Thursday, 6 March 2014

Salmon Three Ways

Cured, smoked, poached, raw, fried to a rosy pink with crispy crackling skin - everybody loves some form of salmon.  I know of fish haters that can tolerate it and vegetarians that break the rules every now and then with it.

As a child I had only ever had salmon in thee ways: baked with a squeeze of lemon at the end, cooked in a tomato sauce, and salmon nigiri sushi. Smoked salmon was disgusting and I was never exposed to anything else.

Here it's smoked pâté on toasted bread, smoked salmon cucumber rolls and miso salmon en croute.  
Last night I went to a friend's house for dinner and she made these salmon yorkshire pudding-like things.  Absolutely delightful, they were so soft and tender with the taste of salmon flowing through them, just delicious.  I love being invited to dinner because, and it may come as a surprise, I love being cooked for.  I think it's one of the nicest gestures in the world, and I'm always so flattered whenever someone invites me to their home for a meal.  Usually it's me cooking or we dine out or it's a potluck but whenever someone makes the effort to cook a whole meal for me, I feel incredibly happy and honored.

And her delightful Yorkshire puddings gave me so much inspiration.  Back to these:  they're all simple to make, I was happy about the salmon en croute in particular.  However, now that I think back to it I would have done it slightly differently.  Salmon three ways means I probably shouldn't have used smoked salmon in two of the ways.  There was cooked salmon in the phyllo pockets, then the other two were just smoked salmon with similar flavor accompaniments.  Either all three smoked salmon or all three completely different.  I probably should've changed the salmon pâté to a salmon tartare, then you really have salmon three ways: smoked, cooked and raw. 

Also, the plating: there should've been something else on the plate, like a sauce.  Maybe a lemon and creme fraiche sauce spread on the plate in the middle, or dollops of it somewhere, see the plate's just a bit empty. 
 Well, you don't have to serve them together, they can all be individual little canapes.  Or if you do want to do a three way thing, please listen to my suggestion of a salmon tartare.  Or sashimi: have the tiniest dollop of wasabi and a thin slice of pickled ginger on top a thick slice of fresh raw salmon and a drizzle of soy sauce. Or you can make a salmon pâté with hot smoked salmon instead.  Or smoked salmon three ways like I previously suggested, keep the rolls, the pâté on bread and then make a mini yorkshire pudding with pieces of smoked salmon in the batter (inspiration from Izzie, the lovely host from last night).  Or you can have just normal cooked salmon three ways: keep the mini en croute, then you can have a pâté with cooked salmon, then you can have a piece of salmon simply cooked on the stove with a sauce over it. 

makes 10 of each

Smoked salmon cucumber roll-ups 
Adapated from UndomestiKATEd
100g smoked salmon
1-2 cucumbers
10 small gherkins
3 tbsp creme fraiche
50g feta cheese
2 lemons
small bunch dill

Cut the cucumbers in half and either slice it lengthwise with a mandolin or use a peeler (you may not be able to use the middle bits if you use a peeler because then the seeds turn into mush). 

Slice the smoked salmon into 10 equal pieces.  Mix the creme fraiche with the crumbled feta cheese.  Cut the lemons lengthwise into 10 wedge. 

Now you can make an assembly line: lay the strips of cucumber all out, and at the end of the strip, place a slice of smoked salmon, a bit of the creme fraiche & feta mixture, one gherkin and a bit of dill.  Roll it up to encase everything.  Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a lemon wedge. 

Smoked Salmon Mousse
100g smoked salmon
100g cream cheese
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
small bunch of dill, roughly chopped
freshly ground pepper

Put everything in a blender and pulse until you reach your desired consistency.  Spread on top of toasted bread and give it some more black pepper and top with some dill.

Miso Salmon En Croute
4 sheets of phyllo pastry
200g fresh salmon
3 tbsp miso paste
2 tbsp mirin
1/2 tbsp brown sugar

Mix the miso paste, mirin and brown sugar together in a bowl.  Cut the salmon into 1 inch cubes and put them in the marinade, and toss to make sure it's all covered.  Cover with cling film and leave for 30 minutes to over night.

Preheat the oven to 180C. 

Grease a mini muffin tin

Place a phyllo sheet on top of a dry surface.  Brush the sheet with butter, do so delicately or else it will rip.  Place another sheet on top and brush with butter.  Repeat until you have a stack of three sheets, and there's no need to butter the top sheet.  Cut the dough into eight rectangles (one cut lengthwise, then four widthwise). Press the rectangles into the muffin tins. 

Take the salmon cubes, make sure you don't have it dripping in marinade, so just dry it a bit, and place one cube into each muffin tin on top of the phyllo and press down lightly.  Pinch the top together so they form little pockets. 

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden. 


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