Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Salmon Tartar

Last week, I went to lunch with a friend to a frenetic lunch-counter type restautant / fish monger called Da Claudio Pescheria in downtown Milan. They specialize in raw fish assortments. You don't choose your fish, you simply choose the size of your order and you get the freshest recently sliced and/or chopped seafood on a bed of slivered lettuce and radicchio, dressed with salt, pepper and olive oil. Elbow up to the bar (standing room only here, no chairs at all, just cocktail-bar style high tables) and do what you can to get the carpaccio barista to notice you among the hoards of downtown office lunchers. Then head to a table set up with bread rolls, grissini, lemon slices, soy sauce, and Tabasco. Dress your carpaccio/tartar plate as you like and dig in. When we went, one of the roving bread replenishers handed us a small dish of raw shrimp marinated in an orange juice vinaigrette on the house. All in all it was a delicious lunch great if you're short on time and money. You're easily in and out in 30 minutes and a small order (plenty for me) sets you back only 7 euros. After one Da Claudio experience I can now unequivocally confirm that men's blue, pinstriped suits are in inner than in (or required uniformwear, couldn't be sure, really) for the office crowd.

So I've been thinking about this for the past few days and I just had to make something similar tonight. Here's what I made as a generous appetizer for 2:

1 small-medium salmon steak (My raw salmon is, of course, Moonie-free! Nya-nya to all of you living Stateside!)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tsp grated ginger
3 tsps minced chives
1/2 c finely minced cucumber
salt and pepper to taste
lemon wedges to squeeze

Start by skinning, de-boning and finely dicing the salmon. **If you're smarter than I am, you'll get a salmon fillet. The bones are easier to get out the way. Music to bone salmon by: Post-Punk GODS, The Pixies' "Palace of the Brine" (album: Trompe le Monde", an undeservedly maligned effort.) Place in a bowl with all the other ingredients except salt and lemon. If left for half an hour, the salt would draw out the liquid from the cucumber and give you a soggy consistency and the lemon would "cook" the salmon. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Salt just before serving with a lemon wedge on the side.

This dish really lends itself to interpretation. Add any fresh green herb you think would go well, slivered chilis, soy sauce, wasabe and pickled ginger, finely minced lemongrass and keffir lime leaves, you name it.


Blogger Lotus Reads said...

Mmmmmm, we all love salmon at my house so this recipe would go down really well. At the moment, my kids seem to love grilled salmon marinated with a Sesame Ginger with Mandarin Orange Juice (bottled marinade), but your recipe, Susan, will make a nice change!

Wish I had known about "Da Claudio Pescheria" when I was passing through Milan - maybe next time! :)

2:47 AM  
Blogger Haalo said...

One of the best ways to have salmon - such lovely clean flavours that compliment the fish.

3:18 AM  
Blogger Tracie B. said...

that sounds like my kinda place--thanks for sharing.

gotta go book a ticket ;)

12:41 PM  
Blogger hellomelissa said...

that looks so good i want to fly to italy right now and eat it. those who know me know i have a painful addiction to raw fish.

on another note, thank you for adding me to your links! i'm a little slow and only just noticed it. i am a terrible html-er but will attempt to return the favor!

3:01 PM  
Blogger Expat Traveler said...

Yum! I'm sure I can draw up something like that here in Vancouver with Salmon being so popular... But I'm not so sure it will look that good. ;-)

4:55 PM  
Blogger Angela in Europe said...

I wish I could cook in France! I just have two hot plates. Ah, the joys of living abroad.

By the way, I loved parts of Italy and hated others. Naples was one of my least favorite places, but one of the best for food. Go figure!

7:25 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Lotus, Oh but I miss grilled salmon. We used to grill salmon on one side only (grill covered, to cook the top) with a bunch of fresh, sturdy herbs (rosemary, mainly) under the fish to keep it from sticking to the grill. The herbs would burn and make a nice smoky taste.
Hello Melissa, I'll be glad to be on your page!
Expat, Your's will probably be better with North Pacific salmon. Is the wild, caught type (not farmed) common there?
Angela, Hi! Thanks for stopping by. Just out of curiosity, what didn't you like about Naples? I was only there for 2 days once.

11:47 PM  
Blogger ComidaDeMama said...

keffir lime leaves, mmmm what an amazing taste, I discovered of course when I was studying Thai cooking and the smell reminds me the time spent with my friends soon before we left Amsterdam.

12:18 AM  
Anonymous rowena said...

I you carefully worded the phrase "music to bone salmon by". One less word and that might've raised a few eyebrows. ;-)

Needless to say, I agree with you on Da Claudios's. Good, fast, and affordable!

10:22 PM  
Anonymous NiHao said...

That looks amazing. My tummy is rumbling already. I never thought of adding wasabe, soy sauce or pickled ginger, but what a great idea. An easy way to add Asian flare!

9:41 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Comidademama, I love that you studied Thai cooking in Amsterdam!

Rowena, You mentioned Da Claudio's once in a comment and then a friend of mine told me about it. It's a lot of fun.

Nihao, Hi, Thanks for stopping by!

9:43 AM  

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