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Apple Challenge: Salmon Tartar, Forbidden Black Rice and Cider Gastrique

September 24, 2012 by Joan Nova in 5 Star Foodie Makeover Cooking Group, Asian, Finishing Touches, Fish/Seafood, Food Challenge, Fruit, Recipe Development, Rice/Risotto, Small Meals with BIG FLAVORS, Techniques | 43 Comments

Yes, apple is present everywhere in this dish!

I always try to take the theme of these challenges to some place different … some place unexpected. I knew immediately it would be featured in a savory dish: (1) for the obvious reason that I’m not a dessert-maker and (2) I love the yin and yang of sweet and savory.

You might think at first glance that this is complicated or fancy, but it’s really very simple.

Apple (either peeled, unpeeled, raw, cooked and/or liquefied) is in each part of this dish.

I was planning to use Fuji Apple. It seemed like the right choice for the Asian flavor profile. But, in the end, I chose to go with the Granny Smith variety. It’s crisper, slightly tart and its bright color plays better with (against?) the other ingredients in the dish.

•     •     •

I may not be a perfect cook, but this is a perfectly balanced dish.

A little sweet, a little heat,
some acid and a dash of saltiness play with your palate.
The aromatics of ginger, sesame oil and cilantro tickle the nose.
Nutty and chewy rice as well as
raw and cooked components provide the textural counterpoints.

Apple Salmon Tartar
• Finely chop partially frozen wild organic Scottish salmon; refrigerate.
• Juice fresh lime, add a splash of fish sauce, soy sauce, mirin and rice vinegar; set aside.
• Finely mince apple and mix with a little jalapeno, chives, grated ginger and cilantro; toss with prepared lime juice.
• Add salmon to the mix; season with a little sea salt and a dash of sesame oil.
• Serve immediately.

Forbidden Black Rice with Apple
Black rice is available in some supermarkets, specialty stores and/or online.
• Finely chop apple, green pepper, scallion, and garlic.
• Saute a few minutes to slightly soften.
• Remove from heat and add a splash of rice vinegar, a dash of mirin, a little soy sauce, a drizzle of sesame oil; set aside.
• Cook black rice with standard 2-1 method; set aside to cool and dry completely.
• When cooled down, toss with reserved apple mix.

Cider Gastrique
The raw apple in the tartar was much more evident than the cooked apple in the rice, but the gastrique brought it all together. It was made by pureeing a few slices of skinless apple with apple cider vinegar, anise seed, brown sugar and a little oil.

Use a metal mold to assemble first the rice, then the salmon.

Finishing Touch: Drizzle gastrique, add sriracha dot for a little extra heat (and color).

Wine Pairing
It paired well with a Spanish blend of Albariño and Chardonnay … not too acidic, not too heavy … again, a perfect balance.

I love doing these monthly challenges. In fact, I’d happily do them twice a month! Thanks, once again, to Natasha and Lazaro for coming up with fun themes and all the work that goes into the behind-the-scenes organization. A round-up of everyone’s dishes will be published Friday. Can’t wait!

hosted by 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro Cooks!
NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. Victoria says:

    Really beautiful dish! I love all the bright colors and your use of apple throughout each component of the dish. Very well done :)
    Victoria recently posted..5 Star Makeover: Apple Cinnamon Bread and French ToastMy Profile

  2. liz says:

    Great ingredients making a great presentation.

  3. Faith says:

    Really lovely dish, Joan. All the flavors and textures you’ve layered together look wonderful!
    Faith recently posted..Lazy Sauerkraut Pierogi Casserole {With Apple}My Profile

  4. A really beautiful dish Joan and the plate and plating perfect.
    Platanos Mangoes & Me! recently posted..MOFONGO DE MANZANA – APPLE MOFONGOMy Profile

  5. bellini says:

    This is certainly a very creative dish Joan. Apples are overflowing from the markets right now.

    • Joan says:

      I bet you get some really good ones in your neck of the woods. Totally unrelated, but I notice when I find yellow cherry tomatoes in the market that they’re from Canada.

  6. How original (of course, of course) and how very pretty. You have knocked it out of the park once again, Joan!
    Flavors of the Sun recently posted..Mexican Fiestas, el Mes de la Patria, and a RecipeMy Profile

  7. Erica says:

    What a beautiful dish,Joan!Love all the colors and textures and presentation is amazing! Great job!
    Erica recently posted..Lentil Patties or Meatless BurgerMy Profile

  8. Shannon says:

    oh my gosh, what a great dish!! in presentation, combination of flavors and textures, and i can only imagine the taste as well :)
    Shannon recently posted..Peach ShortcakeMy Profile

  9. Robin Sue says:

    Wow, I am blown away. When one says apples I think of all things typically apple. My mind would have never gone here. You are a true chef and artist!
    Robin Sue recently posted..Let’s grab a PINT: snacking on the goMy Profile

  10. Laz says:

    Love the thought process that went into the creation of this course. Color, flavor, textural contrast. A+++. And a wine pairing to boot.


  11. A gorgeous presentation – I love the contrast of the black rice and light apples and salmon. The flavors are incredible here!
    5 Star Foodie recently posted..5 Star Makeover: Apples Tartare and Caramelized Apples with Scallop and Peanut Butter Coconut Milk NageMy Profile

  12. You outdid yourself here, gorgeous plating and every element is wonderful. I have had that rice before, liked it a lot.

  13. Looks gorgeous – would be fairly straightforward to make and a show stopper. The apple gastrique might need to be served in a small bowl along side. It sounded YUMMY!

  14. Beautifully presented, beautifully explained or should I say DECONSTRUCTED? A work of art – I wish I was there to take a chuck off! You shine at these challenges Joan!

    chow :) Devaki @ weavethousandflavors
    Devaki @ weavethousandflavors recently posted..A Blue Plate Special ~ Salmon & Vegetable Loaf with Lemon-MayoMy Profile

  15. Lori Lynn says:

    Wow Joan, way to rock the challenge!
    Love the color, flavor, presentation.
    Serious and smart incorporation of apple.
    Lori Lynn recently posted..Pappardelle ~ Apple, Fig, Pistachio, Mint, Saffron CreamMy Profile

  16. Rosa says:

    A beautiful dish and combination! Forbidden rice is so great. Love its taste and color.



  17. Joan, this recipe is so inspiring! Wow! Congratulations on once again bringing the challenge to a whole other level. Bravo!

  18. deana sidney says:

    As you say, a perfectly balanced dish. I love forbidden rice. It has so much personality and can imagine it shining with that apple gastrique.
    you’ve done great work with the apple challenge… bravo!
    deana sidney recently posted..Dennis Sever’s House, London and Victorian Apple Fritters with Caramel Ice CreamMy Profile

  19. Having an apple orchard, I am always looking for new dishes to prepare featuring apples. This sounds wonderful.

  20. Trix says:

    You are right, this does seem perfectly balanced … which, in my book, does indeed make you a perfect cook! ; )
    Trix recently posted..Ice Cider Cocktail with Spicy Chile Apple ChipsMy Profile

  21. Wow Joan. This one was a home run. Love the salmon with the apple.
    angela@spinachtiger recently posted..Apple & Grape Tart, for a Beautiful Holiday Pie TableMy Profile

  22. Laurie says:

    What a fun challenge Joan. I love apples and salmon together.. what a lovely pairing. Yes.. the yin and yang of savory and sweet is my fav!

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