Tartare might be considered déclassé now or is it back again? Whatever the verdict, I do not care and proudly pronounce myself a tartare lover, always have been, always will be: steak tartare, salmon, tuna, sea bass, anything; Classic, carpaccio, sashimi or ceviche what have you, bring-it-on (with toast, please). Do you remember the chopped beef surrounded by all the trimmings on lemon slices and topped with the egg yolk in a shell?
Anyway, salmon tartare is such a wonderful starter or amuse-bouche for a party – a little lighter & fresher than beef and maybe more accessible to people who have qualms with raw meat and egg unlike my Mum who will not eat raw fish though beef is totally fine. I like both versions here and often have both at the same time (so hard to decide sometimes) though if pressed, I’d say the shallot, dill & lemon combo is my favourite.
Dill seems such an underused herb if it is not particularly ingrained in your cuisine or culture (I am thinking of Skandinavian countries, Germany, Russia and Turkey, sorry if I forgot other dill-afficionados) but is for me not only a comforting taste (childhood memories of feasts in the garden with my Grandpa, cucumber salads with a sweet cream & dill sauce or herings with dill-potatoes) but these days a more unusual ingredient in herby salad mixes when a rather large amount of fronds is tumbled together with chervil and other leaves. And above all I remember a really nice soup my friend Dirk and I cooked for a party in his Russian Restaurant.
Salmon tartare & Salmon tartare
for 2-4 as a starter or 10 as amuse-bouche
A piece of absolute fresh salmon (about 200g)
one medium shallot, finely chopped
a few sprigs of dill, chopped
one lemon, zest and juice to taste
a mellow oil like a mild olive oil or a nut oil
salt & pepper
shichimi togarashi or sesame seeds and small nori flakes
Check the salmon for any bones and remove them before you slice and chop it into fine dice. Divide the salmon tartarte into two bowls, adding a little more shallot to the one which will get the dill, some lemon zest & juice, oil and salt & pepper. The salmon with a less shallot receives soy sauce, sesame oil, shichimi togarashi and maybe a little spritz of lemon juice, too. Mix and serve both with warm white toast, crisp bread, crackers or pure on a fancy china spoon.