Gazing begrudgingly at the day’s selection of sashimi grade fish at my local supermarket, I realized that my options are, and have always been, quite limited. Tuna, salmon, squid, or kampachi.
Despite having moved 50 km away from the ocean, I refuse to accept the fact that I am stuck with a dimished selection of fish to choose from whenever I get that urge for sushi or sashimi – and unfortunately, that craving is five days out of the week.
What to do? Resort to my usual menu of salmon and avocado wraps (norimaki) accompanied by a haphazardly concocted egg pancake (tamagoyaki)? Attempt to better my hand-form sushi (nigirizushi) made with kampachi and tuna? No!
So, I am splintering away from the Japanese world and applying what I’ve learned about working with raw fish to a western delicacy inspired by a recent trip to Amsterdam. The day’s special is Salmon Tartare!
Now, you might have heard of the beef variant known as steak tartare, which is made with raw beef, mustard, herbs and spices served with toast and tartare sauce. Salmon tartare is, unsurprisingly, the fishy version of perhaps one of the greatest dishes I’ve ever had the pleasure of consuming.
Salmon tartare as featured on Sushi Break is not a new invention. But I will share the result of my experimentation below.
Recipe is not exact*, but if you want to try yourself, here is the shopping list:
- 1 lb fresh sashimi grade salmon (I used Norwegian salmon, sans skin and bones)
- 1/2 seeded finely sliced/diced cucumber
- 1/2 tbs minced shallots
- 1/2 small white onion
- 1/2 to 3/4 tbs truffle infused olive oil (normal EVOO is fine too), don’t add more than 1/2 tbs if your salmon is really fatty or you’ll have salmon fat contending with oil which I find a little distracting and not so tasty
- 1/2 tsp salt (Okinawan salt was used, but if you’re going to use table salt, a small pinch only)
- 1 tsp fresh parsley finely chopped (dried parsley also ok)
- 1/2 tbs Jane’s Crazy Pepper (finely ground with mortar and pestle)
- 1 tbs of fresh squeezed orange juice (I didn’t have lemon/lemon juice)
- 1/2 tsp (and I mean no more than 1/2 tsp) of sesame seed oil (aka 胡麻油) – this stuff is quite aromic and strong tasting, so don’t let it steal the show
*The shopping list was based on a salmon tartare recipe on Bon Appetit
Instructions: Slice the salmon finely, but not so small that you get mush. You’re trying to make food for humans, not cat food. Keep the salmon aside in a chilled bowl. To the salmon, add the other ingredients in no particular order – but I find that mixing it all in separate bowl ahead of time is a nice idea, so you can just dump it in with the freshly sliced salmon, and be on your way to eating. Rapidly but gently blend together the ingredients with a rubber spatula or other forgiving tool – in other words, don’t use a wooden spoon that grips (and rips) the salmon meat apart with each stir.
For the presentation, what I did was scoop half the mixture into two shallow coffee mugs, flipped them upside down onto the serving saucers, and stored in the fridge for 30 minutes (or however long it takes you to make your other dinner items). Ideally, when you remove your mugs, your salmon tartare should look like little domes.