What is Tartare?
Tartare is raw meat or fish that is minced, ground, chopped, or even pureed, formed in the shape of a cake, and served uncooked. The traditional French versions employ beef, horse, or salmon combined with Dijon mustard, egg yolk, chopped shallots, parsley, salt, and pepper.
What are the Origins of Tartare?
There is a misconception that tartare originates from horsemeat-eating Moguls from Central Asia who migrated their traditions into Europe in the 800s. Allegedly, the Moguls would place a piece of horsemeat between themselves and their saddle to tenderize it before eating it at the end of the day. In reality, this technique was more likely used to heal open sores and wounds spread across a horse’s lumbar area.
The real story is that horse meat was employed in lieu of beef due to mass shortages on beef production and sale in the 1870s during the Franco-Prussian war. At the turn of the 20th century, beef again became the prevalent meat of choice for tartare preparation, and in the 21st century, newer adaptations manifested! Chefs began chopping up varieties of fish or vegetables and mixing them with similar flavors used in the heartier beef alternatives, and so modern-day tartare was born! Click here for an interesting read on the truth behind the origins of tartare.
The tartare we have come to love contains a creamy consistency with a zip of acidity from squeezed lemon or a splash of vinegar, or caper juice. Tartare can be eaten as an appetizer when served with baguette or a main course when served with fries or roasted potatoes.
Common Types of Tartare
The following are typical meats and fish that are served as a tartare:
Raw Salmon that is Safe to Eat
Salmon sashimi or salmon that may be consumed raw is usually flash or blast frozen briefly to kill the parasites to prevent the growth of pathogens. Fresh salmon should smell mildly fishy but never like ammonia or overly fishy. Ask your fishmonger for salmon sashimi or salmon that was previously frozen to kill all parasites and inform them that you plan to consume it raw. They will provide you with the appropriate salmon that is safe to consume raw.
Cut the Fish into Small Cubes
Cut the salmon fillet into small edible cubes that are not too large to create a displeasing mouthful of salmon. I would recommend 1/8 or 1/4 inch cubes (3.16mm or 6.35mm).
Tartare can be refrigerated and consumed for up to 24 hours after storage. Accordingly, it is best to eat this dish fresh. Beware, the texture may change in the fridge, but it is not unsafe to eat. However, I recommend preparing the amount you and your guests will feast on that day.
Visit your local liquor store and request a bottle featuring these characteristics to find the perfect pair.
- Color: sparkling white
- Notes: honeysuckle, peach, baked apples, brioche, walnuts
- Geography: new world
- Structure: medium body, tiny bubbles, finesse
Purge Your Fridge
You just finished gobbling up our salmon tartare, and you are left with some shallots, dill, and chives. Top your salads for the week with all these wonderful fresh herbs. You can also employ all these lovely flavors in searing a fillet of white fish or fresh salmon. Get creative; these ingredients can be used in almost any dish! Here are some tasty and creative options:
- 8 oz salmon sashimi diced
- 1/2 shallot diced
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 splash Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp capers stored in vinegar
- 1 tbsp fresh dill finely chopped
- 1 tbsp chives finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp salt for shallots and additional salt to taste
- ground pepper to taste
1. Cut the Vegetables and Salmon
- Dice salmon sashimi into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
- Dice shallots in a food processor or manually. Finely chop dill and chives. Set aside.
2. Sauté the Shallots
- Place a sauté pan on the stovetop at medium heat. Add olive oil and allow it to heat.
- Add shallots and sauté for 5 minutes until translucent or soft.
- Lightly season the shallots with salt and pepper.
- Remove the pan from the heat source and pour them into a mixing bowl. Allow the shallots to cool. Set aside.
3. Make the Creamy Sauce and Toss the Salmon
- In another mixing bowl, combine Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Whisk until smooth.
- Add salmon sashimi and cooled cooked shallots to the mixing bowl and toss.
- Add capers, dill, and chives. Toss all ingredients together.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Let's Plate
- Spoon tartare into a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh dill.
- Slice baguette and serve with slices of baguette or potato chips.
- Serve and enjoy.