Salmon Tartare

Salmon tartare is a luxurious yet simple appetizer that showcases the natural flavors of its primary ingredient, fresh salmon. This dish, often prepared with a mix of delicate herbs, citrus juice, and select accompaniments, appeals to those who treasure both the refined and the uncomplicated in culinary experiences. The beauty of salmon tartare lies in its versatility—be it the choice of herbs, the addition of capers for a salty kick, or a touch of mustard for depth—enabling you to make the recipe uniquely yours.

When you start with the highest quality of raw, sushi-grade salmon, you set a solid foundation for an exquisite tartare. Precision in cutting is key, as the texture of the fish contributes significantly to the overall enjoyment of the dish. Chilling the salmon prior to preparation makes it easier to achieve the desired thin, even slices or cubes that are characteristic of the dish.

Combining the salmon with ingredients like shallots, dill, and lime juice not only adds layers of flavor but also introduces a refreshing zest, complementing the rich, buttery quality of the fish. Whether you’re serving it on crusty toast or alongside a salad, salmon tartare can be a stunning starter that primes the palate for the courses to follow.

Selecting Quality Ingredients

The success of your salmon tartare hinges on the quality of ingredients you choose. Prioritize freshness and source high-grade salmon to ensure both safety and flavor.

Choosing the Right Salmon

Salmon: For tartare, you need high-quality raw fish. Opt for sushi-grade or quality salmon that has been frozen at -4°F or colder for safety. You can use either boneless salmon fillet or smoked salmon, although the former is more traditional.


Freshness: The term “freshest” is crucial when selecting raw fish. Your salmon should have a bright color, a clean smell, and a firm texture. Freshness is especially important since the fish is served raw.

Complementary Ingredients

  • Herbs and Seasonings: Choose fresh herbs and spices like dill or cilantro.
  • Acidic Components: Fresh lime or lemon juice will enhance flavor and aid in the light curing of the fish.
  • Vegetables: Ingredients such as finely chopped onions, shallots, or ginger add crunch and zest.

Health and Nutrition

In this section, you’ll find detailed information about the health aspects and nutritional content of salmon tartare. Gain insight into how this dish fits into your diet and understand its nutritional benefits and considerations.

Nutritional Facts

A typical serving size of salmon tartare is 1 cup (approximately 229 grams), which offers a rich blend of nutrients. Below is a breakdown of the nutritional content:

NutrientAmount% Daily Value*
Total Fat44g56%
Saturated Fat7.5g38%
Trans Fat0g
Polyunsaturated Fat7.9g
Monounsaturated Fat24g
Total Carbohydrates7.9g3%
Dietary Fiber4.1g15%
Total Sugars1g
Vitamin D(Not provided)
Calcium(Not provided)
Iron(Not provided)

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Benefits of Salmon

Salmon is a high-quality protein source essential for repairing tissues and maintaining muscle mass. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving typically contains about 22-25 grams of protein. Additionally, salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health and may reduce inflammation.

Dietary Considerations

Salmon tartare is naturally gluten- and dairy-free, accommodating various dietary restrictions. However, the high sodium content might be a concern for those monitoring their salt intake. The balance of fats, including saturated and unsaturated fats, is an important consideration as well, especially for individuals managing their fat intake for health reasons.

Preparing Salmon Tartare

How to Prepare Salmon Tartare - A tropical seafood treat

Preparing salmon tartare involves careful handling of the fish and delicate seasoning to highlight its fresh flavor. Follow these steps to ensure your tartare is both safe and delicious.

Cubing the Fish

To start, you’ll need a salmon fillet, preferring those of sushi grade for safety and quality. Make sure the fillet is well chilled before you begin for easier handling. Using a sharp knife, dice the salmon into uniform, 1/4-inch cubes to provide the perfect texture and ensure even marination.

1Place the salmon fillet on a clean cutting board.
2With a sharp knife, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices lengthwise.
3Stack the slices and cut into 1/4-inch strips widthwise.
4Dice the strips into 1/4-inch cubes for tartare.

Seasoning and Marination

Combine the cubed salmon with freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice to not only add a zesty flavor but also to cure the fish slightly. Kosher salt and black pepper are essential for bringing out the natural flavors of the salmon. Now, if you’d like, you can add a small amount of Dijon mustard for a subtle punch and olive oil for a smooth texture. To innovate beyond the classic, consider cilantro, ginger, or lemon zest for a unique twist.

Lemon/Lime Juiceto taste
Pepperto taste
Dijon Mustard1/2 teaspoon
Olive Oil2 teaspoons
Ginger (optional)1/2 teaspoon

Finishing Touches

Once your salmon is well seasoned and marinated, it’s time to add the finishing touches. Fresh herbs like dill can add a vibrant note. Incorporate capers for their briny depth or a dash of vinegar for a sharp contrast. Before serving, give the tartare one final gentle stir to combine all the flavors, taking care not to break the delicate pieces of salmon.

Finishing IngredientQuantity
Dillto taste
Capers1 teaspoon
Vinegar1/2 teaspoon

Serve immediately after preparation to enjoy the most vibrant flavors and ensure the best texture.

Serving Suggestions

When serving salmon tartare, the choice of accompaniments, garnish, and presentation plays a crucial role in enhancing the dish’s flavors and aesthetics.

Appropriate Accompaniments

You’ll want to pair your salmon tartare with sides that complement its delicate flavor without overpowering it. Consider the following:

  • Toasts and Chips: Crostini, pita chips, and even potato chips provide a satisfying crunch.
  • Vegetables: Thin slices of cucumber or radishes offer a fresh, crisp contrast.
  • Breads: Offer a selection of different breads, such as plain or herbed toast points and tortilla chips, for diversity in flavor and texture.


Garnishing your salmon tartare increases flavor and visual appeal:

  • Herbs: Sprinkle finely chopped chives, flat-leaf parsley, or cilantro for a burst of fresh taste.
  • Citrus: Fresh lime zest or a squeeze of lime juice can brighten up the dish.
  • Oil: A drizzle of sesame or vegetable oil adds a silky mouthfeel and depth.

Presentation Tips

The presentation of salmon tartare should be both practical and aesthetically pleasing:

  • Caviar: A spoonful of caviar atop the tartare adds a luxurious touch.
  • Shallots and Jalapeño: Minced shallots or finely diced jalapeño incorporated into the tartare or sprinkled on top add both flavor and texture.
  • Avocado: Serve the tartare in an avocado half or with avocado slices for creaminess and visual impact.

Remember, your presentation should not only be appealing but also maintain the integrity of the salmon’s delicate flavor profile.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section addresses common queries about preparing and enjoying salmon tartare, ensuring both safety and culinary delight.

What are the essential ingredients for making classic salmon tartare?

To make classic salmon tartare, you need fresh, sushi-grade salmon, finely chopped shallots, capers, chives, olive oil, and lemon juice. Fresh herbs like dill can enhance the flavor, with seasonings like salt and pepper being adjusted to taste.

How can one safely prepare salmon tartare at home?

To safely prepare salmon tartare at home, start with sushi-grade salmon known for its freshness and handling specifically designed for raw consumption. Ensure all utensils, cutting boards, and your hands are thoroughly cleaned before preparation. Keep the salmon chilled until serving.

What are some popular variations of salmon tartare in different cuisines?

Popular variations of salmon tartare include the addition of ingredients like avocado, jalapeño, or different oils like pumpkinseed oil for a unique twist. Some recipes incorporate citrus zest or horseradish to give a refreshing or spicy kick to the dish.

How can avocado be incorporated into a salmon tartare dish?

Avocado can be incorporated into a salmon tartare dish by dicing it finely to mimic the size of the salmon cubes. Gently fold the avocado into the salmon mixture to add creaminess and a rich, buttery flavor contrasting the fish’s freshness.

What are the nutritional benefits of consuming salmon tartare?

Salmon tartare is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which support heart and brain health, and it’s a good source of protein. It tends to be lower in calories when compared to cooked preparations, as it’s typically made without heavy sauces and breading.

How should salmon tartare be stored and how long will it remain fresh?

Salmon tartare should be consumed immediately after preparation. If you must store it, keep it refrigerated and consume within 24 hours. Store in a tightly sealed container and keep the temperature consistent to maintain its freshness.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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