Tomato Tartare with Tomato Water Sauce

(recipe, Jacques Pépin)

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A tartare is the name given to a dish of ground raw beef served with seasonings and herbs. My tomato tartare has the look of the original and is delightfully refreshing for a first course. For a sauce, I emulsify the tomato water (so called because it is the clear liquid squeezed from the tomato halves) with olive oil and garnish the dish with herbs (tarragon or chives).


    Tomato tartare
    1. 1 large tomato (about 12 ounces)
    2. 2 Tbsp. finely chopped sweet onion, such as Vidalia
    3. ½ cup diced (½-inch) day-old bread (preferably from a country loaf)
    4. 3 Tbsp. good olive oil
    5. ½ tsp. salt
    6. ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    Tomato water sauce
    1. Tomato juice (or Bloody Mary mix or V8 juice, if needed)
    2. 5 Tbsp. good olive oil
    3. ½ tsp. salt
    4. ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    5. 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh tarragon or chives
    6. 2 chive flowers, for garnish (optional)


    1. Cut the tomato in half and squeeze the halves into a sieve set over a bowl to release the seeds and juice. Press with a spoon to extract as much juice from the seeds as possible; set aside.
    2. Cut the tomato flesh into ¾-inch pieces. (You will have about 1½ cups.) Put the tomato pieces in a bowl and add the seeds in the sieve to them. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir to mix.
    3. Measure the tomato liquid; if necessary, add enough of the tomato juice, Bloody Mary mix, or V8 juice to bring the liquid to 5 tablespoons.
    4. Combine the tomato mixture and the remaining ingredients in a bowl, whisking to emulsify the sauce.
    5. At serving time, divide the sauce among four plates. Place a ½-cup ring mold (or an empty tuna-fish can with both ends removed) in the center of one of the plates and spoon one quarter of the tomato tartare into the mold. Carefully remove the mold and repeat this procedure on each of the three remaining plates.
    6. Sprinkle with the chopped tarragon or chives; decorate with the chive flowers, if desired, and serve.