I find I am often inspired to create dishes I have eaten in a restaurant. Sometimes, one element of a dish might inspire me, or I might try to recreate a healthier version of something I have tasted.
This weekend, I ate beetroot-cured smoked salmon in my favourite local restaurant (Church Street Town House in Sratford-Upon-Avon). The colour was so fantastic, I had to have a go myself! I am not a chef and would not profess to have any clever cooking techniques to hand. I am a pretty confident 'every-day' home cook. I tend to look at recipe books and watch cookery programmes for inspiration, but I rarely follow recipes religiously as I like to invent my own dishes.
So....I don't know how to cure salmon, but I know it involves salt, which we try to avoid in excessive amounts. I decided to experiment with the ingredients I already had. I had some cooked baby beetroots at home. I chopped one up into a bowl, poured some hot water onto it, let it cool, then put some smoked salmon into the pink juice. I popped it in the fridge, left it to marinade for a couple of hours and hey-presto! I had beautiful bright pink beetroot-stained salmon!
I served it with some crispbread as a light, but very substantial lunch, with a celeriac 'coleslaw' and a beetroot and spring-onion salad.
The colours, flavours and textures work as an incredible trio. Creamy, white, lemony, crunchy celeriac. Magenta, soft, smoky salmon and dark burgundy, earthy, peppery beetroot with vibrant little spring onions.
The following recipes are enough for 2 servings. Each serving is 3 propoints (approx 210 kcal). This is for 60g salmon plus BOTH salads. Add the propoints or calories for your choice of crispbread.
This dish is wonderful with Swedish-style crispbreads. (Ryvita is 1pp or 35 kcal per slice). You will probably need 2-3 crispbreads.
You will need: (For 2 portions)
FOR THE PINK SALMON;
(3pp approx 70kcal per portion)
120g smoked salmon
1 small cooked beetroot
a bowl of boiled, hot water
As I described above, marinade the salmon in the cooled, pink beetroot juice for a couple of hours, then lift the salmon out of the juice to serve. Throw the beetroot and juice away.
FOR THE CELERIAC 'COLESLAW'
(0pp approx. 80kcal per portion)
half a small celeriac
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra light mayonnaise
Poor celeriac-it was not blessed with good looks! However, once peeled and prepared, it does redeem itself! Again, I tried it in a restaurant fairly recently and was inspired to buy some. This salad is now one of my favourites. The flavour and texture seems to work particularly well with smoked salmon.
Cut all the gnarly brown outside off until you are left with a clean, white vegetable.
Now it looks more attractive, grate coarsely.
Mix with the lemon juice, mayonnaise and black pepper.
FOR THE BEETROOT SALAD;
(0pp approx. 60 kcal per portion)
4 cooked baby beetroot
Cube the baby beetroots. Slice the spring-onions. Mix with a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and plenty of ground black pepper.
Arrange all three elements to this dish carefully on the plate. It can't fail to look attractive and is a healthy, filling and nutritious light meal.