14 May Fish Tartare with Pink Peppercorns
Fish Tartare with Pink Peppercorns and Crostini
14 May 2020
PREP. TIME: 20 MIN - CHILL TIME: 20 MIN - SERVES: 4
Fish Tartare is less of a thing than the classic Beef Tartare. I prefer the delicate and less oily properties of Ocean Trout over the commonly defaulted to salmon.
The recipe is simple. Start with raw, sashimi grade fish that is skinned and pin boned. Your fish monger may do this for you if you ask nicely. Be sure to chill the fish in the freezer until it is firm before you attempt to cut it. Use a sharp knife to cut the fish into tiny dice, toss it with flavourings, chill it and serve with freshly made Melba Toast or Crostini.
Be aware that pink peppercorns have been associated with the cashew nut family and may not be suitable for people with a nut allergy. There is also question about their general suitability for human consumption (The Oxford Companion To Food, Alan Davidson). Me? I cannot resist them. Their decorative nature and pungent, fresh, peppery spiciness is sublime and the perfect foil to the richness of the fish.
Serve as a Canape or a first course.
500 g Fresh, sashimi grade fillet of Ocean Trout or Salmon
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil - or more to taste
2 tablespoons diced shallots
1 teaspoon diced red chilli
2 tablespoons chopped Chives or Chervil
Coriander or parsley leaves to garnish optional
2 dessert spoons Salt Flakes - such as Maldon Sea Salt or Murray River Salt flakes, to taste
4 sprigs Pink peppercorns
4 fresh limes or lemons
Edible flowers - optional
10 slices of dense white sourdough bread or brioche
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Very sharp cook's knife
Wire cake rack
Kitchen paper towel
When you first get the fish home from the fish monger, remove the plastic wrappings, wrap the fish in baking paper and freeze until firm. Allow about 20 minutes.
Prepare the ingredients:
Finely dice the shallots
Rinse and dry the chives or chervil and chop finely
Rinse and dry the parsley or coriander if using and remove some small tender sprigs for garnish
Rinse, dry and deseed the chilli and chop finely
Place the fish on a clean surface and cut it into strips. Cut the strips into narrower strips and then cut cross wise to create tiny dice.
Place the fish, the chives, the shallot, and chilli in a mixing bowl. Add a liberal amount of freshly ground black pepper and toss well to combine.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Just before serving - make the crostini
Press a glass or pastry cutter into each slice of bread to cut into one or two portions.
Pour the olive oil into the small fry pan - about 1 cm deep and heat over moderate to high heat.
Place the kitchen towel on the wire cake rack alongside the stove.
After a minute or so - check the oil is hot enough by gently lowering a corner of one slice of bread into the oil - when it sizzles - it is hot enough to fry the bread.
Gently place slices of bread into the oil without overcrowding the pan.
After 30 seconds or so, lift a corner of one slice - if it is golden turn gently and cook the other side. Be careful to not overcook the bread because it continues to cook a little, even when removed from the pan.
Place the cooked shapes of bread on the kitchen towel to cool.
When you are ready to serve the fish add the olive oil to the mixture.
Season well with salt and more pepper if necessary. Stir well to combine.
Double check the seasoning before plating - it needs to be well seasoned.
Pile the crostini with the tartare mixture
Garnish with sprigs of fresh parsley or coriander, edible flowers and pink peppercorns.
Serve with cheeks of freshly sliced lime or lemon for people to dress their own serves.
NOTES on preparation in advance and transporting
You can complete up to Step 3 some hours in advance.
Pack the chilled mixture into a glass container to transport.
Go to Step 5 only when you are ready to serve.
The lemon or lime juice will discolour the fish as soon as it comes into contact.
The crostini can be prepared in advance but must be completely cool before covering to transport.
For a gluten free option - cut cucumber into thick slices, drain on kitchen towel for 20 minutes or so before using.
Top the cucumber slices instead of crostini
If serving this as a first course at the table you can create timbales of tartare by chilling the mixture in individual, oiled dariole moulds.
Unmould the tartare and place on to chilled plates, garnish with peppercorns and edible flowers and serve with a lime or lemon cheek and 2 crostini per person.
Place extra crostini and a dish of salt flakes in the centre of the table.
Recipe by Elizabeth Peddey
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