SALMON TARTARE with CUCUMBER and GREEN BEAN SALAD
by Stefan Gates
One of the great things about steak tartare is the do-it-yourself aspect—being given all the flavoring ingredients so you can essentially build a meal yourself—and the same is true with salmon tartare.
Salmon tartare is much less daunting to make at home than steak tartare—it ranges from exquisitely delicate to punchy and herby, depending on how you throw yours together. The fun lies in putting all the ingredients on the table ready for your friends to dig into as they wish.
HINT: If you have a circular table you can just put everything in the middle, with a plate in front of each of your friends, and let them get to it. However, if your table is rectangular (like mine is), you really need to split the ingredients into several bowls so they are in easy reach for everyone.
• 1¾ Ib very fresh salmon fillet, skinned and boned
• 1 teaspoon superfine sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
For The Salad
• 1 lb green beans
• 1 whole cucumber, peeled
• a handful of fresh dill, chopped
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar (or sherry vinegar)
• salt and freshly ground black pepper
• sourdough toast and butter
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
• a large handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
• 2 lemons, each cut into 6 segments
• 2 tablespoons capers, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons gherkins, finely chopped
• Tabasco sauce
• Worcestershire sauce
Using a sharp knife, chop the salmon into small pieces about the size of coffee beans (don't use a food processor, since this will create a paste—you want to maintain the texture of the fish). Put the salmon pieces in a bowl, sprinkle with the sugar and salt, and combine thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes (which is just about the same amount of time it takes to do all of the following).
To make the salad, boil or steam the green beans until just tender, then rinse in plenty of cold water (they need to be cool, but this also keeps them vividly green). Shave the whole cucumber into very thin slivers using a vegetable peeler or mandolin. Put the beans and cucumber into a large bowl. Combine the dill, olive oil, vinegar, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Pour this over the cucumbers and beans and toss well.
Toast slices of sourdough bread on a ridged grill pan or in a toaster. Put the shallots, parsley, lemon segments, capers, and gherkins into separate small bowls.
Give each person a plate or bowl and a spoon for serving. Put the salmon, salads, and toasts on the table in large bowls and place all the other ingredients on the table around them. Everyone builds a personal bowl of tartare to suit their taste (just as with beef tartare), starting with a small mound of salmon. The flavorings should be mixed into the salmon to each individual's liking. Start with a squeeze of lemon and add the other flavorings as you see fit.