Now that we’re leaving winter behind to slowly enjoy warmer temperatures, it’s the perfect time to cook those recipes combining both warm and cold ingredients. This one today is a very delicious and simple recipe that you can serve both as a starter or completely cold as a tapa.
There are two basic ideas to follow as part of this recipe: flavour contrast and texture.
In terms of flavour, the aim is to achieve a well-balanced sweet and sour contrast that becomes interesting, surprising and fun to the palate. That’s why for this tomato tartare we’ll be using sweeter varieties of tomatoes and also a bit of balsamic vinegar, which will contrast very well with our pickled ingredients. We also love a bit of a spicy kick at the back of our throat. Not too much but enough to keep the senses entertained. For that, the jalapeños will just be perfect.
Texture wise, the idea is to replicate the feel of a salmon or tuna tartare as much as possible. Only that we won’t be using any fish in here, so we need to be smart about achieving the same kind of texture and why not, the same kind of look too. Choice of tomatoes will come handy here, as baked kumatoes have a similar colour to row tuna. Again, tricking the eye slightly will add up to the playfulness of the dish. And hey!, we’re doing tapas here so it shouldn’t be serious but fun!
- 2 units Mackerel Medium-sized
- 4 units Kumato Alternatively you can use any other good-quality ripe salad tomato
- 8 units Cherry tomato
- 18 units Green pitted olives Alternatively use anchovy-stuffed olives
- 2 units Jalapeño
- 1/2 unit Cucumber Big-sized
- 30 g Capers
- 6 units Spring onion
- 1/2 unit Lime
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
- Ground black pepper
- White sugar
- Fresh thyme
- Pre-heat the oven at 120ºC.
- Peel and seed the tomatoes. Half them and leave them in a strainer for 5 minutes so that they lose as much water as possible. This will avoid the end-product becoming too watery, which is key to achieving the correct tartare texture.
- Lie them down on a oven dish, sprinkling some olive oil, salt, sugar and fresh thyme leaves over them. Bake them for around 45 minutes.
- In the meantime chop the cherry tomatoes and heat them at a low temperature in a pan with olive oil, being careful not to burn them and only until they start releasing an intense sweet aroma (2-3 minutes max).
- Get the tomatoes out of the oven and chop them once they're cold.
- Fine chop the olives, the capers, the jalapeños and the spring onions.
- Peel the cucumber and with the help of a peeler, make 4 long cucumber ribbons. Save them aside for later. Fine chop the rest of the cucumber and mix it in a big bowl with all the rest of the chopped ingredients.
- Squeeze the juice of half a lime inside the bowl. Add a teaspoon of a good-quality balsamic vinegar, 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper to your taste. Mix all the ingredients carefully and leave them to marinate for 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, fillet the mackerels, cutting each of the fillets in two similar halves. Sprinkle some salt over them and in a pan with olive oil, pan-fried them, skin-side up for a couple of minutes. Take them out of the pan straight into some paper kitchen towels to absorb any excess of oil.
- With the help of a ring, we plate the tartare first. Before removing the ring, we lie one or two cucumber ribbons (depending on size) over the tartare. This will help providing the mackerel fillets with some support so that the tartare doesn't put on with all the pressure and disintegrate. Finally, we lift the ring up and lie two halves of the mackerel fillet over the tartare. And we're done!