This Salmon Tartare is as delicious as it is simple to make. A great dish for casual or more formal entertaining that is sure to impress. It’s one of those dishes that look like you’ve been in the kitchen for hours when you haven’t. All the dressing ingredients are simply added to a mini processor and then tossed through diced raw sashimi-grade salmon – so fresh, vibrant, and very moreish!
This Salmon Tartare is a delicious way to start off your meal. Either served with drinks, or as a starter. In this post, I have shown you two ways that you can present this dish. I love serving it both ways depending on the occasion.
I love the freshness and vibrancy of this dish, which makes it a perfect starter course. It has briny saltiness from salted (rinsed) capers and sicilian olives, freshness from spring onions and orange juice, acidity from lemon juice, texture from toasted pine-nuts and a hint of heat from chillies and black pepper, all rounded out with beautiful extra-virgin olive oil. A pinch of salt to taste at the end too (if needed).
This recipe is based on a paleo recipe I found in a magazine a few years ago. You can definitely use tuna in this recipe too. Whichever fish you use, make sure it is sashimi grade as it is a raw dish.
The fresh sashimi-grade salmon is diced or thinly sliced depending on how you would like to present and serve it. The remaining ingredients, except for the citrus juices and salt and pepper, are all processed together in a mini food processor until chunky. The salmon and the chunky dressing can both be prepared ahead of time which is great for entertaining. Keep them covered in separate containers in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve.
Once you are ready to serve, you just combine the two together along with the orange juice, and toss them gently. Then add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
If I am preparing the dish on a platter with thinly sliced pieces of fish, I hold back a few pine-nuts and sliced chillies to garnish, along with a few capers (just a few).
- sashimi-grade salmon – buy from your trusted fishmonger as you want good quality fresh fish for this recipe. I buy fresh sashimi quality boneless, skin-off, single salmon portions from the middle of the fish. I usually buy 3-4 fillets. When preparing the fish, I like to remove all the brown coloured flesh from the underside of the fish with a sharp knife before I start dicing or slicing it. Please always check for any bones too!
- spring onions – rinse the spring onions well to remove any dirt. In this recipe, use the whole spring onion – green and white parts. Slice off the roots, and any wilted green pieces first.
- salted baby capers – use ‘salted’ baby capers for this recipe, not the ones in brine. Buy the best quality you can. To prepare them, rinse them thoroughly in cold water, then drain in a fine sieve as you want to remove the salt attached to them. They are salty enough.
- Sicilian olives – these are the firm brighter green olives and it’s important to use this variety as they aren’t quite as salty as others and being a firmer olive, they also add texture to this dish. If you can’t get pitted ones, then just cut around the stone to remove as much flesh as possible like I have done.
- long chillies – green or red is fine. I quite like the contrast of the red ones so often use these, but either works. I always taste my chillies when I use them as they can vary in heat. The recipe states 1/2 to 1 chilli – up to you. We add 1 whole chilli as we like a bit of heat, but if you prefer a more subtle heat, then just add 1/2 (and remove the seeds as that is where most of the heat lies!).
- toasted pine-nuts – I toast my pine-nuts in a small frying pan over medium heat. It’s a very simple process, but just keep an eye on them. Once they start to turn golden, it happens very quickly, so just keep stirring them so they colour evenly and don’t burn. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely. This can be done 2-3 days ahead of time. Store them in a sealed container.
- extra-virgin olive oil – I like to use a fruity olive oil. Make sure it is a good quality extra-virgin olive oil.
- citrus juice – the recipe calls for both lemon and orange juice. Just a small amount of orange juice gives a lovely lift and a good squeeze or two of lemon juice (to taste) adds a lovely acidity that really brings the dish to life.
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper – the Salmon Tartare gets most of its saltiness from the capers and olives so only a small amount of salt is needed, if any. Definitely grind over some black pepper though. I do add a small amount of salt – I’ve found that depending on the quality of the capers you use (and different brands), some are saltier than others, so use your own judgement with the salt.
Prepare Ahead/Serving Suggestions
The Salmon Tartare is best assembled when you are ready to serve it. However, as mentioned earlier, you can dice or slice the salmon ahead of time and keep it stored in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to assemble later the same day. If you are serving the salmon sliced on a platter, and have room in your fridge, you can actually lay the salmon slices out on the serving platter and cover with glad (cling) wrap which saves you time later.
The rest of the ingredients (except the citrus juices and salt and pepper) can all be prepared ahead and processed in the blender and the mixture stored in the fridge in an airtight container for use later in the day.
When ready to serve: Simply remove the mixture and salmon from the fridge and start to assemble the dish.
If serving in a bowl, combine them both along with the orange juice and black pepper. Taste and add lemon juice and sea salt to taste. That’s it!
If serving sliced on a platter ‘sashimi style’, lay the salmon out on a platter so they are all flat. Add small dollops of the chunky dressing evenly all over the salmon (see photos). Garnish with a few extra sliced chillies, pine-nuts and capers and drizzle very lightly with olive oil. I also often add some finger-lime caviar to garnish as well (optional), or you can give a little squeeze of lemon juice over the platter. Serve with lemon wedges in a bowl to the side. You can also decorate with fennel fronds or dill.
Another thing you can prepare ahead of time are the toasted breads to serve alongside the Salmon Tartare. Make sure you slice them thinly. I like to use a sourdough loaf or baguette, thinly sliced and lightly toasted. I make these up ahead of time and keep in an airtight container. You could also serve the tartare with crackers.
- large bowl x 2
- mini food processor
- 700 g salmon sashimi-quality, skinless and boneless
- 1 c spring onions approximately 4-5 spring onions, green and white parts, chopped roughly into 1cm slices – enough to fill a loosely packed cup.
- 40 g salted baby capers rinsed and drained, (approximately 4 tbsp)
- 15 Sicilian olives pitted, chopped roughly
- 50 ml olive oil extra virgin
- 40 g pine-nuts toasted, approximately 3 tbsp
- 1 red chilli or green. Use only 1/2 chilli if you prefer. Remove seeds from the chilli and slice.
- 2 tsp orange juice freshly squeezed
- 1 lemon juice, to taste
- sea salt to taste
- black pepper freshly ground, to taste
- To prepare the salmon: Remove any brown coloured flesh from the underside of the fillets. Use a sharp knife to cut the fillets into 1/2 cm cubes. Set aside, covered in the fridge.
- In the bowl of a mini food processor, add the spring onions, capers, olives, olive oil, pine-nuts and chilli. Pulse in short (3 sec) bursts 2-3 times (scraping down the sides once in between) or until mixture is chopped up well, but still a chunky paste and not quite smooth (see photos).Add this mix to the diced salmon along with the orange juice and stir through gently to combine. Grind over black pepper and add lemon juice to taste (nice to get a kick of acidity). Season with sea salt if required (just a pinch).
- Serve immediately in a bowl with thinly sliced, toasted sourdough or baguette. *If you want to serve the Salmon Tartare 'sashimi style' on a platter, see notes.