Wednesday, 18 February 2015


My husband and I have a couple of friends who are both pescaterian so every time we invite them over, I try to come up with some new fish or seafood recipes.

As our paths and our circle of friends do not cross over the Christmas/New Year activities, we invited them over before the festive season started, to mark the end of the year and to wish each other all the best for the year ahead and I wanted to create the menu that would match the occasion, so I wanted my dinner to be festive with a slight touch of decadence.

At last I settled for the menu that I describe as “Frutti di Mare” which literally means Fruits of the Sea

smocked salmon mousse

Hors-d'oeuvre: Mini vol au vents filled with tea smoked salmon pate
 Entree: Sesame seeds crusted crab cakes served with sweet chili sauce
 Main Course:Roast barramundi with a medley of seasonable vegetables
Orange and red onion salad
Dessert: Chocolate semifreddo with pistachio nuts

Tea smoked salmon mousse
You need (for 8 people):
16 small size vol au vents
2-3 pieces, appx 600gr of fresh salmon (tuna is absolutely fine)
1 tbsp whole egg mayonnaise
1 tbsp. crème fresh
1 tbsp of horseradish cream
1 tsp of capers
1 medium Spanish onion, finely chopped
4-5 coriander stalks, washed, roots intact
4-5 sprigs of dill
A drop or two of red Tabasco sauce (optional)
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For smoking:
2 tbsp of white sugar
2 tbsp of jasmine rice
2 tbsp of aromatic tea (jasmine, pekoe)

It is the first time in my life that I had smoked anything by myself and I have to say if you are armed with the proper cookware, it is not a big deal.  A wok is ideal but it has to have a rack and a lid which mine doesn’t, so I opted for a bamboo steamer as long as it is the right size to sit on top of the pan and leaves enough space between them to accommodate the fish without squashing it.  Prepare the salmon by sprinkling it with a mixture of sugar and salt, then place it in the steamer.  Line the bottom of the pan with foil, mix sugar, jasmine rice and any flavoured tea of your liking and pour over the foil, cover loosely with another sheet. Place it on a burner on medium heat and wait till the smoking process kicks in.

Once you can smell and see the smoke rising from the pan, place the steamer on top and smoke salmon for about 8 minutes.  The fish should be of a pale pink colour inside and out, but make sure not to overcook it as the process continues even after you take it off the stove.

Once it has cooled down, flake it, mash with a fork and then mix with all the other ingredients.  Adjust the seasoning to your liking, if the mixture looks too clumpy, add 1 or 2 extra spoons of mayonnaise or crème fresh.
When your guests arrive, warm up the vol au vents in the oven for a couple of minutes, fill up with the dip and garnish with a twig of dill and a slice of lemon.  Serve immediately.


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