David Tanis writes the weekly City Kitchen column for The New York Times. His long cooking career included years at Alice Waters' Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California.
A passionate home cook, Tanis is well known for serving simple, rustic, straightforward food, family-style meals.
His acclaimed books
include A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes
, Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys
, and One Good Dish
As Tanis writes, “This is an easy but elegant cocktail snack to serve year round. Essentially, it's a large buttery cracker, garnished with smoked salmon and cut up like a pizza. The pastry rounds may be baked ahead and left at room temperature.”
“Assembling one tart at a time is the best way to keep everything looking and tasting freshly made. The recipe makes four 8-inch tarts; if you need less, consider making a half batch or freezing some of the dough for future use.”
Smoked Salmon Tart for a Crowd
By David Tanis
Time: 1 hour 30 minutes Yield: 4 tarts, each serving 2 to 4 people
2 cups/310 grams all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
4 ounces/1 stick/120 grams unsalted butter, cold and cut in half-inch chunks
2 egg yolks, beaten with enough ice water to make 1/2 cup
8 ounces/1 cup/240 milliliters crème fraîche
3 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish, or more to taste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Zest of 1 lemon
Coarsely ground black pepper
1 small sweet onion, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon snipped chives
1 teaspoon roughly chopped tarragon, or torn leaves
Make the Pastry
- Put flour, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse briefly, then add butter all at once and whir until mixture resembles wet sand.
- Add egg and continue just until dough comes together. (Alternatively, cut butter into dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix by hand.)
- Knead dough lightly on counter-top, then divide into four pieces and form each into a ball. Wrap with plastic film and flatten to 1-inch-thick disks. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Make the Horseradish Cream
- Mix together crème fraîche, horseradish, mustard and lemon zest. Season generously with salt and pepper, then keep cool. (If cream firms upon standing, beat with a fork.)
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put onion in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add olive oil and mix to coat. Roll out each piece of dough to an 8-inch-diameter circle. Place the pastry disks on parchment-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle onion slices over each round.
- Bake tart rounds for 6 to 7 minutes, until pastry is lightly browned and puffed, and onions are starting to brown. (Turn pans halfway through for even browning.) Let cool for a minute or two.
Assemble the Tart
- Put pastry on a cutting board. Cut into 6 or 8 wedges.
- Spoon some horseradish cream onto each wedge. Tear salmon slices into wide ribbons and lay them over the cream. (Use 1 ounce salmon per tart.)
- Top each wedge with a tiny spoonful of roe, if using, and sprinkle with chives and tarragon. Serve directly from the board.