Tapas dishes can be simple yet delicious. Or they can be a bit complex and totally delicious. This is the latter. It’s a fabulous dish that will awe anyone who eats it. The prep time here includes peeling tomatoes, a necessary step to make sure that the texture of all the components is delightfully consistent.
This is an example of a dish that in France would be called a verrine: a “vertical” terrine. It’s layered with each layer independently contributing visually as well as to the palette.
I was very proud of this dish, just to look at it. Taste wise? It’s wonderful. On my personal scale of 1 to 10, this rates an 8 or 9. How to get to a 10? I think you can add flavor here. Some smoked peppers with the tomatoes or as a separate layer. Perhaps some onion. This dish, wonderful by itself, simply begs for you to tinker and enjoy.
The dill sauce here is almost a mayonnaise. It just lacks lemon juice or vinegar. If you prefer, a splash of sherry vinegar at the end makes it brighter and, I think, a better match for the smoked salmon. As for that salmon, I posted a few days ago the idea of smoking your own at home using a Cameron stovetop smoker. This recipe is the perfect example of how that handy device can make your home cooking 3 star class.
To accompany this, Brian and I had some sparkling Cava with a splash of pomegranate liquor. Elegantly sophisticated and very gratifying. If you make this dish, you’re going to want something to wash down your pride.
This recipe comes from The Book of Tapas by Simone and Ines Ortega. Published last year, Book of Tapas is a treasure trove of delights like this one. You’ve had salmon with dill before, but never quite like this. I heartily recommend the book as source to inspire and please you.
Little Glasses of Salmon with Dill Sauce
Yield: Serves 6-8
Ingredients for the Dill Sauce:
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon sweet mustard
- ¾ cup olive oil
Ingredients for the Tomato and Salmon Layers:
- 1 tablespoon walnut oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 3 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
- 1 pound smoked salmon in one piece
- Freshly ground pink pepper
- 2 ounces salmon roe, drained
- 1 sprig dill for garnish
Preparation of the Dill Sauce:
Whisk the egg yolk in a bowl. Add the sugar, dill and mustard and continue whisking. Gradually whisk in the oil, little by little. Season to taste with salt and place in the refrigerator.
Preparation of the Layers and Construction:
Whisk the walnut oil and balsamic vinegar together in another bowl. Add the pink pepper and salt to taste and continue whisking until all the ingredients are amalgamated. Add the tomatoes and gently toss until they are well coated with the dressing. Divide the tomatoes between 6-8 glasses.
Cut the salmon into small cubes. Add a layer of salmon cubes to each glass and spoon the sauce over each glass. Top with a little salmon roes. Chill until required, then garnish with dill and serve.
As a variation, puree the salmon in a blender. Mix it with a little light cream, then make the salmon layer with this puree.
Source: Adapted from The Book of Tapas by Simone and Ines Ortega
There are things in life you can undo and things you cannot undo. What you can and what you can’t undo does not always make sense proportionately.
For example, you can undo a marriage. It’s called divorce and some of you may have experienced that process. I have. Brian has. Neither of us will again as long as he obeys the rules.
But you cannot undo a marinade. Nope, once that protein has sat in something for enough time, the flavors are in the meat and they are not coming out. It makes you a bit cautious. More cautious than marriage maybe.
We had defrosted salmon and Brian wanted something “different.”
“You aren’t the only one who cooks here,” I said. I was tired. It had been a long day.
Off he went, obeying the rules, and he found two recipes for balsamic vinegar with salmon. In one case you marinate the salmon in vinegar for half an hour, and in the other case you cook the salmon then make a balsamic glaze and pour the glaze over the salmon. We both agreed that the glaze route was the safer one, the way offering better control of the final flavor.
The picture above shows a sparkling salmon. The glaze was perfect with its mix of sweet and sour.
I was happy. Brian was happy. Nothing to undo.
Salmon with Balsamic Glaze
Yield: 4 servings
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- • ¼ cup water
- • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- • 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
- • 4 6-ounce salmon fillets, with skin
- • Salt and freshly ground pepper
- • 2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
Stir together the vinegar, water, lemon juice and brown sugar in a small bowl.
Pat the salmon dry and season with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a 12” nonstick skillet over moderately high heat but not smoking.
Increase the heat to high, add the salmon skin side up, an sear until well browned (about 4 minutes).
Turn the fish over and sear until just cooked through (3 to 4 minutes more). Transfer the salmon to plates,
Carefully add the vinegar mixture to the skillet (liquid will bubble vigorously and steam). Simmer, stirring until thickened and reduce to about 1/3 cup (about 2 minutes).
Spoon glaze over the salmon and serve.