Horseradish crusted salmon with herby crushed new potato salad

July 03, 2013

The fish counter at the local market to us in Providence is incredible, the variety, quality and size (as with most things in America!) is outstanding.

I’m desperate to start experimenting with cooking live lobster and sampling some of the local clams and seafood but the plump, pink salmon caught my eye on this trip and I just couldn’t resist.

Ingredients: To serve two people

For the salmon-

1 portion of salmon fillet per person- the size of which depends on personal preference, the ones I was presented with when asking the fishmonger for an individual portion we’re huge as you can see! Also ask the fishmonger to skin the fish unless you’re happy to do it yourself.

2 teaspoons of creamed horseradish

3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper

Spray olive oil

For the herby potato salad-

10 new potatoes

1 tablespoon of butter

4 heaped tablespoons of sour cream

1 handful sized bunch of fresh dill

½ handful sized bunch fresh parsley

10 spring onions/scallions

Salt and pepper

Start by getting the new potatoes on to boil, chop each potato in half and tumble into salted water. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down to simmer- leave them to cook whilst you prepare the salmon.

If your fishmonger has not skinned your fish or you’ve bought pre-packed skin on fillets you need to take this off. Place the fish on a steady board skin side down, using a very sharp (non-serrated) knife stroke the fillet very gentle with the blade where the flesh meets the skin on one side. When there is enough skin separated from the fillet for you to grasp a good hold of it (about half an inch) hold the skin very firmly and continue to stroke the knife between the flesh and skin using the skin to guide your knife. As long as you hold the knife blade flat against the skin you will not lose any flesh of the fillet- the skin is quite tough so use it as a guide for the knife until you reach the end.

When you have your skinless fillets, cover the skinned side with a teaspoon of horseradish, but just on this skinned top side. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs onto a plate and season them well, then lay the fillets of salmon, horseradish side down, into the breadcrumbs and gentle pat them into the crumbs to ensure they stick. Lift and replace the fillet a few times to ensure it’s well covered with the breadcrumbs. Spray a little oil over the breadcrumbs (it’s easier to use a spray than a drizzle of a bottle as it gives a very light coating) this will ensure the fillets have a lovely golden crumb when baked. Place the fillets onto a non-stick baking tray or one lined with baking paper pop into a preheated oven at 180c for about 15 minutes for a regular sized portion of salmon- less for a smaller size or a little longer for the mammoth American sized fillets I used.

Check the potatoes by skewering them with a fork, they need to be yielding but not completely soft as you would cook them for mashed potato. When they are soft enough for a fork to stab them but still firm, remove them from the heat and drain. Let them steam in the colander whilst you chop the herbs.

Finley chop the dill and parley and finely slice the spring onions up to where the leaves turn dark green and dry- discard these top parts. Tumble the cooked potatoes into a large mixing bowl with the butter, use a fork to crush but not mash the potatoes, you want a consistency that is lumpy and uneven with some whole chunks of potato and some smooth mash. Dollop in the sour cream and sprinkle over the herbs then mix well, taste and season.

You can check the fish is cooked by using a dinner knife to cut into the thickest part of the fillet, if the flesh flakes and is a light opaque pink then it is done. Be careful not to overcook the fish though, as soon as it is pale pink and not translucent it is ready.

To serve, pile a portion of the potato salad onto a plate then place the salmon on top, aside from looking nice this means the juice form the salmon runs into the salad and warms it with its heat making the flavours of the herbs really come alive.

This goes down particularly well with a really crisp white wine on a sunny summer’s evening!


Bacon and mushroom pate with tomato chutney

July 01, 2013

With it being really hot and muggy here in Rhode Island at the moment I’m mainly preparing and eating cold meals. That being said I have also been having a bit of a craving for a good old bacon sandwich with some proper ketchup- not the acidic cheap watery stuff that seems to be everywhere. So this is my nod to the great bacon sarnie in a hot and humid weather friendly form.

This recipe made one small terrine that would have served two people for a lunch or four people for a starter.


For the pate-

8 oz white mushrooms

2 tablespoons butter

1 clove garlic

12 oz streaky bacon plus extra rashers to wrap the terrine- how many will depend on how large your terrine is and what shape it is

½ cup double/heavy cream

2 egg yolks

Salt and pepper

For the chutney-

4 plum tomatoes

½ cup jam sugar

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper


Finely chop the mushrooms and garlic and fry them in the butter until soft. This might seem like a huge amount of butter but if you think it’s going to be split amongst a few portions it’s not so bad- I also find that when I use this pate I don’t need extra butter, I just spread it straight onto toast or bread.

Whilst the mushrooms fry, slice away any rind that’s it on your bacon, keep all the soft white fat on it, this will keep the pate moist and spreadable.  Do not cook the bacon!!!

Pour out the cooked mushrooms onto a large plate and spread then out to cool, pop them in the fridge to cook them faster.

Once the mushrooms are cool, add the raw bacon, cream, egg yolks and salt and pepper then blend into a thick paste. To check the seasoning take a small teaspoon amount of the mixture and fry it until cooked, this will not be the texture of your finished pate but it will give you and preview of the flavour so you can adjust the seasoning.

Once you are happy with your seasoning, line the dish you wish to cook the pate in, I used a large round ramekin for the size of pate I was making but if I were to make a larger pate I would probably use a terrine dish or ‘loaf’ shape dish so I could cut it into slices to serve.

Line the dish with the bacon you have kept aside, how you do this is really up to you but make sure you either leave the end of the bacon stripe hanging over the sides so you can fold them over the top of the pate or save a couple of strips to cover it. Spoon in the pate to the dish, smooth it down with the back of a spoon and gentle bang the dish against the counter to push any large air bubbles to the surface. Fold over to place more bacon over the exposed top of the pate then bake in the over at 180c in a bain-marie for about 45 minutes- longer if you pate is larger than the one I have made here.

To make a bain-marie simple put your pate dish into a large baking tray with high side and fill with warm water so that it reaches about halfway up the side of your pate dish.

To check if the pate is cooked through, insert a skewer or knife to the centre of the pate and if it comes away clean then it is cooked. The pate won’t be ready for another couple of hours as it needs to be pressed and cool fully before the texture is as it should be.

Cover the pate with something flat that fits the pate dish well, a plate if you have made a round pate or if you can’t find anything suitable then cut out a sheet of thick card and cover it well in foil. Cover the pate with your ‘press’ and place heavy objects on top evenly to spread the weight, cans and tins work best. Place the weighted pate in the fridge to completely cool, its best left over night.

If you try and eat it before it’s completely chilled the texture will feel grainy and it won’t spread well the flavour will not be as it should either.

To make the chutney, quarter and deseed the tomatoes before cutting into large chunks. Place in a saucepan on a medium high heat and add the vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring the pan to the boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved then turn down the heat and allow to simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until the tomatoes have broken down and the texture is of a thick, shiny paste with a few tomato lumps in it.

Pour the chutney into a clean glass jar and secure the lid whilst the mixture is still hot, then set aside to cool. The chutney will keep is unopened for a couple of weeks, once opened keep in the fridge and use within 5 days.

To serve, removed the bacon covered pated from its terrine dish only when it is completely cooled and set. Heat a large, dry frying pan to a high heat and sear the bacon wrapping of the terrine so that it is crisp, you want the pan to be incredibly hot as you don’t want the pate to be in the pan long enough for the pate centre to heat up- just to crisp the wrapping.

I serve my pate with toast (marbled rye in my case) and the tomato chutney- you won’t need butter on your toast as the bacon fat, cream and butter in the pate means it is beautifully smooth and moist.