October 2nd, 2010

Just because you’re a college student doesn’t mean you have to live off instant mac ‘n’ cheese for dinner every night. Why not treat yourself to a fancy dish after a long day of work? After all, you deserve it! When I come from a long day of classes, work, and clubs, this dish never fails to please me when I want something refreshing and flavorful. Best of all, it can be made in a matter of minutes with simple techniques like chopping, dicing, and slicing. Fancy dishes don’t always require hours of preparation or professional cooking skills, so don’t be afraid to try gourmet recipes like this one.

If you asked my family to name my signature dish, they would be quick to say, “Salmon tartare!” Even my youngest brother who can’t stand eating most kinds of fish loves eating this dish. So if you’re skeptical about making this recipe because you absolutely hate fish, I highly suggest you try smoked salmon for its unique, silky texture and smoky, salty flavor.

Salmon is most beneficial for preventing heart disease and dealing with weight loss as it is rich in proteins and low in carbohydrates. Don’t be alarmed when you find out that smoked salmon has a high fat content. It’s packed with omega-3 fatty acids, the body’s essential fat for lowering blood pressure and triglycerides (fat compounds in the blood). Studies have also shown links between omega-3 fatty acids and reducing depression.

While cutting onions may make you cry in the kitchen (which is something I always experience around onions), they are great for maintaining a healthy body. Red onions are full of flavonoids, which are antioxidants that help prevent cancer. Cilantro also contains antioxidants, which aid in removing toxic agents from the body as well as preventing the stomach from absorbing saturated fats (the fats that contribute to belly fat). Cilantro is actually a natural source of limonene, a hormone that is beneficial in weight loss.

The jalapeño pepper used to add an extra kick in this recipe is also very nutritious. That extra kick, also known as capsaicin, is what makes jalapeños so healthy. The capsaicin in jalapeños is commonly found as a main ingredient in weight loss pills.

The cucumber slices in this recipe add a crunchy texture that combines nicely with the soft salmon texture. Originally, this recipe calls for toasted baguette slices instead of cucumbers, but cucumbers have an equally crunchy texture and provide far more nutritional benefits. TIP: Don’t remove the skin from the cucumber! It’s packed with vitamin C to help you maintain healthy, smooth skin.

Fish lover or not, give this recipe a try!

Smoked Salmon Tartare
Makes about 16 pieces

6 oz. smoked salmon, chopped
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 of a jalapeño pepper, seeds removed*, diced
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 English cucumber, sliced into 1/8 inch rounds

NOTE: While this recipe is usually eaten as an appetizer or passed as an hors d’oeuvre, I find it makes a great meal all by itself. Since it makes about 16 pieces, that would be enough appetizers to satisfy four or five people (or make a nice meal for one hungry college student like me!).

Combine the prepared smoked salmon, red onion, cilantro leaves, and jalapeño in a medium bowl. Stir in the lemon juice, salt, and pepper and mix thoroughly. Using a spoon,  shape the salmon mixture into balls (about 2 tablespoons worth) and press down onto the cucumber rounds. Enjoy!

*Be careful to wash your hands very thoroughly after removing the seeds as jalapenos contain volatile oils that will remain on your fingers and burn anything that you touch afterwards (like your eyes).

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3 Responses to “Fancy in a Flash: Smoked Salmon Tartare”

  1. Rich says:

    Wow! This looks fantastic and sounds tasty and healthy! Great post!

  2. Tiger S. says:

    Oh my gosh! Your pictures make it look so good. Something about raw fish bothers me, but I tried smoked salmon once and it wasn’t so bad. This makes me want to give it another try.

  3. paty says:

    Got some salmon waiting for a good recipe… this is it!