French Fridays with Dorie
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.
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?
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.