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
Here’s a salad filled with favorite flavors, but I doubt you’ve ever seen them combined this way. From The Book of Tapas by Simone and Ines Ortega, I recently served this dish at a party. I put it down, turned around, and found that it almost instantly disappeared. There’s something here for everyone: watermelon, tomato, vinegar, pistachios, and goat cheese.
Your mouth is not overwhelmed with all the flavors, but it’s working the whole time you enjoy this Spanish treasure. It is a great party dish, one you can easily scale up for 10 or 20 or more people.
Fresh micro greens from a farmers’ market and truly good sherry vinegar will help to make this a treat.
Watermelon Salad with Tomato, Goat Cheese and Pistachio
Yield: serves 4-6
- ½ cup Pedro Ximenez sherry vinegar
- 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 quantity cherry dressing, recipe follows
- ½ small seedless watermelon, peeled and cut into four 2 x 4″ blocks, approximately 1 inch thick
- 4 teaspoons chopped the pistachios
- 6 ounces soft goat cheese
- 4 tablespoons micro greens
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons Spanish extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
Bring the Ximinez sherry vinegar to a boil in a small pan. Lower the heat and cook until it reduces by more than half and turns to a syrupy consistency. Remove from heat and let cool. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the diced tomatoes with the sherry dressing. Slice the watermelon blocks into ¼-inch slices and fan the slices on a serving plate. Spoon the tomato mixture over the top of the watermelon. Sprinkle with the pistachios. Crumble the goat cheese over the top. Garnish with the micro greens and fresh thyme. Sprinkle with sea salt. Spoon a streak of the Ximinez reduction down one side of the plate, and follow with olive oil. Repeat for the remaining servings and serve immediately.
- ½ tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt to taste
Whisk the vinegar, olive and oil and salt in a blow. Set aside.
Source: The Book of Tapas by Simone and Ines Ortega