Saturday, March 27, 2010
Quickie smoked salmon pate
My siblings and I are all addicted to smoked salmon; devouring it any chance we get. It could be because we are from a long lineage of seafood devotees and it reminds us all of holidays and good times. It could also be attributed to our Scandanavian heritage (including a great grandfather who was a Whaler by trade*). Those Norwegians, you gotta hand it to 'em. The majority of the year is spent trying to keep warm and stay alive - and it's not exactly the friendliest climate for fresh produce. But they make the most of what they've got, and they do have quite a lot of salmon virtually on their doorstep, year round.
Smoked salmon is one of those wonderfully flexible ingredients which can be stored in the fridge/freezer for a few weeks in an unopened pack and whipped out for a multitude of occasions. Breakfast? Salmon eggs benedict. Lunch? Classic white bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers. Dinner? I've been known to eat it straight from the pack with a fork, with a sprinkle of lemon splashed over and washed down with a New Zealand Sauv Blanc. Absolute heaven!
Today I found myself in a frustrating fishy conundrum: 200 grams of beautiful Norwegian dill-smoked salmon + a dinner gathering and far too many options for producing something to take for "nibbles". The solution? A quick and very simple smoked salmon "pate", the recipe found on the taste.com.au website (where I go for easy and last minute recipes when I'm all outta ideas). I modified their recipe only slightly by adding dill and extra sage.
200g smoked salmon
120g creme fraiche (or mascarpone)
100g room temp unsalted butter
8 fresh sage leaves
Process the salmon in a food processor until finely chopped, add creme fraiche and process briefly until it just comes together. Add 3/4 of the butter and process, again until it just comes together smoothly. In a pan on high heat, melt the butter until it goes that lovely nut brown colour, throw in the sage leaves and immediately remove from heat. Season the salmon mix with dill and pepper (it shouldn't need salt), then spoon into a serving dish. Arrange the sage on top and pour over the remaining sage butter. Refrigerate until ready to be served.
* Hey, it was a long time ago. Back when whales were in greater supply and Greenpeace didn't exist.