It's no secret, I love to entertain. For me, it's a wonderful way to gather the friends and family we love. Share food and drink, love and laughter. When it comes to what to serve, of course, some of my old standby recipes appear. Why not, they were good the first time and even the second. But admittedly, I try to be adventurous and use these entertaining moments to test out new ideas on my guests. Fortunately for me, I have a group that is always willing to be just as adventurous in trying and reviewing my creations.
In a couple of weeks JC and I will be hosting a small gathering and I've been pondering what to make. Since many of these guests have dined with us before I certainly want to offer up some fresh new nibbles. And I mean just that; nibbles, since I have decided that this event will be a cocktail/tapas style only. No formal sit down or particular time to eat. Just food coming out as it is ready. This way we can cook, eat, entertain, cook, entertain, eat again. It also allows for a very informal, free flowing party. With this style of eating in mind, I want to have finger food or small items that are easy to pick up, put on a plate and mingle around. I also thought this type of dish could be a useful one as we all are searching for easy ways to entertain during the holidays.
So, as I was sitting quietly one morning several ideas came my way. (I promise I will post the other ideas very soon.) Normally, I don't test my ideas first. I just make them and see what happens. But since my sister and niece were here with us for dinner it seemed like a great opportunity. My first set of guinea pigs!
So here's the rundown for my test run of seared salmon bites with my own homemade relish concoction for dipping.
Salmon Filet (the amount will depend on the size of your crowd. For this test run I made 1.25 lbs of salmon which would have been enough to serve as an appetizer for 8-10 people with other offerings.)
1 c Greek Yogurt
2 T Dill Pickles, small dice
2 T Cornichon*, small dice
1.5 T Shallot, mince
2 T Chives, finely chopped
2 T Scallion, thin slices
4 T Cucumber, small dice
1 T Lemon Juice
1/2 t Course Salt
*Cornichon (French, meaning little horn) is a small pickled cucumber.
Cut the salmon into bite size squares, trying to make them as similar as possible. Salt and pepper them and place them skin side down in a smoking hot cast iron skillet with a touch of oil (the fish will release plenty of their natural oils so you don't need much to get started). Do not over crowd the pan.
These will only need 2 minutes or so on each side. Let them get a nice crust. Remove from the pan and place a on paper towel to soak up some of the oil. Continue cooking all your pieces. These can be made ahead of time and either lightly warmed up before serving or served at room temperature.
For the relish, this is as easy as mince 'em up and stir 'em up. Cut all the ingredients into small pieces.
Then with love, stir them into the creamy yogurt adding course salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Plate them up and watch them fly off.
Post note: This really does work well as a make ahead dish. I served it on the same night I made it and then again the next night. I warmed the salmon in the low heat oven, and the relish got even better as all the flavors got super cozy with one another. Be aware that when searing salmon open the windows and put the stove fan on high, as the smell does permeate the house.