This quick & easy Smoked Salmon Tartare is the perfect prep ahead appetizer for New Year's Eve, or any other dinner party. Delicious and sophisticated, it's seasoned with spicy French Dijon mustard and a hint of rum, and topped with crispy fried capers that are sure to become you new favorite topping.
Drain the capers and place on a kitchen towel to dry for a few minutes.
Pour ⅛ of an inch (a few millimeters) of olive oil in a frying pan and place over medium-high heat.
Test the heat of the oil by dropping in a few capers. If it instantly starts to bubble, add in the rest of the capers. Otherwise, wait for another minute and try again.
Fry the capers for 5 minutes and then remove a few and place them on a kitchen towel. If they quickly become crisp, they're done. In that case, remove the pan from the heat and place all capers on the kitchen towel. Otherwise, let fry another minute and test again.
Let the kitchen towel absorb the oil for a few minutes, or leave them there until it's time to plate.
Salmon Tartare - Prep (10-15 minutes)
Place both types of chopped salmon in a bowl together with ⅓ of the Dijon mustard, all the rum, lemon juice, dill, parsley and white pepper. Mix well, taste test and adjust seasoning according to taste.
Pack the tartare into portion-sized cups or bowls and place covered in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or longer, until you're ready to plate.
Plating (5 min)
Bring out the salmon tartare from the fridge. On individual serving plates, spread out the arugula or other leafy greens.
Loosen the salmon tartare from the container by placing it upside down on top of the greens, and tapping on the bottom. It should then slide out when you lift the container. If this doesn't work, shake it gently up and down until the tartar slides out.
Place chopped lemon and chopped red onion to each plate as well as about 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard. Top with ½ tablespoon of fried capers and a sprig of dill. Serve!
Keep in mind that this is a raw dish and eating raw food is always risky.
Ingredient notes & substitutions
Parsley & dill are a great combo, but you can swap one for the other as well and even skip both of them
Cold smoked salmon can be swapped for hot smoked salmon or gravlax
Fresh salmon is recommended to be frozen before eating raw - there are some types that are supposedly fine to eat fresh as they are, but please check the recommendations for the specific type you are using
Smoked to fresh salmon ratio: I like 50/50 cold smoked and "fresh" (pre-frozen), but you can go for any ratio you like and even 100% of either. If using 100% smoked salmon or gravlax, skip the fried capers or it might be too salty.
White pepper can be swapped for black pepper, but start with half the amount and taste test to ensure it doesn't get too spicy for you
Rum can be swapped for Cognac or Cachaca, or skipped
Lemon - use an organic lemon and/or clean the outside very well for the lemon you are chopping
Arugula adds a nice pepperiness, but can be swapped for any leafy greens
Capers can be skipped, but add a nice crunch & salty touch
Tips & tricks
Use the right cups or bowls - the opening needs to be the widest part for the tartare to slide out easily
Chop the onion and lemon as small as you possibly can to make them mix in well with the tartare
Soak the chopped onion in cold water to soften the flavor a bit
Let your guests add their own seasonings by serving the red onion, chopped lemon and part of the Dijon mustard on the side (like this recipe suggests) - or mix it all in beforehand
Make it your own and find your favorite flavor combo - more or less smoked salmon, more or less Dijon mustard, something else instead of rum?
Prep ahead - you can keep these in the fridge for up to 2 days before serving
Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 days