Smoked Salmon Tartare and Cucumber Appetizer

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lately we've been experimenting in our kitchen quite a bit. The best way to do that, is to simply get your hands (and kitchen counter) dirty. Remember the ingredients and the steps. If it works, write it down, if it doesn't, figure out why and try again. This makes cooking scientific (and now that science is involved, more fun for my husband).

I started out wanting to make something involving smoked salmon on cucumber slices. I've had cucumber and smoked salmon with some sort of white base variant (cream cheese, greek yogurt, sour cream) in-between on several occasions. And while I like the idea, I wanted to do something differently.

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There was a lone avocado aimlessly rolling around in the fridge drawer. It reminded me of the raw salmon tartare served on avocado we've had as a sushi appetizer with a soy sauce based marinade. We decided to make a similar marinade for the smoked salmon, and tried several different versions. One was simply soy sauce, lime juice and brown sugar (brown sugar canceled out the salt of the soy sauce, and we were largely left with taste of the lime juice). Another involved hot sesame oil, which was too distracting. The recipe that seemed to work the best was lemon juice and soy sauce mixed with the salmon first, followed by toasted sesame oil after the fish has had a chance to absorb the first two ingredients. If the sesame oil was added first, the chemistry goes, it would have simply coated the salmon and blocked the lemon juice from getting into the flesh.

We made this recipe to our taste, so feel free to adjust it to your own.

Smoked Salmon Tartare and Cucumber Appetizer
(Makes 12)

You will need:
4 oz smoked salmon, finely chopped
2 tsps fresh chives, finely chopped, plus more stalks for garnish
1 tsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsps freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 avocado, peeled and mashed
1/2 of long cucumber, sliced into twelve 1/4 inch thick round slices

Directions:
In a bowl, combine smoked salmon, soy sauce and lemon juice. Let stand for a minute, then mix in sesame oil and chives. Adjust ingredients to taste, as suitable for your own palate. To assemble, place cucumber slices on a serving platter and spread a small amount of the mashed avocado on each slice, enough to cover it. Carefully spoon the salmon tartare on top of each slice. Top with chive stalks for garnish. Serve or refrigerate up to one hour until serving.

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