Monday, May 28, 2012

Salmon Tartare with Enoki Mushrooms - Guest Blog

Today, I have invited another prominent food blogger, Terry Wong who runs The Food Canon, to do my very first guest blog on The Silver Chef.

And the reason I have asked Terry is that like myself, he is an avid food lover and is utterly passionate about cooking, and he has some fantastic recipes up on his own blog. I do encourage you to check out his food blog.

Recently, I had a chance to help him cook for a fund raising event and it was a wonderful experience working with him. Soon after, we talked of doing guest blogs for one another hence, he has come up with a terrific salmon tartare dish which is presented below.

I have also returned the favor by guest blogging on his blog with one of my recipes as well. Just head on over there after you have finished here to read my first guest blog on another site too! Here it is, Terry's excellent salmon tartare dish.

Guest Blogger The Food Canon:

I had to plan a meal for 60 at a recent Alpha Course Intro Dinner at my church. It was a sit-down dinner and guests were to be served at the table.

I have never done a dinner at this scale and of this nature. Some planning was needed with my food team and we finally settled on a 2-course appetiser-main meal, with the desserts served as a buffet spread. For plated meals, I thought that a "Western" approach works better, perhaps with some local twist. Being a two-course meal, the appetizer had to be fairly substantial.

So, how can we serve 60 plated diners efficiently? What appetiser should we make?
I asked a professional chef friend for advice on a easy-to-do appetizer. He advised on Tuna Tartare as that which can be prepared beforehand and plated just before serving. But he thought serving 60 diners plated will be difficult.

Tartare? I can recall eating it many times before but I have not made it myself. I checked up on some cookbooks, searched the net and consulted one of my home cook friends who runs a food blog (The Silver Chef) as he is more familiar with Western cuisine. It seemed doable as I considered all the steps needed from preparation to serving.

As Salmon is easily available here and fairly cheap, I went for it. I opted to buy from my usual fish stall at the wet market as it was fresh and good value. I bought a whole fish and had it filleted and deboned.

I planned to add diced tomato and onions. Cucumber was one option but had second thoughts as the texture is harder and too much of a contrast to Salmon. I experimented with adding chopped up kaffir lime leaves for the 'local twist' but did not like the taste. I saw packets of tiny Brown Enoki Mushrooms in NTUC. They were inexpensive at about $2 per lot. I thought they should taste great if sauced with soy sauce and that may be the local twist needed. And I added my favorite leaf - arugula or rockett leaves. I made it at home, and experimented with various plating arrangements using food shapes I bought from TOTT. I like what I ate and thought the soy sauced fresh enoki mushrooms added a interesting twist in terms of texture and flavour.

Brown Enoki Mushrooms

As costs was an issue, I added more veg to the tartare, reducing the amount of salmon needed. You can adjust the proportion as you so wish and according to the meal occasion.

Here are the steps to make this refreshing appetiser.

Preparing the Salmon Tartare
  1. Diced up the tomatoes and onions. 
  2. Diced up the boneless and skinless salmon meat. 
  3. These need to be in small pieces for a good tartare eating experience.
  4. Mix them together and add some squeezed lemon juice and salt. Adjust according to your taste. Thsi will effectively cooked the raw salmon and pickled the tomatoes and onions. Leave it in the fridge for an hour or so to chill.
Preparing the Brown Enoki mushrooms
  1. Cut the top of the mushrooms and discard the roots. Washing the mushroom will take away some of the flavours but as I am serving it fresh, I did not want to take risks. 
  2. After washing, add some good soy sauce (check out this post for some good options) and mix. Chill.
Plating with food shapes

  1. Using food shapes (as in pic), plate the salmon tartare. 
  2. Spoon the enoki mushrooms into the center.
  3. Add the arugula leaves around the tartare. Keep it dry to go with the wet Tartare.
Many of the guest gave feedback that they enjoyed the dish and I suppose Salmon Tartare is a usual crowd pleaser. The Brown Enoki Mushrooms made it a bit more special without increasing the costs significantly.

For the mains, we served oven-roasted Chicken Breast in Miso Butter Sauce with Asparagus, Sugar peas and butter rice. The Sous Vide method of cooking came in handy. I may blog that recipe on another occasion though I have blogged a slightly different version here.

There you go, my first guest blog post. Thanks Ian and your readers for this opportunity.

Sprinkle some black pepper and it is good to go

Thanks, Terry for this great post! Looking forward to exchanging more guest posts with The Food Canon in the near future.