Salmon Tartar with Red Onion Creme Fraiche: A Great Party Appetizer

Source: Michelle Padro March 2012

Source: Michelle Padro March 2012

This is a great little appetizer that is is easy to make. It looks very colorful–especially when garnished with black sesame seeds. It’s very tasty, and it has a creamy texture with crunch on the bottom. It’s one of my favorite party appetizers to make because it’s also easy to re-produce on a larger scale. As an added bonus, the salmon tartar can be prepared up to 12 hours before serving, if you need to spread out the labor.


Salmon Tartar

  • 4 ounce salmon filet (belly preferred), skin and bones removed
  • 3/4 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon lemon-infused olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon minced chives
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon minced shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Small pinch of white pepper

Red Onion Creme Fraiche

  • 1 tablespoon of minced red onion
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • pinch of white pepper

To Serve and Garnish

  • Black Sesame Seeds
  • Cars Water Crackers (or your favorite nut-thins gluten-free cracker)


  1. With a sharp knife, finely mince the salmon. The smaller the pieces the better.
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
  4. Place the red onions in a small strainer and rinse under cold water for several seconds and pat dry with a paper towel.
  5. In a small metal bowl, whisk the creme fraiche for 30 seconds to 1 minute. This fluffs the texture of the creme fraiche to make it lighter and airier.
  6. Fold in the onions and season to taste with the salt and white pepper. At this point, You can transfer the creme fraiche to an air tight container and store for up to 6 hours, if necessary.
  7. Assemble by spreading 1/2 teaspoon or so of the creme fraiche onto the cracker. Top with ~1/2 teaspoon of salmon tartar. Garnish the top with a few black sesame seeds. Optionally, you can also garnish with a short stem of a chive sticking from the top.

How Not to Screw It Up

  1. Use a sharp knife. I mean really sharp. The sharper the better! Even a slightly less than sharp knife is going to make battered, beaten up salmon. Yuck! Sharp. Get them sharpened if you must. Besides, the sharper the knife, the less likely you are to cut yourself with it because you have to apply inappropriate amounts of pressure to make the knife cut through food. Sharp! Really sharp!
  2. Don’t get cheap or lazy and substitute sour cream because it’s easier to find than creme fraiche. Every store has creme fraiche, take the time to study the shelves to find it, and pay the extra bit of money. Sour cream is to overpowering for the delicate salmon.
  3. Using white pepper is necessary in this dish. If you get lazy and use ground black pepper, it looks like dirt in your pristine, white creme fraiche and one your delicate salmon. Your guests will not eat dirt.