By far, of all the celebrity chefs out there, my No. 1 go-to is the Barefoot Contessa. Her recipes never, ever fail me and I have been collecting her cookbooks and watching her show for years.
With that said, these are the Barefoot Contessa's things that I envy:
- her incredible house in the Hamptons
- her bevy of gorgeous gay best friends
- her enormous herb garden that is groomed by magical elves
- her unlimited money that causes her to demand that you use "really good olive oil" and "really good dijon mustard," as if my Bertolli Olive Oil and Grey Poupon are not good enough for her
And, these are the Barefoot Contessa's things that I DON'T envy:
- her endless wardrobe of black shmata
- her husband, Jeffrey, whose feigned surprised delight at the dishes she makes for him is as believable as the Cruise/Holmes marriage
- the fact that she surely at some point must be forced to hang out with Sandra Lee in a room full of tablescapes and cherry red cocktails
Regardless of all of this, when I recently attended the birthday party of a friend who not only loves smoked salmon, but also tartare (and cracks me up when he eats beef tartare and calls it "cannibal sammiches"), I knew exactly who to turn to. My beloved, be-shmata-ed Contessa. Needless to say, she did not disappoint. This easy, impressive, delicious, flawless recipe immediately made it into my permanent file. I loved it, and Jeffrey did too.
Fresh Salmon Tartare(Copied directly from The Barefoot Contessa)
1 pound skinless fresh salmon fillet
1/2 pound smoked salmon, thickly sliced
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (3 limes)
1/3 cup minced shallots (2 shallots)
2 tablespoons good olive oil (on TV she says, “Very good olive oil”)
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
3 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (“Very good Dijon”)
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Cut the fresh salmon and the smoked salmon in 1/4-inch dice. Place the salmon in a mixing bowl and add the lime juice, shallots, olive oil, dill, capers, two mustards, salt and pepper. Mix well, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours for the salmon to marinate.
I served this with a small load of dark Pumpernickel bread and water crackers. Both were delicious, but I prefer the water crackers because the tartare has so much on its own and the bread created competing flavors.