Thursday, January 22, 2009

Salmon tartare croûtes with compound butter

Salmon tartare croûtes with compound butter on beFOODled's Flickr page.

On New Year's Day, S and I spent the day cooking with Mark, a friend of the family in Calgary. He has trained at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, a Vancouver-based cooking school that emphasizes presentation as much as taste. Mark had a whole menu planned straight from his imagination and inspired by a full French service. He drew us diagrams and explained all of the dishes we would make. We were to cook five courses for dinner later with his wife and S's parents. We started cooking at 11 a.m. and served and 5 p.m. and learned so much! Starting with this appetizer ... salmon tartare croûtes with compound butter.

Salmon tartare croûtes
a fillet of raw salmon, ideally wild Pacific and sushi grade
a garlic clove, minced
minced fresh parsley
minced capers
bit of cracked black pepper
bit of salt
lemon juice

Finely dice the raw salmon and gently mix in the minced garlic, parsley, capers and pepper. If you make it in advance, put this mixture in the fridge to sit for an hour or longer. Fold in a bit of salt and lemon juice just before serving.

Make quinelles, those three-sided football shapes that you make passing the mixture between two spoons with many flicks of the wrist. Serve on croûtes (toasted baguette slices) that have been spread with a compound butter.

Compound butter
In French, these are called les beurres composés (composed butters). You can make a compound butter out of any combination of your favourite flavours. We made ours with roasted garlic and parsley.

Cut the top off a head of garlic at the lowest clove. Add a bit of salt and olive oil and wrap in foil. Bake for 45 minutes in the oven at 375 degrees F.

Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skins and let cool. Mash them in a bowl with a stick of butter, minced parsley and salt. Roll up the butter in a cylindrical shape in parchment paper and put in the fridge to harden. Cut into thin pucks when ready to use.


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