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.
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.
½ lb salmon, ½ lb cold smoked salmon, 6 teaspoon dijon mustard, 4 teaspoon rum, 4 teaspoon lemon juice, 4 tablespoon dill, 4 tablespoon parsley, ½ teaspoon white pepper
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.
Fried capers (5-10 minutes)
Drain the capers and place on a kitchen towel to dry for a few minutes.
4 tablespoon small capers
Pour ⅛ of an inch (a few millimeters) of olive oil in a frying pan and place over medium-high heat.
2 tablespoon olive oil
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.
Plating (5 min)
Bring out the salmon tartare from the fridge. On individual serving plates, spread out the arugula or other leafy greens.
4 handfuls arugula
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!
1 red onion, ½ organic lemon, 4 sprigs of dill
Keep in mind that this is a raw dish and eating raw food is always risky.
Raw salmon: it is recommended freeze fresh salmon before eating raw, but eating raw fish always poses a risk
Smoked to fresh salmon ratio: I like 50/50 cold smoked and fresh, 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.
Lemon - use an organic lemon and/or clean the outside very well for the lemon you are chopping
Capers can be skipped, but add a nice crunch & salty touch
You probably won't need to add salt, but if you need it just go ahead
Parsley & dill are a great combo, but you can swap one for the other as well, or even skip both. You can also substitute them for chives.
Cold smoked salmon can be swapped for hot smoked salmon or gravlax
White pepper can be swapped for black pepper, but start with half the amount and taste test to ensure it isn't too spicy
Rum can be swapped for Cognac or Cachaca, or skipped
Lemons can be swapped for limes - both lime juice and chopped lime - with some change to the taste
Add lemon zest for even more lemon flavor
Arugula adds a nice pepperiness, but can be swapped for any leafy greens
Red onion can be swapped for shallots
Tips & tricks
Use the right cups or bowls - the opening needs to be the widest part for the tartare to slide out easily
You don't have to make it in individual cups you can also make it all in one big bowl and plate from this
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 make it up to 2 days before serving
Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 days
Is salmon tartare safe to eat?
Fresh salmon (especially wild caught) can contain parasites that are unsafe for humans. However, these die if you freeze the salmonfor long enough. So either freeze it for at least 7 days at home (please check the temperature of your freezer if doing so, as it needs to be at least -20°F or -7°C) or just get frozen salmon from the store.Keep in mind that consuming raw fish is always a risk.