Salmon Tartare (Dad’s Recipe)

Contains:  Seafood, nightshades.  Is: Paleo, Whole30, gluten-free, if you leave out or modify any crackers, of which I certainly never minded doing.  Is:  An appetizer.

salmon tartare, raw salmon, cheviche, recipe, salad, appetizer, paleo, whole30

This dish as an appetizer.

This is perfect for an item in your Feast of the Seven Fishes, an Italian Christmas Eve thing, even if this recipe owes more to Japan or Peru than to Italy.

I’d been bemoaning not finding a bunch of my parents’ recipes (both Mom and Dad LOVED to cook), but while packing up stuff to move, in an old corner of one bedroom, I found a box of recipes.  This is seriously why you don’t just let people come in and toss your “hoard”, unless, of course – you are truly a hoarder.  I was just disorganized with early-onset hoarding tendencies.  Moving out, I had no problems ditching so many things – even if I had to go through nearly everything on the way.  Simply don’t wait until the Last Minute to go through those everythings!

Okay.  Let’s get ready!

salmon tartare, raw salmon, cheviche, recipe, salad, appetizer

Sliced salmon. You can indeed chop this to more of 1/3 an inch length if desired. I admit I don’t prefer the texture of salmon ground down into a paste. (Which often happens for “spicy salmon rolls”).

Dad didn’t write down a lot of his recipes, because he liked to jazz-riff on things the next time he made something.  (He really didn’t care for jazz as a musical format, but he understood it for food – musically, his thing was Wagner operas…  Despite this, neither Mom (who liked Scott Joplin and classical pianists) and Dad (with the Germanic opera thing) never ever owned a stereo, or hardly ever listened to music on the radio they’d bought simply just to catch the news…)  But Dad DID write a few recipes down.  This is one of them.  I’m sitting here trying to transcribe his largely-illegible handwriting (handwrithing? – a typo I didn’t mean to make, but hey, let it go into the books!) so this recipe can go into posterity.

salmon tartare, raw salmon, cheviche, recipe, salad, appetizer

Asking for a hen. Do chickens receiving leftover bits of sub-attractive cilantro taste this stuff as soap???

I have done some minor re-writing of the recipe here for clarity.  But this is definitely Dad.  I’m posting this for just before Christmas, because this is a great party appetizer, and Dad pretty much always made something like this every year that we entertained at home for this holiday (once he discovered that raw fish is mighty good)!   He didn’t always follow this recipe (he wrote this up specifically because I hounded him over it).

salmon tartare, raw salmon, cheviche, recipe, salad, appetizer

Seasonal colors! The dish just prior being set into the fridge to marinate 2-3 hours.

Prep Time: 15 minutes. 
Cook Time:  Zilch.
Rest Time: An hour or two. 
Serves: Probably about 8 as a starter, more as an appetizer combined with more appetizers.
Cuisine:  Japanese-Influenced; Peruvian ceviche-influenced.

Leftovers?:  24 hours max, otherwise cook it.  And not recommended to put room temp leftovers from a party away.  (Not that we ever had any!)

Salmon Tartare

  • 1 – 1.25 pounds of fresh or thawed* salmon fillet, skin removed, all bones removed (look for those pin bones), cut into pieces about one inch by 1/4 inch, or smaller.  
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons canned roasted red peppers cut into about 1 inch square. (He actually cut them smaller, about 1/4 – 1/2 inch or so).  
  • 2 tablespoons jalapeño peppers, no seeds or ribs, cut into small pieces (adjust amount to your taste).  Personally, taste your specific jalapeño, some are mild, some are SPICY.  Then start with a half-tablespoon and work up.
  • 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice.
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (preference for sherry wine vinegar).  Supermarket didn’t have, so I used rice vinegar.
  • 1/3 cup scallions/green onions, diced.  
  • 1/3 cup capers (rinse them).
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped.  
  • optional:  crackers with a mild flavor.  You could use gluten-free rice crackers, and I’m certain there are “Paleo” crackers around somewhere, if you desire.   Or just sneak a few spoonfuls, unadulterated with a cracker base…

* It is recommended you freeze your salmon for at least 4 days prior to use.  The reason is to kill off any parasites.  If you can find flash-frozen, that should be the best, but I’ve not seen that, myself.  Frozen and then thawed salmon to me tastes pretty much the same, and quite good.  Freezer burn is right out, and I’d definitely thaw the salmon for this purpose within a month after freezing.  You would have more leeway if you do have flash-frozen and/or vacuum sealed.

Remove the skin from the salmon fillet.  (Dad did this by allowing the fish to thaw about halfway, then slicing it off with a sharp boning knife. I find that this wastes too much fish, and I peel it off prior to freezing – by working a knife between the skin and the flesh, then peeling with my fingers.)

Combine all ingredients and mix well, store in fridge for flavors to meld, an hour or two is best.  (Dad didn’t exactly specify marinating time, but I’m trying to extrapolate from what I remember.  It was definitely same day, and not early in the day for a dinner party.)

Remove to room temperature about 20 minutes prior to serving.    (By all means, serve the same day!)

At a small dinner party, serve as a starter in martini glasses.  (That’s Dad, channeling his inner Martha Stewart…. for larger groups, find an attractive bowl you can set on a larger dish.  The smaller bowl could have the salmon tartare, the dish could have any crackers desired.  Or slices of quality sourdough bread.  Or, check out your imagination…) 

PS:  I just checked.  I only own ONE martini glass!

I ate this as a salad, without crackers.  Over a few meals.

salmon tartare, raw salmon, cheviche, recipe, salad, appetizer, Paleo, Whole30

NOTE:  Dad’s handwriting was bad, but as a kid he was forced to write with his right hand despite being a left-hander.  The Catholic nuns at his grade school tied his left hand down to the chair to force him to write with his right.  Ya know, the left hand is Evil or some such.  That part worked – he never wrote again with his left any time I observed.  The part that didn’t work was that even the block printing he did with his right through the rest of his life has nearly always required squinting to decipher.  Sometimes, that’s failed.  This particular recipe is amazingly more readable than a lot of other writings I’ve acquired from Dad.

salmon tartare, raw salmon, cheviche, recipe, salad, appetizer, Paleo, Whole30

If I’d change anything, perhaps half the amount of mustard – but that being said, I do appreciate mustard in this dish.

SHARED WITH:  Fiesta Friday (co-host Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau).

About goatsandgreens

The foodie me: Low/no gluten, low sugars, lots of ethnic variety of foods. Seafood, offal, veggies. Farmers' markets. Cooking from scratch, and largely local. The "future" me: I've now moved to my new home in rural western Massachusetts. I am raising chickens (for meat and for eggs) and planning for guinea fowl, Shetland sheep, and probably goats and/or alpaca. Possibly feeder pigs. Raising veggies and going solar.
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4 Responses to Salmon Tartare (Dad’s Recipe)

  1. Oh gosh, what a great post and lovely recipe. I’ve tried to explain to someone how food was like music but I’m not sure if they got it! I haven’t been by for a while, so you’re moving, it’s going to be a whole new New Year for you!

    Thanks for posting at Fiesta Friday and Happy New Years!


    • Thank you very much! Yes, food (cooking) is so much like music…. and may even be true for the enjoyment of it, as well. (I have moved, the final stages completed last summer – although let’s not talk about unpacking it all!!!)

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