I think I could live on bite-sized food alone. I don’t know if it’s because you get to enjoy a wide variety of food without the formality of a sit down dinner or the fact you can have your own portable feast while hiding in a corner, but something makes amuse-bouche really appealing to me. These salmon tartare cornets a la Thomas Keller are the perfect example, they make a great party starter and they always draw oohhh’s and aaahhh’s from the crowd. And what food doesn’t taste better in miniature ice-cream cones, really. It’s a little bit like having dinner at the French Laundry right in the comfort of your own home.
The perfect finger food doesn’t come without a fight, though. First you will have to invest in cornet molds. You’ll have to make a 4-inch plastic stencil to spread the tuile batter into perfect rounds. You will have to burn your delicate little fingers to shape the black sesame tuiles into cones and bake them to a golden brown without burning them. And I know what I’m talking about here [cough-cough]. The good news is that practice makes perfect and once you get the hang of it you’ll be making them by the dozen in a flash. I adapted the recipe a little and added salmon roe because it’s even more fun that way. Enjoy!
Wish you all a happy holiday season!
Salmon Tartare with Sweet Red Onion Crème Fraîche
- Adapted from Thomas Keller @ French Laundry
- Serves 8
For the black sesame tuile:
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (65 grams/2.1/4 ounces) all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (= 2/3 teaspoon table salt)
- 8 tablespoons (114 grams/4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened but still cool to the touch
- 2 large egg whites, cold
- 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
For the salmon tartare:
- 4 ounces salmon fillet, skin and any bones removed, finely minced
- 3/4 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced chives
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced shallots
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
- small pinch of freshly ground white pepper
- salmon roe
- dill for garnish
For the sweet red onion crème fraîche :
- 1 tablespoon finely minced red onions
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground white pepper to taste
For the black sesame tuile:
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the softened butter until it is completely smooth and mayonnaise-like in texture. Using a stiff spatula or spoon, beat the egg whites into the dry ingredients until completely incorporated and smooth. Whisk in the softened butter by thirds, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary and whisking until the batter is creamy and without any lumps. Transfer the batter to a smaller container. Preheat the oven to 400’F degrees.
- Make a 4-inch hollow circular stencil. Place Silpat on the counter. Place the stencil in one corner of the sheet and, holding the stencil flat against the Silpat, scoop some of the batter onto the back of an offset spatula and spread it in an even layer over the stencil. Then run the spatula over the entire stencil to remove any excess batter. There should not be any holes in the batter.
- Lift the stencil and repeat the process to make as many rounds as you have molds or to fill the Silpat, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between the cornets. Sprinkle each cornet with a pinch of black sesame seeds.
- Place the Silpat on a heavy baking sheet and bake for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the batter is set and you see it rippling from the heat. The cornets may have browned in some areas, but they will not be evenly browned at this point.
- Open the oven door and place the baking sheet on the door. This will help keep the cornets warm as you roll them and prevent them from becoming too stiff to roll. Flip a cornet over on the sheet pan, sesame seed side down and place 4-1/2 inch cornet mold at the bottom of the round. Fold the bottom of the cornet and around the mold; it should remain on the sheet pan as you roll. Leave the cornet wrapped around the mold and continue to roll the cornets around molds; as you proceed, arrange the rolled cornets, seams side down, on the sheet pan so they lean against each other, to prevent from rolling.
- When all the cornets are rolled, return them to the oven and bake for an additional 3 to 4 minutes to set the seams and color the cornets a golden brown.
- Gently remove the cornets from the molds and cool for several minutes on paper towels. Store the cornets for up to 2 days in an airtight container.
For the salmon tartare:
- With a sharp knife, finely mince the salmon filet. Do not use a food processor. Mincing by hand will ensure the right texture. In a small bowl stir in the remaining ingredients except the salmon roe and toss with the salmon tartare. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up 12 hours.
For the sweet red onion crème fraîche
- Place the red onions in a small strainer and rinse them under cold water for several seconds. Dry them in paper towels. In a small metal bowl, whisk the crème fraîche for about 30 seconds to 1 minute or until it holds soft peaks. Fold in the chopped onions and season to tastes with salt and white pepper. Transfer the onion cream to a container to cover and refrigerate until ready to serve or up to 6 hours.
- To Assemble:
- Spoon some salmon roe at the bottom of every cornets. Fill the top 1/2 inch of each cornet with the onion cream. Spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the tartare over the onion cream and mold it into a dome resembling a scoop of ice cream. Top with more salmon roe. Garnish with dill.