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Tuna Carpaccio Guide: Recipes, Tips, and Serving Ideas

April 23, 2023

Fresh, uncooked tuna steaks laid out on a clean surface

Tuna Carpaccio Recipe

Tuna carpaccio, a dish that originated in Italian cuisine, has become a beloved delicacy worldwide, especially among seafood aficionados. This dish is celebrated for its simplicity, requiring just a few high-quality ingredients to create a stunning appetizer or main course. Whether you're new to the world of carpaccio or a seasoned connoisseur looking to refine your culinary skills, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know to prepare an exquisite tuna carpaccio.

What is Tuna Carpaccio?

Tuna carpaccio is a dish typically made from thinly sliced raw tuna, drizzled with a light dressing, and often accompanied by herbs, spices, and other accoutrements like avocado or capers. The key to an exceptional tuna carpaccio lies in the quality of the fish. Sushi-grade ahi, yellowfin, or bluefin tuna are the most popular choices due to their freshness, flavor, and texture.

Ingredients for Classic Tuna Carpaccio Recipe:

  • 400g sushi-grade tuna (ahi, yellowfin, or bluefin)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Arugula or mixed greens for garnish
  • Parmesan cheese, shaved
  • Capers (optional)
  • Avocado, thinly sliced (optional)

Tuna Carpaccio Recipe: Step-by-Step

  1. Preparation of the Tuna:

    • Start by placing your tuna in the freezer for about 30 minutes. This will firm up the fish, making it easier to slice thinly.
    • Remove the tuna from the freezer and, using a very sharp knife, slice the fish into paper-thin slices. Lay the slices flat on a chilled plate, slightly overlapping them. If you prefer, you can also use plastic wrap to gently pound the slices to an even thinner consistency.
  2. Dressing the Carpaccio:

    • In a small bowl, whisk together extra-virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice. The dressing should be light and refreshing to complement the delicate flavor of the tuna.
    • Drizzle the dressing over the tuna slices, making sure each piece is lightly coated.
    • Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  3. Adding the Garnishes:

    • Scatter arugula or mixed greens around the plate for a touch of color and texture.
    • Add shaved Parmesan cheese over the top of the tuna slices. The saltiness of the cheese pairs wonderfully with the fresh fish.
    • If using, sprinkle capers across the dish for a briny contrast or arrange thin slices of avocado for a creamy component.
  4. Serving:

    • Tuna carpaccio can be served as a light appetizer or as part of a larger meal. It pairs beautifully with crisp white wine and simple, crusty bread.
    • Serve immediately after preparation to enjoy the freshness of the fish and the crispness of the accompanying ingredients.

Variations and Tips:

  • Ahi Tuna Carpaccio: Ahi tuna, with its rich flavor and vibrant color, is ideal for creating a memorable carpaccio dish.
  • Yellowfin Tuna Carpaccio: Opt for yellowfin tuna for a slightly milder flavor but equally delightful texture.
  • Seared Tuna Carpaccio: For a different twist, lightly sear the outside of the tuna steak before slicing it thin. This adds a subtle smoky flavor.
  • Tuna Carpaccio Sauce: Experiment with different dressings, such as soy sauce-based dressings for a sushi-inspired version or a creamy aioli for added richness.
  • Smoked Tuna Carpaccio: If available, smoked tuna can offer a unique, deep flavor to the dish, contrasting beautifully with the light, fresh ingredients.


Tuna carpaccio is a testament to the beauty of simplicity in cooking. By selecting the best ingredients and following a few basic techniques, you can create a dish that's both visually stunning and deliciously satisfying. Whether you prefer the classic style, a sushi-inspired version, or something uniquely your own, tuna carpaccio offers endless possibilities for creativity and flavor. So why wait? Dive into the elegant world of tuna carpaccio and discover your perfect bite.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tuna Carpaccio

  1. What is tuna carpaccio?

    • Tuna carpaccio is a dish made from thinly sliced raw tuna, typically seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. It's often garnished with ingredients like arugula, shaved Parmesan, capers, and avocado.
  2. Which tuna is best for carpaccio?

    • Sushi-grade ahi, yellowfin, or bluefin tuna are ideal for carpaccio due to their freshness and quality. These types ensure the dish is safe to eat raw and provide the best flavor and texture.
  3. How do I slice tuna for carpaccio?

    • For the best results, slightly freeze the tuna to firm it up, making it easier to slice thinly. Use a sharp, long-bladed knife and cut the tuna against the grain into paper-thin slices.
  4. Can I make tuna carpaccio ahead of time?

    • It's best to prepare tuna carpaccio just before serving to maintain the freshness and quality of the fish. However, you can prepare your garnishes and dressing ahead of time.
  5. What are the calories in tuna carpaccio?

    • The calorie count can vary based on the ingredients and portion size but generally, tuna carpaccio is considered a light dish, especially when served without heavy dressings or additional garnishes.
  6. Is tuna carpaccio safe to eat?

    • Yes, when made with sushi-grade tuna that has been properly handled and stored, tuna carpaccio is safe to eat. It's important to purchase the fish from a reputable source.
  7. What sauce goes well with tuna carpaccio?

    • A light dressing made from extra-virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice complements tuna carpaccio well. For a sushi-inspired flavor, you could use a soy sauce-based dressing.
  8. How can I serve tuna carpaccio?

    • Tuna carpaccio can be served as an appetizer or a light main course, typically on a chilled plate with a drizzle of dressing and your choice of garnishes.
  9. Can I use frozen tuna for carpaccio?

    • Yes, as long as it is sushi-grade and has been frozen properly. Thaw the tuna in the refrigerator overnight before slicing it for carpaccio.
  10. How do I add flavor to tuna carpaccio?

    • Beyond the basic seasoning, you can enhance tuna carpaccio with garnishes like avocado, capers, or fresh herbs. Adjusting the acidity with lemon juice or adding a sprinkle of chili flakes can also elevate the dish.
  11. Can tuna carpaccio be cooked?

    • Traditional tuna carpaccio is served raw. However, for a variation, you could lightly sear the outside of the tuna before slicing it for a seared tuna carpaccio.
  12. Is there a vegetarian alternative to tuna carpaccio?

    • While traditional carpaccio is made with raw meat or fish, you can create a vegetarian version using thinly sliced vegetables like zucchini or beetroot, prepared in a similar fashion.
  13. What wine pairs well with tuna carpaccio?

    • A crisp, dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio pairs beautifully with the light and fresh flavors of tuna carpaccio.
  14. Can I add fruit to tuna carpaccio?

    • Yes, adding fruits like mango or avocado can introduce a sweet or creamy element that complements the savory flavor of the tuna

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