29 December 2007

Baked Salmon Tarator and the Royal Foodie Joust

My photos from this dish were definetely lacking. For some reason the photos turned out blurry so only the tiniest glimpse of this dish is available from a version of the original recipe. It was devoured pretty quickly though I must say. Despite my camera problems I decided to still enter the monthy Royal Foodie Joust over at Jenn's site Leftover Queen . Jenn is our talented and industrious mentor who initiated the Foodie Blog Roll. Each month the previous month's winner chooses 3 ingredients for the Royal Foodie Joust. This month was : pistachios, mint and pomegranate.
Tarator , taratur or tartor is a cold soup (or a liquid salad), popular in the summertime in Bulgaria acoording to Wikopedia. It is made of yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, walnuts, dill, and oil. Local variations may replace the yogurt with water and vinegar, omit the nuts or dill, or add bread.

In Greece, a similar meze is the familiar and popular tzatziki which usually contains olive oil, parsley and/or mint and sometimes the addition of the ingredients listed above.

The Turkish variation of tarator, is similar. It has a rich consistency and is also served as a meze. On the south coast of Turkey, it is served with fried squid and includes yogurt, lemon, walnut, olive oil, bread and garlic. Something similar also exists in Albania and Lebanon.

To make my Tarotor I used pistachios rather than the traditional walnuts and added pomegranate syrup to the sauce rather than tahini. I must say this dish was "a little bit of alright". I baked the salmon fillets for 20 minutes in the oven encased in parchment paper. Then it was transfered to a platter, topped with the Tarator sauce and allowed to come to room temperature. I made a kind of salad topping using pistachios, lemons, red onion, chilies, corainder, mint and powdered sumac. It was delicious if I do say so myself!!!

** Baked Salmon Tarator**

4 salmon fillets (6 oz each)
Sea salt
freshly ground white pepper
extra virgin olive oil


400g ( 1 container) natural yogurt
1 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 lemons, juiced


1/2 cup pistachios
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 or 2 lemons
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
3 long mild red chillies, seeded and finely diced
2 cups coriander leaves, chopped
½ cup mint leaves, shredded
1/4 teaspoon sumac

Preheat oven to 350F.

For Yogurt Sauce: Whip yogurt, pomegranate molasses and garlic together until it becomes a thick paste. Thin slightly with lemon juice, season with salt and refrigerate (it should be the consistency of pure cream).

Season salmon fillets with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Spread a large sheet of parchment paper (large enough to fold over the salmon) in a shallow baking tray. Wrap fillets in parchment paper , seal and place on tray. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, opening the paper to stop further cooking. Carefully transfer to a large serving plate.

Brush some of the yogurt mixture (about ½ cup) onto the flesh of the salmon to coat the top side. Reserve the remaining sauce to serve with the finished dish.

To make Topping: Roast pistachios in a preheated oven for 5 minutes. (Mine were already roasted and bought from the store). Remove from oven and chop finely. Whisk the olive oil with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add onion and chili and whisk lightly. Add coriander, mint, sumac and pistachios.

Spoon the salad onto the salmon and carefully cover the entire fish as neatly as possible. Serve at room temperature with reserved sauce.

(Salmon can be cooked up to 4 hours in advance and the salad can be composed just prior to spooning onto the salmon).

Serves 4

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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  1. I really like your entry. You thought a lot about it. I enjoyed reading about the ingredients and how you came up with the dish.
    I still think the picture is pretty good. It's small, but that is ok.

  2. Valli, Salmon sounds good right about now! With all the feasting we had, something light sounds refreshing!

  3. Val,
    That sounds pretty darned awesome!! Good luck with the joust!

  4. I love this event Emeline. I quite often am at a loss for what to make with the 3 ingredients, but, eventually do some tweaking and come up with something.
    We have had anm awful lot of heavy and sweet ffods over the holidays..time to lightne up Italian Cook!
    Thank you Dharm!

  5. I just love your recipe!!! All ingredients seem to marry so well! Plus I love salmon!
    Hope you get that wonderful apron in the Joust!


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