Sensational smoked salmon; P&J food writer Deborah Ratcliffe sings the praises of Scottish smoked salmon.
When I need comfort food I eat smoked salmon.
I just love its flavour, aroma, texture and colour.
Being incredibly lucky and having lived all over the world, I can honestly say I've eaten some amazing smoked salmon - and some pretty awful stuff which I truly feel has never been near a salmon at all.
Some of the best was in South Africa, and the worst? Well I'm not saying!
Recently we stayed in a cottage at Inverawe and only after booking, realised it belonged to the Inverawe Smoke House company.
While there I bought some scrumptious smoked fish.
The smoked salmon has a really delicious distinct, yet subtle, smoky flavour and a little goes a long way.
For example, we used half the usual quantity for our Sunday smoked salmon and scrambled egg treat, as we didn't need to use so much due to the flavour intensity.
I also made pinwheels whilst away by spreading cream cheese over a large slice of smoked salmon and gently rolling it up.
Next I wrapped the "log" in cling film, chilled it for a few hours and then cut into 1cm slices to serve as canapes to go with a bottle of bubbly I brought with me - the break away was my husband's treat.
Had I been home I'd have added some fresh lemon juice and a little freshly chopped dill to the cream cheese.
The Inverawe roast smoked salmon was perfect in my quiche recipe.
I added asparagus and cream for a really luxurious taste.
You can use fresh or ready cooked asparagus spears but do make sure fresh spears are lovely and slender, otherwise they might not cook through in time.
You could always gently steam them first if unsure if they'll cook through in time in the quiche.
I used a jar of asparagus for speed and I actually like the flavour it gave to the end result.
INGREDIENTS SERVES 4 Oil 4 large slices smoked salmon big enough to line the ramekins - plus extra for covering the top For the filling: 2 good tbsp cream cheese 1tbsp plain unsweetened yoghurt or double cream 50g fresh white cooked crab meat or well drained tinned salmon 1tsp chopped fresh dill 1tsp snipped chives Seasoning to taste - remember salmon can be very salty DIRECTIONS Grease four small ramekins or timbales with oil then line each one with cling film.
Leave a good overhang as you fold it over the top to seal in the flavour (and aroma). Then, line the ramekins with the smoked salmon.
Mix all the filling ingredients together and check the seasoning.
Spoon the mix into the ramekins and top with the extra smoked salmon.
Then fold over the overhanging cling film. Chill for as long as possible - at least two to three hours.
To serve, carefully remove the salmon from the ramekins/timbales.
Undo the cling film from the top and turn upside down on to a serving dish.
Remove the rest of the film before serving.
INGREDIENTS SERVES 4 For the pastry: Readymade rolled pastry circle to fit 20cm quiche dish with overlap For the filling: 3 large well beaten eggs 50ml double cream 50ml milk 125g roughly shredded roast smoked salmon 50g grated cheddar 40g grated parmesan cheese 10-12 cooked asparagus spears Salt and pepper DIRECTIONS Pre-heat the oven to 180degC/gas mark 4 Drape the pastry over the quiche dish and carefully ease it in, leaving a small overlap.
Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Trim off the excess pastry. With a fork prick all over the pastry. Spread a sheet of baking paper over the pastry and cover with baking beans.
Bake for 15 minutes then remove from the oven and remove the paper/beans.
Return to oven and bake until the pastry is just golden (about five to 10 minutes).
For the filling: Beat the eggs into the cream and milk then gently fold in the salmon and cheeses.
Hot Lightly season to taste. When pastry case ready pour the cheesy mix into it.
Then place the asparagus into the mixture, arranging like a clock face.
You can salmon trimmings the ramekins sure there's between the Return to the oven and bake until the quiche is golden and firm to the touch (around 25 minutes).
Hot tip You can use smoked salmon trimmings for the ramekins but make sure there's no gaps between the pieces