The inspiration for this Salmon Tart came from a photo I had in my file. I have a big collection of food photos going back about twenty years and I have no idea where I saved them from. I had been wanting to create this dish since I started my blog, because it was so pretty, and recently I had some good mangoes on hand and I decided to get busy. The photo showed pea shoots and I really liked the way they looked, so I went on a big hunt to find some. Ralphs, Bristol Farms and Whole Foods didn’t have any and I finally discovered them at a nearby Korean market. I found the Pillsbury pie crust at Bristol Farms, which is a big circle of dough rolled into a tube, and the salmon roe was finally located at Whole Foods. It took me about a week to collect everything I needed. Actually my first set of mangoes died and had to be replaced. But today I had everything I needed, at last.
I made the tart shells about a week ago and stored them in an air-tight container at room temperature. Above you can see the unbaked and baked shells.The tart pans I used were 3 ¾ inches in diameter on the bottom and 4 inches at the widest on top. I made a paper template circle 5 ½ inches in diameter to cut out the dough rounds with a paring knife. I cut parchment paper circles 3 ¾ inches in diameter to line the inside of the dough. I used the paring knife to trim the excess dough from the pan rims so it was flush. I used aluminum pie weights, but you can use rice or dried beans if you prefer. I stored the tart shells in the pans so they wouldn’t break. I think the next time I make these I will make some pate brisee so there will be that buttery flavor component.
When I was making this, I tasted as I went along to see how the different parts fit together. As soon as the salmon was out of the pan, I put a bite in a big spoon with some crème fraiche and mango salsa to see how it worked together. And Lynne said, it was damn good. It occurred to me that just those three ingredients together in a Chinese soup spoon would make a really delicious amuse-bouche. Maybe garnish it with a wisp of pea shoot. (Sorry for subjecting you to my stream of consciousness here.) I had a lot of fun with this project, so I hope you enjoy the photos.
Blackened Salmon Tarts With Mango Salsa
2 sheets purchased pie dough (I used Pillsbury), homemade pate brisee , or 4 savory tart cases
1 teaspoon brown sugar or palm sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce
1 mango, 3/8-inch dice (about 1 cup)
½ English cucumber, peeled, seeded, 3/8-inch dice (3/4 cup)
2 small red chilies, seeds removed, finely chopped (1 ½ tablespoons)
1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
3 tablespoons red onion, very small dice
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon dried oregano, rubbed
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne
2 4-ounce skinless, boneless salmon fillets
1 tablespoon olive oil
Garnish to serve
3/4 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
2 tablespoons orange salmon caviar (optional)
Pea shoots, or other greens
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Use the pastry to line four 4-inch tart pans with removable bottoms. Prick the bases with a fork and place on a sheet pan. Chill for 30 minutes.
3. Line pastry shells with parchment paper circles the diameter of the bottom and fill with pastry weights or rice. Blind bake for 10 minutes, then remove paper and weights. Bake for 5 more minutes or until golden. Cool.
4. In a small bowl, mix the palm sugar, lime juice and fish sauce together. Mash the sugar against the side of the bowl with a spoon until it is incorporated. For the salsa, combine the diced ingredients in a bowl and pour the lime juice mixture over. Stir to coat ingredients and chill until ready to serve.
5. For the salmon, combine spices in a shallow bowl. Coat the salmon in mixture and chill for 30 minutes.
6. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Cook salmon for 2 minutes each side or until blackened all over, but not burned.
7. Spoon crème fraiche into tart cases. Flake the salmon into pieces and divide among the tarts. Top with salsa and caviar. Garnish with pea shoots or other greens. Serve.