Salmon Tartare.
Because Things Change.

French Fridays with Dorie

Salmon Tartare Dorie Greenspan-2

When I was a young boy, my friend Tony Macquarie tried to impress the rest of us on the playground when he proclaimed that his father “ate raw meat.” “Oh gross!” we all exclaimed, but still clearly impressed by Tony’s father’s complete disregard for what he put in his mouth. My ten-year-old ears interpreted this declaration by picturing his daddy sitting down to a slab of uncooked steak and gnawing away at it with nothing but his molars.

If you had known Mr. Macquarie, you would understand my rush to misinterpretation. He was a gruff man without any of the polish I had come to expect from the other neighborhood fathers. While our fathers came home from work wearing a suit and tie, Tony’s wore street clothes and was always heavily ornamented with flashy gold chains around his neck and fingers covered with chunky gold nugget rings. On weekends, he morphed into Stanley Kowalski, strutting around the house doing chores and bellowing at his wife to bring him a bottle of beer while wearing a tight-fitting undershirt and filling out his chinos quite nicely thankyouverymuch. Tony couldn’t avoid his bellicose weekend rants as well, constantly criticized for his lack of sports prowess and his otherwise general lack of  similarity to his father. I was curious about Tony’s father, but also somewhat afraid.

So when Tony said his father ate raw meat I thought, well, he ate raw meat.

Several years later I would finally be set straight on Mr. MacQuarie’s meat eating, so to speak. I was invited by Tony’s family to his birthday dinner where Mr. MacQuarie ordered his beloved steak tartare (made table-side.) Here I would come to understand that ‘raw meat’ was a fussy preparation designed to make the meat taste like anything other than raw meat.

Salmon Tartare

We moved away from the neighborhood a year or so later. I wouldn’t see Mr. MacQuarie again for another 15 years later when, obviously not recognizing me, he approached me in West Hollywood gay nightclub and tried to pick me up.

The point I’m trying to make with all of this is that one should never cling to assumptions. Tastes change just as people change. What once sounded “gross” and quite wide outside my comfort zone  is now one of my favorite dishes.

I’m sure Mr. MacQuarie would have a lot to tell us about change too.

So if you are one of those who think eating raw salmon is just not for you, I think you should give it a try with an open mind. You may just find it appealing if prepared as it is here with a healthy dose of lime, scallions, chive, and mint – all of this topped above a tower of chopped tomatoes and avocado.

Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Right Mac?

Salmon Tartare Dorie Greenspan-1

The recipe can be found here.


This Salmon Tartare was an assignment for French Friday’s with Dorie, a cooking group working its way through Dorie Greenspan’s culinary tome “Around My French Table”. We generally avoid including the recipes in our posts. However, wherever there has been a significant adaptation by me or where the recipe has already been publicly posted by Ms. Greenspan or her publishers or by hundreds of other bloggers, or it is, in fact, not much of a recipe at all but rather a methode, I will either include it here (adapted) or provide a direct link to it. Please feel free to contact me via the link provided on my page if you need any assistance finding a French Friday with Dorie Recipe. You should buy the book though.

It will change your life as it has mine.

About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don't know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]" means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small 'boom' in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a "food blog" or even myself a "food blogger".

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  1. A very interesting story on many levels, in regards to levels, I like that you choose to be bold and put the salmon on top. When I saw plates of salmon tartare go by in restaurants in Paris this Fall the salmon was ALWAYS on top.

  2. You tell the best stories! My pollyanna life makes for much less interesting blog fodder. And, of course, your tartare looks sublime. It has gained a place in my top 10 AMFT recipes.

  3. That’s one memorable story. Your presentation looks like a restaurant plate. Nice job.

  4. Mary Hirsch says:

    Oh, Trevor, you did throw a hook into your Post this week, didn’t you? And, Liz and I, both having grown up in Iowa, could not even begin to go head to head with you regarding stories. I won’t try but I like reading yours. Lovely job with the Salmon Tartare. Since I didn’t think this would go down well with the kids at The Gant’s front office, I went with a dessert. That always works. I intend to make this, however. I like tartare.

    • I still think we all have stories to tell! I just can’t think of tartare without thinking of this man and my experience with him. Don’t sell the Ganters short Mary. I think you should go down with little salmon tartare shooters and a bottle of wine sometime.

  5. Lisa Brown says:

    Well Trevor, that really was a funny story, causing me to laugh out loud as I am sitting here drinking my coffee at 5:15am. So nice to be able to start the day with a laugh- thank you. I do agree that tastes change, I remember my mother forcing me to eat asparagus as a child. I gagged and gagged, now I LOVE them. But I still am not ready to take the leap to raw meat yet

  6. I really loved this way of serving raw salmon – so fresh and tasty. I bet Mr MacQuarie got quite a surprise when he realised he was trying to chat up his son’s childhood friend.

  7. Your story cracked me up, too funny. I think the tartare looks great but no matter the order of the ingredients,
    this just didn’t work for me. Have a great weekend.

  8. Lovely dish, and yes, quite the story!!

  9. The salmon looks FAB (and very raw) on top of the vibrant colors. Btw, I survived the avocado!

  10. Thanks to your story, I now have “It’s a Small World After All” stuck in my head. I’m not a fan of the song, but I AM a fan of your story. What are the odds that the two of you would be in the same place at the same time so many years later, and that, out of all the people there, he approached you, without recognizing you? That’s crazy! And makes for a good story.

    Your tartar looks great. I haven’t managed to find really fresh salmon here in southern Italy, so I’m holding off on this one until I can be sure I’m getting fresh stuff. I got sick from fish a few months ago, so it’s scaring me off of a bunch of the fishy dishes for now.

  11. I always love reading your posts, Trevor! You never disappoint!
    I am of Lebanese heritage, and grew up eating raw meat…my grandmother would make Kibbeh nayeh every Sunday. The Lebanese version of Beef Tartare. My grandfather was a butcher and would only bring home the freshest and best ground beef or lamb. He could control the cleanliness of the grinder, and the tools he used. Kibbeh is absolutely delicious when prepared properly. I haven’t eaten raw kibbeh in years, because I can’t be sure of the safety of the meat I would use. That’s pretty much why I don’t eat raw fish. I’m sure it’s wonderful…but I would have to know the source well, and be sure of the freshness! I love that you placed the salmon on top…absolutely lovely! Happy Weekend!

  12. your photos this week are amazing! it’s interesting how things change from how we knew them as a child to an adult isn’t it?

  13. Such a pretty photo. And now I want to sit down with a bottle of wine with all the Doristas ans swap stories about folks who eat raw fish/ meat etc… 😉

  14. Best story ever! I’m literally laughing out loud at your post. Sounds like poor Mr. MacQuarie was trying to overcompensate in so many ways

  15. I love this story. 🙂 Your salmon looks very fresh and delicious too.

  16. Ha, that is a great story.
    I think the whole Dorista crew should sit down with a few cases of wine (one bottle just wouldn’t do).

  17. I thought I left you a comment…but it must not have gone through. Loved you story Trevor! You definetly have a way with words. Your Tartare looks great…lovely presentation and photos!

  18. The other day my husband saw a picture of a similar salmon tartare recipe and he commented how good it looked…until I told him it was raw salmon. I do wish he would open his mind enough to try it, because this was a truly wonderful dish.