It’s National Dry Martini Day and the biggest question, right after how do you make the perfect dry martini, is what would be good to eat with a perfect dry martini? According to three food and beverage experts interviewed by Food Arts, the most popular dish is salmon and in particular, salmon tartare.
“Salmon is a fatty fish and brings a fatty texture and luxurious taste that is complimented by the smooth, herbal gin and touch of dry vermouth,” says Toni Nuemeister, VP of Crystal Cruises Food and Beverage Operations. Although Bart Buiring, VP of Food and Beverage for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, agrees with Nuemeister about pairing dry martinis with salmon tartare, he also says that Black Angus beef sliders pair well with dry martinis as long as the meat is kept on the rare side and not overcooked. And finally, Michael Kornick, the chef/owner of MK in Chicago, loves salmon tartare with the flavors of tarragon, capers, fennel, and shallots paired with the classic dry martini served with an olive.
Salmon Tartare may sound fancy and as though it would be a complicated dish to make but that is not the case. Because it is a tartare, there is no actual cooking to do and other than some chopping, there is not much more to making it. Along with an icy cold dry martini, this Salmon Tartare is a perfect way to enjoy a cocktail and light meal or appetizer on a warm day.
Note: it is important to have fresh, high-quality salmon for this Salmon Tartare recipe. Check out Race Street Fish Market for the freshest fish in town and buy sustainable salmon that is wild-caught in Alaska or farmed in the United States, avoiding salmon that is farmed outside of the United States.
Fresh Salmon Tartare
Salmon Tartare (6 appetizer servings)
1 & 1/2 pounds very fresh boneless, skinless sushi-grade salmon fillets
4 tablespoons shallots
3 tablespoons fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons fresh chives
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 small fennel bulb
6 slices seeded rye bread or pumpernickel bread
crème fraiche, optional
• Using a large sharp knife, dice the salmon into very small dice, no larger than 1/4-inch. Place in a non-metallic bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
• Peel the shallots and finely mince. Place in a mixing bowl.
• Remove and discard the stems of the tarragon and finely chop the leaves. Add to the minced shallots.
• Finely chop the chives and add to the bowl.
• Chop the capers and add to the bowl.
• Cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice from each half into the bowl with the shallots, tarragon, chives and capers.
• Add the salt and pepper and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
• When ready to serve, cut off and discard the bottom root end of the fennel bulb. Cut off the tops (green fronds) at the base. Reserve the fronds to use as garnish. Cut the fennel bulb in half lengthwise and then very thinly slice each half crosswise. Set aside.
• Cut off about 12 small green fennel fronds to use as garnish.
• Add the diced salmon to the shallot/lemon juice mixture and stir.
• Square off the bread slices and cut each in half diagonally to form 12 triangles. Toast the bread on each side.
• Spoon some of the salmon mixture onto each toasted bread triangle.
• Top each with a couple of thin slices of fennel and place a fennel frond on top. If desired, place a very small dollop of crème fraiche on top as well. Arrange on a serving platter and enjoy!
Click on the link above for the perfect dry martini. Cheers!
For more on pairing gin with salmon, see Vintage Cocktails Paired with Classic Foods: Gin and Salmon Are a Perfect Match.
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