I'm not really sure when my fondness for smoked salmon developed. But develop it did. A treat for high days and holidays.
Somewhere along the line it became more affordable to me and I've made many things with it over the years from pasta sauces to terrines and quiches to pates. But when faced with some good quality smoked salmon there is no better way to enjoy it than as it is. Simple and unadulterated.
A while ago, the kind people at Forman & Field sent me some of their finest London Cure Smoked Scottish Salmon to sample. The Forman & Field founder, Harry Forman, devised this London Cure to show off the quality of his salmon rather than cloud it in smoke and they're spot on when they describe it as delicate, delicious and softly smoky.
I've rarely tasted smoked salmon this good and wanted to do something with it which would allow it to shine.
When Mr GG and I were planning our wedding a few years ago, good food and booze were (of course) fairly high up on our list of priorities. We worked with the caterers to plan our own menu which was seasonal and included a few of our favourite things (there's a song in there somewhere...). To start we plumped for Smoked Salmon with Blinis & Watercress. Simple and delicious.
So with the London Cure Smoked Salmon I decided to have a shot at making blinis for the first time and replicate this wedding dish to make a light lunch for Mr GG and I to enjoy with my parents and my (not so) baby brother. I followed Richard Bertinet's recipe (from his book Crust) for the blinis with a couple of tweeks.
For the blinis:
300g Dove's Farm Blini Flour
5-10g salt (Richard Bertinet uses 5g per 150g flour but you may want to use less)
14g fresh yeast (or substitute with the equivalent amount of dried yeast - probably 7g)
4 large eggs (separated)
160g creme fraiche
Smoked salmon (approx 75g - 100g per person)
Small salted capers (washed to remove salt and dried)
Watercress (washed and dried)
To make the blinis begin by mixing the flour and salt in a large bowl.
Heat the milk in a pan until it is just about to boil, remove from the heat and add the fresh yeast. Add the egg yolks and creme fraiche to the pan with the milk and yeast mixture.
Add the milk mixture to the flour, stirring all the time, to form a thick batter. Cover and leave to rest for 1 and 1/2 hours until the batter has risen and looks bubbly.
Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and fold gently into the batter. Cover and leave for a further 2 hours.
Richard Bertinet suggests cooking the blinis in oiled pans, but I found that the batter made better blinis by cooking them directly onto a dry non stick surface. Mum's simmering plate on the aga was best for this, but they also worked well cooked in a large non stick frying pan. Put spoonfuls of the batter into your pan (well separated so that they don't run into each other) and turn when the batter begins to form bubbles which will be around 30 seconds to 1 minute. Cook for the same amount of time on the second side and then leave to cool on a wire rack.
To serve, arrange some smoked salmon, watercress, a spoonful of creme fraiche and a teaspoon of capers on each plate along with 4 or 5 blinis.
If you have any left over blinis layer them between baking parchment and freeze in a suitable container.
You can buy Forman & Field's London Cure Scottish Salmon online here.