Recipe: Marinated Three Salmon Tartare with Melba Toasts

Marinated Three Salmon Tartare with Melba Toasts

Marinated Three Salmon Tartare with Melba Toasts - Credit: Archant

Duncan McEwan, executive chef at Cafe Rouge in Highgate, offers a French twist on Japanese Sashimi.

Highgate’s Grade II listed Café Rouge in South Grove got a movie star’s facelift this autumn with vintage cinema seating, retro French film posters, camera floor lamps and an exterior overhaul that introduced Parisian pavement style dining.

An updated menu by executive Chef Duncan McEwan includes ragout d’escargots and truffled mushrooms on toast, washed down with French wines from Primrose Hill importer Bibendum.

McEwan may work for the Gallic restaurant chain but his favourite food is Japanese Sashimi. Here he offers a French version as a seasonal starter on Christmas day. Serve with a light white such as Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc or even Champagne.

Marinated Three Salmon Tartare with Melba Toasts

(serves 8)

2 x 150g fresh, skinned and pin boned salmon steaks

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150g x sliced smoked salmon

½ a cucumber, peeled and de-seeded

2 dessert spoons of quality French mayonnaise

2 salted anchovy fillets, very finely chopped

25g caster sugar

25g sea salt, plus a pinch or two for seasoning

1 dessert spoon extra virgin olive oil

25g fresh dill, washed, shaken dry and finely chopped, including the stalks, (plus 8 sprigs for garnishing).

Juice of ½ a lemon and the zest of half too, (plus lemon wedges for garnishing)

Freshly ground black pepper

6 slices of White or brown bread, whichever is your favourite

80g full fat crème fraiche

• Mix the salt and sugar together; add half the lemon zest and half the chopped dill.

• Tip ½ of this mixture into a small bowl and place 1 of the fresh salmon steaks on top. Cover the salmon with the remaining sugar mix and cover in the fridge to marinate for 3-4 hours.

• Take the second fresh salmon steak, and using a sharp knife slice into thin strips, then slice these strips into cubes about 2mm x 2mm.

• Repeat this with the smoked salmon and add the other diced fish.

• Chop the already de-seed and peeled cucumber into similar sized dice to the salmon, then add it to the diced fish.

• After 3-4 hours, remove the salmon from the sugar/salt marinade and rinse off remaining sugar. Pat the fish dry. (This will have firmed up and darkened in colour).

• dice the marinated fish into a similar size to the other salmons and add to the other fish.

• Add the mayonnaise, finely chopped anchovy, 10 twists of black pepper and the remaining chopped dill, lemon juice and remaining lemon zest. Mix well, but lightly.

• Place in the fridge to chill.

Melba Toasts

• Using a toaster on the lowest setting, toast a slice of bread until lightly golden but not dark. Before it has time to cool, using a serrated knife, slice in half to create 2 very thin slices one side toasted the other raw.

• Cut this ‘thin toast’ in half diagonally and place onto a suitable oven proof tray cut side uppermost.

• Repeat this with all the slices, lightly drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

• Place the tray into a medium oven to encourage the bread to crisp, curl up slightly and turn golden brown. This will take only a few minutes

• Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

To finish the dish…

• Divide the salmon mixture into 8. Using a 5cm metal ring mould, shape into eight rounded portions. Finish with a small spoon of crème fraiche on top, a lemon wedge and a sprig of dill. 3 pieces of Melba toast