From Too Many Chefs -

January 13, 2006
Salmon Tartare

The best dishes are either fantastically complicated or deceptively simple. Salmon tartare is a simple one.

Salmon tartare can be a sophisticated appetizer for dinner parties or a relatively simple romantic dinner for two. The key is to start with a nice piece of cold raw or smoked salmon, and add a number of savory mix-in's.

I put a little lemon juice on the fish to keep the flavor bright. Other people mix the other ingredients into the fish directly, but I prefer to let people create their own mixes.

Salmon Tartate, the essentials
Salmon, either filet or cold smoked lox as shown above - about 2 oz per person for a meal portion
About 1 hard boiled egg per person, white and yolk separated and chopped
2 scallions per person, dark green and white/light green separated and chopped
Lemon zest
Lemon juice on the chopped fish, about the juice of 1/2 a lemon/person
A flaky sea salt

Some people add olive oil directly to the salmon. I think this is gilding the lilly since the fish is already filled with wonderful, flavorful, healthy fats.

As for the rest of the mix-ins, Add anything you think might go with the salmon. Here's our plate from last night.

1. Lightly toasted crusty bread
2. Capers
3. Maldon salt or other flaky finishing salt
4. Chopped roasted red pepper
5. Lemon zest
6. Olive tapenade
7. Sun dried tomatoes in oil
8. Hard boiled egg yolk
9. Hard boiled egg white
10. Chopped dark green part of the scallion
11. Chopped light green and white part of the scallion
Not shown, but an excellent choice - creme fraiche or sour cream. Works as a binder to keep everything together on the toasts

Halved grapes, pomegranate seeds, grainy mustard, a sugar/salt mix (like gravadlax), black pepper, minced sweet pickle, any of these things can be a mix-in. Be creative.

Toast a number of slices of a crusty bread or get some wafer crackers. Give each guest a small bowl to mix their tartare in, and a spoon to scoop the ingredients they want into their personal bowl. Chop everything up very very finely. Cut the salmon into 1/8" pieces or smaller, then chop some more. Do the same with every ingredient. Add lemon juice to the salmon and mix, then pile the salmon in the middle of a large plate and surround it with small piles of mix-ins.

Alternately, you can prepare individual plates for your guests, or to be really fancy, put the salmon on a single piece of toast ahead of time and serve to each guest on an individual plate in the center of mix-ins.

Either way, it's a healthy dish that can serve as an appetizer or meal.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at January 13, 2006 7:22 AM | TrackBack

You know the idea of allowing diners to stir in the ingredients to their own taste is actually pretty common here in Paris for a classic steack tartare, so you aren't being that much of a rebel! Love the creative ingredients, though - and especially the nifty graphic!!

Posted by Meg in Paris on January 13, 2006 at 7:26 AM

Meg, I think that's where I got the idea. A million years ago you and I went to restaurant near Les Halles and I had the steak tartare with a variety of mix-ins. It was lovely.

Posted by barrett on January 13, 2006 at 9:05 AM

My graphic numbers 5-7 are hidden. Is it my old computer, or are they all obscured by the 2004 Food Blog Award poster?

Posted by mother-in-law on January 13, 2006 at 2:51 PM

mother-in-law, (Rosalind, is that you?):

You've got a screen that's just too low resolution, I think. I believe you're looking at a 640x480 screen. For best viewing you should have a 1024x768 screen.

Weren't we going to spec you out a new computer at one point?

Posted by barrett on January 13, 2006 at 2:57 PM

I MUST do this; it looks fantastic! We are huge salmon lovers and are always looking for new ways to enjoy it.

Posted by Tina on January 13, 2006 at 4:52 PM

Do you think kids would like this dish? My 12-year old daughter does enjoy salmon quite a bit. What do you believe are the most kid-friendly salmon recipes? Besides my 12-year old, I have a 10 and 7 year old.

Posted by Eric on January 19, 2006 at 7:38 PM