Have you ever experimented with ingredients that don’t seem to belong with each other but once you put them together, it’s just amazing?
With this dish at first I was just copying the tuna tartare served at a Japanese restaurant here in Los Angeles. I was making it with tomatoes and raw tuna, but I actually don’t like tuna that much for two reasons. First is the sustainability issue with tuna that has been overfished for decades until some species are already been endangered. I don’t want that to happen.
Second, I don’t like the taste and texture of tuna that much. I might like toro, tuna belly, as sushi, but that’s about it. I don’t see the reason why I should continue eating a fish that I don’t really care for the taste of when that fish is already endangered! So, I substituted the tuna in tuna tartare with salmon. Now we’re talking!
I enjoy my “Salmon Tartare” with tomatoes as much as the tuna version. In fact, the type of fish in this dish is secondary, but the smooth and tender salmon changed the texture of the tartare. Raw salmon, as you may know, is fattier than tuna and that gives you that silky texture in your mouth. Sometimes I even peel the tomatoes just to match the texture.
Then one day I had to substitute another ingredient for one of my friends who is allergic to tomatoes. So I used mango instead. I thought the color was amazing, very bright and colorful, yellow mango, orange salmon and green onion, until I slapped on the mayo. Wow, I was just scratching the surface of the depth of this dish. As soon as I put the whole combination in my mouth, pow…it was AMAZING!
The tang and sweetness of the mango, and the smooth and silky texture of the salmon that contrasts so well with the crispy fried wonton chips that almost melt in your mouth, all the dressing that blends together, the crunchiness of the tiny caviar that bursts like a little surprise in each bite, the creamy mayo mixed with salty soy sauce, the hint of pickle ginger that feels like a breeze of freshness that lightens up the whole combination, the wasabi that takes the hint of fishiness out of the salmon and substitutes it with a charge into your sinuses to finish off the bite…PERFECT is an understatement here.
And, most of all, this is an EASY recipe, especially compared to most of the ones on my blog. Yeah, I’ve heard the complaints…I’m trying to post that type of recipe more often, but unfortunately even though they’re simple or easy to me, who knew and grew up with those weird Thai ingredients, they might not be that simple to you, if you can’t get the ingredients as easily as I do.
10-12 pieces of wonton skins, cut into four squares
Oil (for frying) about 1 cup
Sushi grade salmon meat, cut into 1/2″ cubes, 1 cup
Mango cut into cubes about the same size as the salmon 1 cup
Chopped pickled ginger (the same kind you would eat with sushi) 1 tablespoon
Green onion, sliced 3 tablespoons
Wasabi 1 teaspoon
Soy sauce 1 tablespoon
Mayonaise 2 tablespoons
Flying fish roe or caviar 1 tablespoon
1) Put oil in a wok over high heat
2) Drop the cut wonton skin in the hot oil only a few at a time and soon as they crisp in about 15 seconds, take them out right away.
Of course, you can buy chips, but naturally I have to make some part of this difficult and do it myself.
1) Mix everything together and blend well. Do the taste test, adjusting it to your preference.
2) Put the mix in a nice bowl
3) Arrange the chips on a nice plate
Well, steps 2 and 3 are really just a joke, because I already ate half, while you were standing around waiting!