Chef Thomas Lemaire is a French chef and owner of Table & Partage restaurant in Lyon._ He shares with The Kitchen a beloved French dish,_ smoked salmon tart with herbs, complemented by an easy beet sauce.
When I started cooking at the age of 15, it was because my mother didn't know how to cook, and I wanted to learn how to make good things at home. Today, 25 years later, I like to make recipes in my restaurant that work, that speak to people, and that everyone appreciates.
Smoked salmon tart with fresh herbs and beet sauce (pictured above)
Cooking time: 1 hour
I'll say this before we start: Industrial pie/tart doughs are nothing like something homemade, so I never buy ready to bake tart crusts. However, if I had to recommend something, I would say to make sure to get something that's pure butter, no palm oil, and preferably organic. For those who wish to adventure in the preparation, instructions are below.
For the tart crust:
- 250g of flour
- 125g of butter
- 1 egg
For the tart filling:
- 8 slices of smoked salmon
- 250 g Philadelphia-type cream cheese
- 40 g chopped fresh herbs (chives, chervil, coriander, tarragon)
- 20 g olive oil
- Fine salt and Espelette pepper
- Sliced beets
- Lemon zest
- Fresh herbs
- 1 cooked beetroot and olive oil (for decoration).
Method for the tart base
- Mix the flour and the butter with a pinch of salt until you get a sand-like aspect. Now add an egg to bind it all together, then a tablespoon of water if the final aspect seems a bit dry. You can add more water if needed. Leave the dough to rest for 30 min in the fridge before rolling it out.
- Before baking, consider this is a blind pastry base, meaning we're baking without the filling. Blind baking is necessary when using an unbaked filling, like the salmon in this recipe. Blind baking a pie/tart has a little trick to prevent the dough from puffing during cooking. The best is to have individual moulds, whatever the shape.
- Lay down the dough in the previously buttered and floured mould (or moulds) to set the bottom of your tart. Then place parchment paper above the bottom of the tart, and top it with baking ceramic balls, or any legumes (like chickpeas) to make weight on top of the though and prevent it from puffing during cooking (as explained above). Then bake at 170°C for 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the tart shell, until the crust is cooked. This also works with one large mould.
- Let the crust rest.
Method for the filling of the tart
- Chopp your herbs. Mix the cream cheese with the chopped herbs (leaving some aside for decoration), add olive oil, salt and Espelette pepper.
- Slice your cooked beet thinly, and peel a lemon, delicately.
Now assemble the tart
- Once the tart crust is cold, garnish it with the cream cheese mixture. Slice the tart into parts (if you used a big mould), then top with the thin slices of smoked salmon, cooked beet, herbs and lemon peel. Set aside in the refrigerator.
- In a blender, blend a cooked beet with a little olive oil to make the beet coulis. Arrange harmoniously as shown in the photo.
Pair it with: Viré-Clessé, Domaine Michel « Tradition » 2020.
Why fresh herbs?
Adding fresh herbs or seasoning to the beet is a bonus. Everything is always better with a few herbs. Herbs are an important part of the history of French gastronomy. There are 5 of them: chervil, tarragon, chives, parsley and dill and they were popularised by the famous omelette aux fines herbes.
Here's Chef Lemaire's recipe for smoked salmon tart with fresh herbs and beet sauce in his own hand:
About the chef
Lemaire is a former cooking teacher at the prestigious culinary school Institut Paul Bocuse, but his restaurant is far from conceptual cuisine and his credo simple. He looks to please his customers with recipes that speak to people, without seeking to be complicated.
"Sometimes you don't have to go any further for people to appreciate what they have on their plate. That's what I told myself at the beginning of my career when I started cooking for my family," he says,