This salmon apple tartare combines bright, crisp, zesty, and creamy flavors to produce an elegant appetizer that highlights fall’s quintessential fruit.
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In the early fall, I like to make the most out of local apples and prepare them many different ways, both sweet and savory. As much as I like apple pie and other sweet apple treats, I think apples are great in savory dishes too. I especially like to use tart, crunchy varieties, which I think are wonderful additions to salads and slaws.
A few years ago, I was looking for an elegant appetizer to start a meal that would be entirely dedicated to the apple. I was looking for a creative, fresh idea, and found a tartare in a book that highlights farmers and produce from Île d’Orléans, an island just 20 minutes outside of downtown Québec City. Modest in size, Île d’Orléans is mostly rural and it is often nicknamed Québec City’s pantry. From early June to late October, most fruits and vegetables that are found at Québec City’s farmers’ markets come from this historic island and in September, the apple is the star. Over a dozen varieties are harvested on the island: you’ll find the quintessential MacIntosh and Cortland, but also the Honey Crisp, Jonamac, and Royal Court, varieties that are less familiar to me.
I’ve used many different apple varieties in this colorful Salmon Apple Tartare, but the one I most often go back to is the bright green Granny Smith apple. The snappy crunch of the Granny Smith is a welcome texture addition to the tartare, its slightly tart taste works really well with other savory ingredients, and its complementary color makes the dish even more appealing. You can substitute any crunchy apple variety you can find locally, such as the Red or Golden Delicious, Braeburn, or Jonagold.
I like to serve this elegant Salmon Apple Tartare in a verrine--that is, in a clear glass–so you can admire its bright colors and fresh ingredients. What makes a tartare so beautiful and enjoyable to eat is the layers of textures it features, so make sure to pay close attention to the way you prepare the salmon and remaining ingredients: use a sharp knife and dice everything a similar size. It may take you a bit more time to prep, but I promise it’s worth the extra effort. This Salmon Apple Tartare is quite easy to make, but each and every element plays an essential role in the bright, crisp, zesty, and creamy result. It’s an elegant appetizer that would also look smashing served in individual spoons at a cocktail party.
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