Friday 27 June 2014

Whisky Cured Salmon & Tattie Scones

OK, just to make it clear how horrifically far behind I am with some of my blogging, here's something that I made for Burn's Supper earlier this year.  For those of you who aren’t in Scotland, that was like back in January.  I am that late.
This is another fantastic dinner party dish, because it's something that looks incredible and your guests will think you must be chef-extraordinaire, but which in reality is easier to do than boiling a kettle.  I made little tattie scones to serve the salmon on because it was all Scottish themed (Burn's Supper, aye?) but it would go just as well on blinis or even little oatcakes – a recipe for which I have already furnished you with here.
Right, first up, make the scones.  These can sit in the fridge overnight. 
500g unpeeled potatoes (I've used désirée because it makes a great creamy mash)
50g butter, plus a bit more for cooking
125g plain flour
1 tbs sunflower oil
Put the tatties in a pan of salted water and bring to the boil.  You want them cooked as if you were going to do mash, but by leaving the skins on you can cook them without waterlogging them, which is important for making the dough.

Once they're done, drain the potatoes in a colander and then balance the colander over the hot, empty pan for a few minutes so that the tatties dry off.  By the way, don’t do this if your colander is made of plastic.  This sounds self-evident, but it's not – a friend at uni once did this and we had to endure some very melty-plasticy tasting pasta – not cool for dinner party guests. 
As soon as you can handle them, peel the skins off.  You're in a real quandary here – whilst they're hot the skin will come away pretty easily, leaving behind most of the flesh.  But at this stage they're way too hot to hold, unless your my gran with asbestos hands.  Once you can hold on to them the skins won’t come off.  Good luck with that, yeah?
Right, chuck in the butter and mash it up.  Do this properly, get a ricer and mash it thoroughly – you're making a dough here, so lumps just won't cut it.  Just be sure not to get this ricer from Amazon.  It may be cheap but it's utter shit.  I wrote this review.

Rightho, once that's done, mix in the flour.  Carefully.  You should have a pretty sticky dough by now, so you have to be quite patient. 

Roll your dough out onto the work surface, having made sure to dust the surface with flour first.  Cut the scones into the shapes you want.  I was making a starter (sort of) so I wanted large blini-sized scones.  You may go classic and attempt triangles – especially if you're going to use them for a good old cooked brekkie. 

Get the pan going: heat it up to a medium to high heat, add a knob of butter and a drizzle of sunflower oil, just enough grease so that the pan is lubricated, and cook your scones off in batches.  They take about 2-3 minutes a side to look like this. 

These are great because they can just be wrapped up in cling film and kept in the fridge for a few days until needed.

To make the salmon you will need:

1 side of salmon
150g sea salt
150g caster sugar
100ml whisky (go decent, but not expensive)

Again, this is absurdly easy.  You need to make sure the salmon is super fresh – which means going to a fishmonger, not Sainsbury's.  Go to a good fishmonger too, like Moxon's and ask for sushi grade salmon – they'll know what you need.  That's what I did and no one died, so, yay.  Also, you'll need cling film (a few meters at least).

If it's in big, pyramid crystals (eg. Maldon), grind the sea salt to a powder.  Mix the salt and the sugar together, so that they are fully combined. 

Lay out a piece of cling film about twice the length of the fish.  Spread out half of the salt-sugar mix onto this piece of cling film so you have a nice pillow for the fish to rest on.  The pillow should be no bigger than your piece of fish. 

With the fish on a dinner plate, carefully pour about half the whisky over the bottom of your side of salmon.  As you do so you should (very) gently massaging the spirit into the fish.  Lots of the whisky will dribble off onto the plate, but don’t worry – you can reuse this (hence doing it on a plate and not, for example, a chopping board).  Then place this bottom side onto the salt-sugar pillow. 

Next, cover the salmon with the rest of the salt-sugar mix then carefully pour the remainder of the whisky, plus anything that ended up on the plate from the last step, over the salmon.  Try to make sure it doesn't run off and away – although it'll probably be soaked up by the salt-sugar anyway.  Now wrap the fish tightly in a few layers of cling film.

The fish needs approximately 12 hours in the fridge from here – so this is one to do first thing in the morning if it's going to be part of a dinner party.  It'll keep for about 12 more hours, but I wouldn’t want to risk it further. 

Once it's done its time, get it out, unwrap it (discarding the salt-sugar) and wash the salt off.  Pat dry with kitchen towel before slicing oh-so-finely (harder than it looks!). 

Assembly goes like this: Scone, crème fraiche, salmon ribbons, serve.

Very impressive

 - GrubsterBoy -

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