Jan 16

Party Food : Smoked Salmon Tartlets


Smoked Salmon Tartlets



Preparing little nibblies for a party is probably my favourite part of entertaining at home. I like to have a multitude of different mini bites all laid out on the coffee table so as guests start to arrive they may pick up a glass of wine and start sampling food as they get settled into conversation. This also buys me time in the kitchen while I am prepping the main meal. Conversely, if I were to turn up at a party I would most certainly get stuck-in at the nibblies section (so long as it is available and not limited to Doritos + dip) … which is probably why I like parties hosted at hotels. Ooh, high tea!  *swoon*.



I have a girlfriend who is a huge entertainer and it was her who inspired my love affair with all things small and packed with many layers of flavour. Hosting a full on dinner at her house for thirty was not unheard of, and she would cook pretty much everything from scratch. Her bookshelves groaned under the weight of her collection of cookbooks and foodie magazines; many with bits of multicoloured Post-It notes peeking out the side. Hosting a party for thirty was one thing, but stretching that to a multi-course dinner for that many people in her tiny townhouse was very ambitious indeed, complete from hors d’oeuvres to dessert. No one ever left a party thrown by her hungry. Rather we’d all be stuffed to the brim, and we’d all be seen to the door with doggie bags in hand. I, for one, have never attempted to entertain more than six at a time … main reason being there just isn’t enough seats round my table. Perhaps if R would finally decide to buy our deck furniture, that would change things round a bit.



Anyway, I digress. Todays recipe is all about the ease and breeze of simple home entertaining. I like recipes like this because they look fancy-schmancy, yet they are easy to make; they up the standard of your dinner parties considerably but without adding a whole lot of extra cost. To make this a quick and fuss-free recipe, I used frozen pastry from the store, but you can always go the extra mile for your guests by making your pastry from scratch.



Start by prepping the filling. Skin your piece of salmon and cut the meat into little chunks. Salt and pepper the fish and set aside.


Smoked Salmon Tartlets

Now grab some créme fraîche and an egg. Whisk lightly and season with a pinch of salt & pepper. Then add the lemon juice and zest. Snip dill fronds and stir thoroughly to distribute evenly.



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Cut out circles from the now-thawed pastry and gently mould them into the mini muffin tin. I am using a regular cutter but I think using a flutted cutter would up the ‘pretty’ factor heaps.



Smoked Salmon Tartlets3



Now place the salmon chunks into each pastry casing and pour the custard over. Give the tin a little wiggle and a shake to settle the mixture. Don’t over fill the pastry coz the egg in the custard will puff up. So aim for about two-thirds full. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes at 180ºC until the custard is just set and the edges of the crusts are slightly golden. Remove and let them cool to room temp.



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Just before serving, top with a dollop of lemon scented crème fraîche (crème fraîche + lemon juice) and arrange slivers of smoked salmon over each. Garnish with caviar and dill fronds. Voila! All done and you will be well rewarded for all your efforts, for these are delectable bites indeed.



Smoked Salmon Tartlets





Ingredients: (makes 40 mini tartlets)

  • 1kg Shortcrust Pastry, thawed
  • 300g Salmon fillet, skinned and cut into small chunks
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml Crème fraiche
  • Black pepper & salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 200-400g Smoked salmon
  • Few fronds of dill



These can be made in the morning, ahead of the guest arrival and then take them out an hour before serving to bring up to room temperature. Then dress and garnish accordingly. I am positive these will go down a treat with everyone, so once it hits the table, stand back and watch them slowly disappear. Best compliment a home chef can get. 🙂 Well happy cooking everyone, and goodluck.


~ Enjoy! ~





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