting flavors. Clever idea to buy pre-made sushi (even though you didn’t have to resort to that). Yours looks bright and delicious!

  7. I skipped the Floating island too rich for me. I trusted Dorie on the ingredient combination and was pleasantly surprise… but I agree reading the list it does sound conflicting…

  8. The mini tart shell looks perfect for all these ingredients, the results loo so

  9. I love the mini-tart shells! Great move! I think the floating islands are best kept for restaurants –

  10. I like the pate brisee base idea. I thought there were too many ingredients going on in this, so I am glad I didn’t have them all.

  11. So glad you were able to find the tuna! This one was was worth the hunt! I think this is one that can be tweaked to fit anyone’s tastes :)

  12. Yours looks so pretty, I kind of feel bad that it didn’t work out taste wise. I have most of the ingredients in the house to make the pizza, but somehow tuna and mozzarella don’t go together in my head – I hadn’t even thought of the ginger! The mixed opinions this week are not helping either. :)

  13. I totally forgot to mention it in my post but you’re right, putting the basil in the oven makes no sense. It gets black and ugly. I was confused by that as well. I kind of liked the confusing combination of flavors, but I certainly understand why you didn’t. Hope you like next week’s recipe better!

  14. I was hesitant going into this one too. It definitely sounded WEIRD! But I was pretty happy with my version in the end and will definitely play around with it a bit more in the future. Since joining this group I now have puff pastry as a staple ingredient in my freezer and this makes a great weeknight dinner option. Sorry to hear that you didn’t love it, but since you said that you like anchovies, I highly recommend them as a substitution. Just leave out the ginger.

  15. Yeah, the ginger was the only thing I needed to be very careful of here as it can take over. Some of us just picked it all off the top.

  16. Your right- the photos are gorgeous and it is something else to look at. I still have to knock this one out but am a bit leery (which usually results in a unexpected victory due to expectations….). I guess because I am not a sushi fan I am even less inspired, but I know my hubby will enjoy this adventure so I am keeping that in mind. At least I got the veal done. And your tart crust looks amazing- my mouth is now watering for some lemon curd to go right inside one……:) Tricia

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