The calendar says it’s spring. Outside, not quite, but I remain optimistic. Actually, it’s a little better than that. Howard planted peas in the vegetable garden last night, and this morning, I noticed the tarragon and chives have started to emerged from the ground.
Waiting for warmer weather means that I no longer crave the hearty comfort food of winter. There still aren’t any local vegetables available, but lighter meals are what appeal. This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie gets a big check mark on that count. The challenge this week is Salmon Tartare, a savory parfait, where the presentation is almost as satisfying as the taste.
To start, three complementary “salads” are prepared. The first is sliced grape tomatoes tossed with oil and herbs. The second is diced raw salmon tossed with olive oil, more herbs, lime zest, scallion, and Tabasco. Finally, diced avocado is tossed with lime juice and zest, herbs and Tabasco. The final touch is the addition of supremed lime segments to the salmon mixture along with some more lime juice. (And, if you don’t mind supreming that citrus, try my mother’s famous Fruit Salad!)
The herbs called for were mint and chives, but because of the tomatoes and avocado, this dish screamed “Cilantro!” to me, so that’s what I used.
To serve, the layers can be formed in a ring that gets removed or a ramekin that gets flipped over. I chose to serve this in extra-large martini glasses. When I bought them, I didn’t realize that these festive glasses are larger than any cocktail that I can drink responsibly, so I was glad to have an opportunity to pull them out of the cabinet.
I served the salmon tartare for dinner. We both really enjoyed it. I made half the recipe, and the portions seemed generous for a meal, at least for us. In smaller glasses, this would make a fun appetizer alongside cocktails also served in smaller glasses than these.
This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie is a fanciful interpretation of ravioli. In this version, mandoline-sliced avocado stands in for the pasta to enclose a piquant crab filling. Clever, no?
I will say it sounded delicious. However, in reading the week’s chatter about problems and questions for this recipe (P&Q), it became apparent that slicing the avocado successfully was an iffy proposition. I followed the lead of several other Doristas and transformed the ingredients into a salad instead.
In my case, I made the crab filling according to the recipe. Lump crabmeat was flaked and tossed with lime zest, lime juice, shallot, cilantro, and some olive oil. Rather than attempting to thinly slice it, I chopped the avocado into chunks and tossed it in some lime juice. Then, I gently folded the avocado into the crab salad.
Since the idea behind the ravioli obviously intended to give the presentation some flair, I packed the crab salad into a container to mold into a nicer shape than a pile on the plate. I made the crab salad into a meal with some farro, beet, and fennel salad on the side. A wonderful light summer supper.
Verdict: Nice but not memorable. Howard wasn’t home to try it, but I predict that he would have liked it.