Salmon tartare with leek vol-au-vent September 8, 2010Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Fish.
Tags: Dinner, Lunch
Here in Melbourne, we’ve had week after week of grey, rainy weather. And even though spring has officially started, you would not have known it this past weekend. In honour of the arrival of spring – and perhaps to encourage the weather to match my cooking – I made a dish of salmon tartare with leek vol-au-vents.
Having never made puff pastry before, I decided to give it a go. I followed this recipe and began by making up a simple dough. While it was chilling, I used a rolling pin to soften and beat out some butter. I rolled out the dough and place the butter on top.
Then it was just a matter of folding the dough over the butter and rolling and turning and folding and rolling…then chilling it for a while then repeating the folding and turning and rolling. I admit I did not keep as good a count of my turnings and rollings as I should have – although I knew I had rolled it out quite a few times by the time I declared it done.
I rolled the dough out for the last time and used a mug to cut out circles of dough, and a glass to indent the inside of the circle (I didn’t have cookie cutters large enough).
I baked these for about 20 minutes and the end results were … OK but not great. I think my somewhat careless attitude towards the preparation of the dough may have meant it did not ‘puff’ as much as it should have.
It was now a matter of preparing the salmon and the leek filling for the vol-au-vent. I had bought a boneless and skinless piece of salmon from the fishmonger, and now minced it finely. I added salt and pepper, and some finely chopped capers. I then put that in the fridge while I went to work on the leeks.
We had picked up some great leeks from the Farmer’s Market we’d gone to on the weekend and they were so large and fat I ended up only using one for this dish. The only disadvantage is that they came with their own snails too! I rinsed the leeks and chopped them fairly finely. I cooked them in a bit of butter and after they’d wilted a bit I added some of the fabulous goat’s cheese we’d also got at the Farmer’s Market. This is their Black Silk cheese which has been covered in ash – hence the black colour on the outside.
I stirred the cheese through until it had all melted in – I took it off the heat and continued to fold it in. Then it was just a matter of assembling everything.
I took the salmon out of the fridge and squeezed some lemon juice over it. I spooned some of the salmon onto the plate (one day I’ll get sick of circle moulds…) and put some caviar on top. Then I added the leek mixture to the vol-au-vent casings and put their ‘lids’ on.
As you can see, my vol-au-vent didn’t rise much – they were quite flaky when we bit into them, but did not rise as much as I was hoping. However this did not affect the overall flavour of the dish. The leeks were buttery and fresh, with the goats cheese adding some tang without being overpowering. I must admit being biased about the salmon as I love raw salmon (or salmon in any form, really) and I thought it was delicious, with a touch of lemon and the capers coming through without overpowering the salmon.
As you can see the sun came out a little bit when I was taking the photos although it didn’t last – but it gave me a bit of hope that spring is on its way. Perhaps if I eat more salmon prepared in this manner, spring will come faster? This sounds like an experiment worth pursuing!