Salmon and dill tartlets

Salmon and dill tartlets


3 people made this

About this recipe: Individual tartlets served with a salad garnish make a very appealing starter. This fish filling is wonderfully light as it's made with a cornflour-thickened sauce, without the addition of fat, and whisked egg whites are folded in for an airy souffle-like texture. Serve straight from the oven to really impress.

Norma MacMillan

Serves: 6 

  • Shortcrust pastry
  • 115 g (4 oz) plain flour
  • 55 g (2 oz) cool butter, diced
  • Salmon filling
  • 25 g (scant 1 oz) cornflour
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 can skinless, boneless pink salmon, about 180 g, drained and flaked
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • salt and pepper
  • To serve
  • 150 g (5½ oz) mixed salad leaves, such as frisée and rocket
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips

Prep:1hr10min  ›  Cook:15min  ›  Ready in:1hr25min 

  1. To make the pastry, sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp cold water and mix with a round-bladed knife to form a dough. Gather the dough into a smooth ball, then wrap in greaseproof paper or cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, start preparing the filling.
  2. Blend the cornflour with 2 tbsp of the milk to make a smooth paste. Heat the remaining milk in a saucepan to boiling point. Pour a little of the hot milk into the cornflour mixture, stirring. Return this to the milk in the saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring until the sauce thickens, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 2 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the salmon, dill, chives, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the egg yolks. Set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6). Cut the pastry dough into 6 pieces. Roll out each thinly and use to line 6 individual, loose-bottomed, non-stick tartlet tins 9 cm (3 1/2 in) in diameter and 2.5 cm (1 in) deep.
  5. Prick the tartlet cases, then place on a baking sheet. Bake ‘blind’ for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and beans, and bake for a further 5 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool, then carefully remove the tartlet cases from the tins and set them back on the baking sheet.
  6. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold into the salmon mixture. Pile the mixture into the tartlet cases and bake for 15 minutes or until well risen and golden. Serve immediately on individual plates, garnished with the salad leaves and strips of pepper.

Plus points

Like other oily fish, salmon is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to protect against heart disease and strokes. * The thick sauce (panada) used as the base for the souffl filling is thickened with cornflour rather than the classic butter and flour roux, and so is much lower in fat. * Dill has been used for its soothing and sedative properties since Egyptian times. It became known in America as ‘meeting house seeds’, as dill seeds were chewed by early settlers to prevent tummy rumbles when sermons went on too long.

Some more ideas

Instead of salmon, use canned tuna in spring water, well drained. * Serve the tartlets cold. They will not have a soufflé appearance, but will still be delicious. * For souffléd spinach and Pamesan tartlets, cook 125 g (4½ oz) frozen spinach over a low heat for 2 minutes or until thawed. Squeeze out excess moisture, then add to the sauce together with ½ tsp grated nutmeg; omit the salmon, dill and chives. Mix in the egg yolks and 30 g (1 oz) freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Fold in the egg whites, then bake as in the main recipe. Serve garnished with salad leaves, cherry tomatoes and spring onions.

Each serving provides

A, B12, C * E, niacin, calcium, selenium, zinc

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