Salmon Tartare – As Fresh As It Gets and Another Reason to Pop Open Some Chilled Bubbly July 17, 2011

Salmon Tartare – As Fresh As It Gets and Another Reason to Pop Open Some Chilled Bubbly

I can’t remember my first encounter with tartare—finely chopped raw beef served with onion, capers, chopped parsley on the side, and a raw egg yolk resting in a slight indentation in the beef. Even though I don’t remember the time or place, I’m sure I embarked on the experience slowly, with apprehension.

Today I can look back on many pleasurable servings of raw beef, elk, tuna and salmon. And when talking of raw foods, we must include sushi/sashimi, which is practically a food religion. Perhaps the most interesting serving of raw beef I have been served was a carpaccio at Lidia Bastianich’s Becco in New York City’s theater district.  This platter arrived with ultra-thin rounds (pounded, I’m sure) of beautifully marbled beef which had been anointed with hot olive oil. Simple, classy and tasty.

Unless you’re able to create new recipes like Mozart wrote his music, you will search about for similar creations to compare with your ideas or to give you inspiration. Put me there!

While I was assembling my list of supporting ingredients, I had a liberating epiphany. Kick your fear in its hiney and then, while staring at your beautiful raw salmon, see what flavors you imagine mingling with your chopped fish. Something Asian – wasabi and toasted sesame oil. Something with a kick – finely minced jalapeños. Something fresh – scallions. Something familiar – olive oil. Something with a citrus bite – lime zest. Something unusual – alder wood-smoked salt. Voila! Salmon Tartare according to Charles.

Salmon Tartare-8914
Chinook Salmon Tartare


Salmon Tartare


  1. ½ pound (225 gr.) fresh, sushi-grade, line-caught salmon, skinned and any pin bones removed*
  2. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) toasted (Asian) sesame oil
  4. 3 tablespoons (45 ml.) finely chopped scallions, white and green parts
  5. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) finely minced jalapeño
  6. 2 teaspoons (10 ml.) Inglehoffer Wasabi**
  7. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) lime zest
  8. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) alder wood-smoked salt (grind if in large chunks)***
  9. Scant ¼ teaspoon (<1.25 ml.) freshly ground white pepper

* Fresh is a must, and wild is better than farmed for this.

**Inglehoffer comes from Beaver Foods in Beaverton, Oregon. It should be distributed nationwide.

*** Use sea salt if you can’t find this.


  • Finely chop the salmon – I sliced, then julienned, then cut the julienne strips into small cubes.
  • Mix together with remaining ingredients, chill and serve with crackers and a well chilled sparkling wine.

Vic and I have become partial to Soter Vineyards Brut Rosé. If you find it and have a healthy pocketbook, buy it. This appetizer would be equally enjoyable with Prosecco, Cava or even Mateus from Portugal, which is shown in the photo. Pictured is our last bottle of Soter, which is destined for somebody’s birthday.

Bon appétit!

— Charles

Victor Panichkul is a journalist and writer by training; a cook, wine lover and photographer by passion; and a lover of the outdoors since moving to Oregon more than 10 years ago. He is a native of Bangkok, Thailand.

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