While living abroad in Paris, I became head-over-heels obsessed with two things. Two very simple things: salmon tartar and warm goat cheese salads. And while the latter is found all over this city in many variations, salmon tartar (and really good salmon tartar) seems to be all too difficult to find. The thing is, the dish could not be simpler. Which is why its absence from menus is mind boggling to me. The freshest of fresh salmon, cut into tiny cubes, with some chives, a squeeze of lemon juice and a tiny drizzle of olive oil. Capers and red onion can come and go but it's always served with a small salad of baby greens just barely dressed. With some torn baguette to enjoy it with and an obligatory Kir cocktail with a lemon twist, my eyes are rolling in the back of my head with delight.
So what to do when I get a sudden craving for this dish but can't get my hands on sushi grade salmon? Smoked salmon tartar. Simply take a few slices of deliciously silky smoked salmon and chop it up. Add in some finely diced red onion (or finely diced chives), some chopped capers, a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil and gently toss. Dress some baby greens with a little lemon and olive oil as well. Arrange the smoked salmon tartar on a plate with some of the greens on the side. Tear off a piece of baguette, spoon a little bit of the tartar on top and enjoy.
And for that Kir? Pour a glass of chilled white wine into a glass and add a drizzle of crème de cassis (black current liquor). Take a piece of lemon peel, twist it to release the essential oils and drop it into the glass. Sip. Smile. Spectacular cocktail.