Gracing the Table: Pete Evans’ Salmon Tarator
Through food, it’s possible to trace not only the history of travel and trade, but also the path of conquest. If you’ve heard of tarator, it may have been in one of many contexts. In central Europe, it’s a cold soup made with yogurt and cucumbers, reminiscent of Greek fare. Most likely, the invading Mongol armies and waves of Turkish invasion that suffused the entirety of eastern and central Europe over many centuries brought it.
But in both Near and Middle Eastern cuisines, tarator is a sauce. Its antique region of origin is most likely the Middle East, a sauce of citrus and tahini. For our salmon tarator, we couldn’t ask for better flavour combinations, and can’t wait to share it with you. Inspiration for the dish comes from the kitchen of Pete Evans, and is sure to please your dinner guests as much as it has inspired us.
Tahini is made from sesame seeds, which are superior sources of ALA, potassium, tocopherols, and magnesium. By incorporating it judiciously into your summer fare, you’ll increase skin elasticity, energy levels, and overall digestive wellbeing. In and of itself, tahini has been officially used in a variety of Middle Eastern dishes since the 13th century. It’s likely that its homely use predates even this early record.
Sesame seeds are indigenous to many cultivated regions in the Middle East, and so their ubiquitous presence in the form of the spiced paste raises no eyebrows. As well, the use of almonds and walnuts, as well as the fresh leaves of coriander, parsley, and mint, have a defined place in the cuisine of the cultures making their home in the sometimes-harsh environment.
In general, traditional forms of many modern dishes that were invented in the Middle East focus on fresh, simple ingredients, combined in cunning ways to highlight the natural flavours of the components. Herbs, citrus, and chillies are common guests of this food culture.
A large fillet of Butcherman Tasmanian Huon salmon (about 1.5 kg), boned, with skin intact
Salt and cracked black pepper
3 tbsp. coconut oil
1/3 c flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/3 c fresh coriander, chopped
¼ c fresh mint, chopped
1 red onion, diced
150g almonds, diced
25g walnuts, diced
4 long red chillies, chopped finely
200ml olive oil
400g tahini paste
150ml lemon juice
3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
3 tsp. cumin seeds, ground
While you preheat your oven to 70 degrees C, rub the salmon filet with coconut oil on both sides. Generously season the fish with salt and cracked pepper before wrapping it in baking paper. With the seam facing up, tie your parcel with kitchen twine in three places, and bake on a tray for 40 minutes. The salmon should be a beautiful shade of pink in the centre when baking is completed.
Using a food processor, incorporate your ingredients for the tahini and create a thick paste by adding water gradually. 85 ml should do the trick. For the herb crusting, toss your prepared ingredients in a large bowl, adding a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
Once the salmon is removed from the oven and situated on its serving platter with skin side down, spread a portion of the tahini over the fish. Then, gently press the herb mixture onto the tahini paste. Sprinkle excess herbs around the fish for garnish. Then, finish with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses and the seeds of a fresh pomegranate.
For our recipe, we used fresh Tasmanian Huon Salmon. Butcherman provides only salmon of the highest quality and freshness, which is why it’s a match made in heaven. Plus, we know our fish is ethically sourced, and engenders a partnership between those who draw their income from respectful harvests of natural resources.
The piquant and vivacious herbal oils compliment the sweetness of Tasmanian Huon salmon. As well, the spice and nutty notes of the tahini bring together these opposite forces of freshly prepared crust and perfectly baked salmon. If you’re planning a relaxed al fresco dinner party or a more sumptuous formal dinner, this dish is ideal. While its presentation may appear rustic, the refined tastes present in the main course will impress any guest.