Salmon Tartare with Fried Quail Egg

Gavin Stephenson

Four Seasons, Olympic Hotel, Seattle, WA

When assembled with the precision Stephenson used at the Beard House, this tasty hors d’oeuvre is a stunner. The pink hue of the perfectly molded salmon tartare atop a lightly toasted baguette contrasts beautifully with the bright yellow yolk of the quail egg. The good news is that even if it’s a bit less than perfect in the presentation department, the tartare still tastes really good. Use the freshest fish available and assemble as close to serving time as possible.


  • 1/2 pound fresh salmon
  • 1/2 pound good-quality smoked salmon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped and rinsed capers
  • 1 tablespoon finely diced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 24 slices baguette, about 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 24 quail eggs


Using a very sharp knife, finely chop the fresh and smoked salmon. Place the salmon, parsley, capers, onion, mustard, Tabasco, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl and combine thoroughly. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Toast the baguette slices in the oven until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes per side. Butter each baguette slice and, using a 1-inch round cookie cutter or mold, trim each slice. Using the same mold, top the baguette round with a spoonful of the salmon tartare.

Gently fry the quail eggs sunny-side-up in a nonstick skillet several at a time, seasoning with pepper only. Remove the eggs to a plate and, using the same round cutter, trim the eggs around the yolks. Top the salmon with the quail egg. Serve immediately.


24 hors d’oeuvre