Thursday, May 14, 2009

Trout tartare

Serves 4

This makes a stunning starter or light summer lunch, it has everything that says sunshine about it; however, it is imperative that you use super fresh fish. Do not be tempted to substitute any poor relation. If you can push the boat out, topped off with a generous spoonful of caviar makes the world of difference.

450g skinless fillets of fresh salmon trout
About 115 g sea salt
8 asparagus spears, trimmed
½ good deep green cucumber, halved lengthwise and deseeded
Freshly ground black pepper

For the marinade
500ml olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
Good handful of chopped mixed herbs, such as basil, tarragon, lemon balm
1 head of garlic, halved

For the anchovy mayonnaise
2 egg yolks
1 tblsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp grainy mustard
5 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and coarsely chopped
5 basil leaves, chopped
200 ml olive oil
1 tblsp hot water

To serve
4 large sprigs of chervil
Some good bread

The day before put the trout to marinate. Cover the trout completely on both sides with the sea salt. Chill for 1 1/2 hours. Rinse the salt from the trout, drain well, pat dry and place in a bowl. Mix together all the marinade ingredients in a separate jug or bowl and pour over the trout, leave in the fridge overnight.

Cook the asparagus in boiling salted water until just tender, refesh in cold water and drain. Then cut it into pieces the same size as the asparagus. Chop the cucumber into pieces the same size as the asparagus.

Put all the ingredients for the anchovy mayonnaise except the olive oil and hot water in a blender or food processor and whiz together. Add the olive oil, drop by drop, continuing to blend and gradually increasing the addition of the oil to a trickle, then add the hot water until you have a thick, smooth mayonnaise. Season with pepper to taste and reserve.

Just before serving assemble the tartare, remove the trout from the marinade, cut it into cubes of a similar size to the asparagus and cucumber, and combine all three together in a bowl. Add the anchovy mayonnaise and season with pepper, mix thoroughly.

To serve either pile the mixture into shallow bowls or plates or, for a neater presentation, place a medium sized pastry cutter in the centre of each bowl or plate. Pack each ring with the trout and asparagus mixture, pressing down as you do so. Neaten off the top, and then carefully slide off the pastry rings. Garnish each serving of tartare with a good sprig of chervil and serve with the bread.

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