And now for my other daughter’s favorite recipe…

Posted By Astrid on May 27, 2014 in Appetizers, Blog, Main Dishes, Pies & Tarts, Seafood | 0 comments

…at least, the recipe that was assigned to her in my Middle-earth cookbook. Callista originally wanted a particular lemon cake assigned as her favorite, but my late mother ended up with it. These rich little salmon treats are a close second, however. I’m sharing these in honor of her birthday month, the merry month of May.

Before I revised my cookbook, I had a chapter called “Tea-Time.” In The Hobbit, the dwarves invade Bilbo Baggins‘s home and they insist he feed them all the treats in his multiple pantries, both sweet and savory. After the revision, these recipes were assigned to different chapters. I was also making a sort of parody in the chapter, implying that these rather coarse dwarves would be happy to sit down and eat diminutive delicacies and drink tea out of good china cups with lovely floral decorations. If you’ve seen the current film versions of The Hobbit, you’ll see that mugs of beer and large haunches of roasted meats are more up their alley.

In Albuquerque, we have a fabulous restaurant that serves a high tea, the St. James Tearoom. It is the sort of place where you dress up (even in Albuquerque!) and drink so much tea with lump sugar, you feel you’ll float away. You receive a three-tiered dish filled with tiny goodies that are more substantial than you might think. For two hours, you can sit in one of their quaint parlors, sipping and eating, chatting about all sorts of topics. Cellphones are discouraged, and really, if you make the effort to go to high tea, why are you gazing at a screen?

Callista loves this place and I don’t blame her. Her boyfriend also appreciates it, but I doubt my husband would—ideally, it should be a leisurely dining experience filled with conversation. They change their theme and menu monthly. Last month, they ran a Titanic theme; in the past, they’ve featured Jane Austen, Dickens, Pirates (!?), Narnia, and yes, even Middle-earth. They have a small shop in the front, where you can purchase beautiful tea sets, teas, books, and some lovely pieces of jewelry.

Callista and I highly recommend a visit for any special occasion. Or simply visit their website above; it’s rather idyllic.

But let’s say you’d like to have a tea party at home. You can serve these as a savory option for a substantial tea; make your life simple and just buy some cookies to go with them. Or serve these with some salad or soup as an entrée.

Callista’s Salmon Tartlets

Callista's Salmon Tartlets

  • ¼ cup dry white wine, such as Chardonnay
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon plus ¼ teaspoon Savory Seasoning
  • 6 ounces boneless, skinless salmon fillet
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dry dill or 1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
  • ½ cup soft salted butter
  • ¼ cup 1% milk
  • 3 ounces light cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Dill Mayonnaise, recipe below

In a small skillet, combine the wine, lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon Savory Seasoning.  Place salmon in pan.  Bring to a boil, then simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes.  Turn salmon over, and simmer another 5 minutes, or until the fish is fully cooked yet still moist in the center.  Turn off heat and leave the salmon in the pan.

Preheat oven to 350°.  Liberally coat 2 miniature muffin pans with cooking spray.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, dill, butter, and milk with a hand mixer on low speed until fully combined.  Knead a few times on a lightly floured surface.  Divide dough into 24 balls and place one in each cup.  Use floured fingers to press dough all the way up the sides.  Bake at 350° for 10 minutes.  Remove and maintain oven temperature.  Use a shot glass or a rounded spoon to press the dough down.

Meanwhile, in the same bowl (you don’t have to wash the bowl or the beaters) beat the cream cheese until smooth then beat in the egg, cream, and ¼ teaspoon Savory Seasoning until fully mixed.  Fill each cup equally with cream cheese mixture (approximately 1½ teaspoons in each cup).  Using a fork, flake the salmon into 24 mostly equal portions and place one in each cup on top of the cheese.  Bake 20 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes.  Use a sharp knife around the edges to ease removal from pans.  Top each with a scant teaspoon of Dill Mayonnaise.  Cover and refrigerate leftovers.  Makes 24.

Dill Mayonnaise:

  • ½ cup good-quality mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon dry dill or 1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon Savory Seasoning

Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate leftovers.  Makes ½ cup.

Vegetarian Option—Replace the salmon with 1½ cups of fresh asparagus, sliced into ¼” bits.  Simmer asparagus for only 3 minutes.  Set aside to drain well as you prepare everything else and follow all other directions, placing about a teaspoon of asparagus in each cup.

green chile icon A tablespoon of well drained green chile in the egg mixture would be good—either with the salmon or with the vegetarian option.


Check out their Blog: The St. James Tearoom

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