Salmon and Asparagus Kedgeree

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Spring meets India meets salmon…..meets my needs!

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A fab way to eat hot smoked salmon and asparagus with a cheeky hint of lime!

INGREDIENTS

Fine for 4 – or a good supper for 2 with a little for the next day!

  • 300g basmati rice
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp hot curry paste or curry powder will do (Madras)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 225g hot smoked salmon, cut into chunks or flaked
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 8 asparagus spears chopped in to 2 inch pieces – blanched in hot water for 5 minutes
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp each chopped fresh coriander and flatleaf parsley

METHOD

  • Pop the rice into a large heavy-based saucepan, pour over 700ml pints water and sprinkle in a good shake of salt. Cover and bring to the boil, then remove the lid and allow all the water to be absorbed – this should take about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover again and allow to steam dry.
  • Melt half the butter with the oil in a large frying pan. Stir in the curry paste or powder and cook until you start to smell the wonderful aromas.
  • Now add the onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown
  • Once the rice is cooked add the curry and onion mixture  and quickly stir to make sure all the buttery juices are absorbed and the rice is heated through. Now mix in the salmon, eggs, asparagus and lime juice.
  • Stir gently, add the herbs along with cubes of the remaining butter and serve in warm bowls.

A truly tasty and satisfying dish for a Spring weekend.

 

Salmon with asparagus in an Epoisses sauce

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What I want to prove here is how well you can pair a cheese sauce with fish. The EpoIsses sauce is lighter than the one I would normally have with meat – and the flavour really enhances the flavours of the salmon. I used 100gm of Epoisses cheese chopped up and melted slowly in a dry pan. Then sprinkle with a grind or two of black pepper, and then add 150 ml of single cream. Gently warm through – it will thicken a little but not too much.

I served it with poached salmon, asparagus and oven cubed potatoes roasted with thyme and garlic.

If you have never thought to try this – you must. Not an obvious pairing but …..IT WORKS!

Prawn, Asparagus and Hot Smoked Salmon Risotto

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POSSIBLY THE BEST RISOTTO I HAVE TASTED IN MANY A YEAR…

This was a treat to make and the result was simply stunning. My son reckons he will never eat any other risotto now and my daughter wants this dish as a regular on the menu roster. It went down well!

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For 4

50g butter
1 white onion finely chopped
500gm risotto rice
125ml white wine
1 1/2 litre hot vegetable stock 
 240g cooked prawns  
150g hot-smoked salmon fillets
100g fresh asparagus tips, blanched briefly in boiling water
Freshly ground black pepper

Lemon wedges to serve

Method

Melt the butter in a thick-based pan and gently cook the onion without colour until it is soft.
Add the rice and stir to coat all the grains in the butter.
Add the wine and cook gently stirring until it is absorbed. This takes about 5 minutes roughly.
Gradually add the hot stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring until each addition is absorbed. Keep stirring until the rice is tender. This process will take about half an hour, so put some good music on – maybe some Chet Baker – and get into a comfortable standing or seated position near the cooker!

Flake the salmon and gently fold into the risotto with the prawns and asparagus – this will be right near the end when the rice still has a little bite to it.
Add a grind or two of black pepper. No need for salt – the stock and salmon provide that to this dish,

Stir gently to heat through. Serve with lemon wedges.

Of all the dishes I have put on here in the last two years this is certainly one of my real favourites.

Please, please give it a go!

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Duck à l’epoisses

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Duck à l'epoisses

Last night’s supper – I have to say – and I know perhaps I shouldn’t – was… magnificent. I love my food – but like all cooks I can be quite overly critical at times – but last night – everything tasted spot on and turned out just as I had imagined – just how I wished.

I wanted to mix a few of my favourite flavours from other dishes and see how they worked.

I had two wonderful duck breasts – plenty for this dish for 4. I scored them 4 or 5 times on the diagonal and rubbed the skin with sea salt and black pepper.

Next into my lightly oiled griddle pan on a hot heat for 2 minutes then down to a medium heat for 4 more minutes.

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Then I flipped them gently over for 30 seconds before popping them in a preheated oven at 200c for 15 minutes. This is the great thing about the griddle pan because you can just out it straight from the hob into the oven. They came out perfectly cooked for us – medium. Adjust either side for rare or well done – but please don’t do them well done! Pop them onto a board and let them rest for a minute then slice them – each person got around 3 or 4 slices which was just right for a supper.

I served them on a half of toasted and olive oiled French bread – you could use ciabatta or focaccia. I have a glut of asparagus at present so I cooked them gently for 4 minutes tip al dente and arranged 4 spears on each plate alongside with a mix leaf salad of beet and lamb’s lettuce leaves with 25gm of pomegranate seeds on each and a swirl of crema al limone balsamic.

The best part was adding an epoisses sauce – a half round of this sublime cheese gently melted in 100 ml of double cream. Add a little black pepper half way through.

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Drizzle over the asparagus and the duck and serve.

Nothing complicated here – just great flavours from good quality simple foods.

They all got on well and the result was mouth wateringly fine – one of those meals I did not want to end!

Spring Thyme Lemon Chicken Thighs in Prosciutto

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Spring Thyme Lemon Chicken Thighs in Prosciutto

This was a delightfully easy supper and full of spring flavours. I wanted to keep the flavours simple and fresh. I chose boneless skinless chicken thighs which I marinated in a little olive oil, zest of a lemon and lots of thyme. I brought the oven to 180c. The thighs were each then wrapped cosily in a prosciutto slice – though you could of course use serrano ham or parma at a pinch. I skewered each with a cocktail stick to hold the shape whilst they cooked. Remove when they are cooked. I sat them in a roasting tray with a further light drizzle of oil on the pan bottom.

They took around 40 minutes. The flavours simply burst forth in every mouthful – and the ham was lightly crispy, yet succulent. I served these with Venezia new potatoes and the asparagus recipe from the previous post – only I served the green spears cooled rather than cold. The vinaigrette went soooo well with the chicken!

I hope you try this some time soon – and of course it is one that can be tinkered with – you could wrap basil leaves around the chicken rather than thyme and then wrap the ham round. Or you could indsert slithers of garlic into the chicken first and even some red chill finely sliced, then pop the ham around. Experiment!

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Asparagus with Parsley Vinaigrette

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Asparagus with Parsley Vinaigrette

This is a new painting by Bonnie Lalley  (blalley.wordpress.com) and it reminded me instantly of a wonderful Spring starter that I came across in Daniel Galmiche’s excellent tome, ‘The French Brasserie Cookbook.’ Asparagus is without doubt one of my very favourite veg. Asparagus is a curious plant – from the lily family – and it has almost no leaves. Most unusual. The name itself can be traced back to a Persian word asparag, meaning a sprout. The word ‘sperage‘ was in use in the 16th and 17th centuries, but was displaced by ‘sparagus‘ and by the rather cute name of ‘sparrow grass.’ Pliny the Elder described asparagus spears grown at Ravenna in heavily manured soil as being ‘three to the pound’. rather larger clearly than modern asparagus! It had surfaced in France by 1470 and England by 1538. It was not grown in America on a large scale until the latter half of the 19th century.

It is expensive in the main due to the odd way it is grown. For the first two years after sowing it is unproductive. In the third year the shoots are thick enough to be marketed and the bed will continue to yield good specimens for 2 or 3 seasons. At any given time, a grower has half his or her land in an unproductive state. The French, Belgians and Germans tend to prefer their asparagus white. In this case the beds are earthed up to keep the shoots from going green. I like both but prefer, I have to say, the green variety.

Steamed and served al dente with a swirl of olive oil and a swoosh of lemon juice, it is possibly one of the most tactile and vibrant of starters.

This dish, however, sees the asparagus served cold. It is very, very tasty and fills you with a sense, like Bonnie’s painting, that Miss Spring cannot be far away – possibly hiding in the barn or chasing foxes through the woods. This dish will hurry her up for sure.

Asperges à la vinaigrette persil

500 gm asparagus, woody ends cut off and discarded
1 tsp of sea salt

For the vinaigrette:

2 tbsp of white wine vinegar
1 room temperature egg
2 tsp of Dijon mustard
100 ml of sunflower or olive oil
Small handful of chopped parsley
Sea salt and black pepper

Bring a small pan of water to the boil. Add a dash of vinegar. Lower the egg gently into the water to avoid cracking. Cook for 8-9 minutes. Drain and place under cold running water. When cool, peel and chop roughly.

Into a medium sized pan of boiling and salted water, place the bunch of asparagus tied loosely with string,, tips all facing the same way. Cook on a gentle simmer for 6-10 minutes – you want to keep a ‘bite’ to them.

Meanwhile, prepare a bowl of ice cold water and set aside. Put the mustard and vinegar in a bowl , season and mix well. Slowly whisk in the oil, then stir in the chopped egg and parsley.

Once the asparagus is cooked, remove the bundle and plunge it into the ice cold water bowl. Drain it, untie and arrange on a flat dish.

A stunningly simple starter, or snack. Great to eat with friends…. and with your fingers! I am eating it tonight…I cannot wait!

Right, just off to pour a sharp glass of Verdicchio…and maybe one for Miss Spring!

Hasta Pasta…

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Hasta Pasta...

Supper last night was a ‘what’s in the fridge ‘supper. And what was lurking in the fridge was one of my favourite veg – asparagus. So, into the pan went two slices of smoked bacon, chopped, then after a minute I added one clove of garlic finely chopped, one red chilli chopped. I steamed the asparagus then cut it into 5 cm pieces and added it to the other ingredients. A little drizzle of olive oil before serving on a bowl of pasta with lots of good parmesan grated over. I was stuck for a name for this dish – asparagus looks like a spear – I remembered the Latin for spear was hasta..so Hasta Pasta it is!!