Saturday, 24 December 2011

A very Nordic Christmas - Roast Lemon and Dill Salmon, with Skagen Butter, Cardamon Caramel Potatoes and Creamed Peas

Roast lemon and dill salmon, with skagen butter, cardamon
caramel potatoes and creamed peas
Roast lemon and dill salmon
Homemade bread
Homemade bread
Salmon stuffed with lemon, dill and red onions ready
for the oven
Christmas is a special time for all of us. It's when we all get together with family, friends and all our love ones.
A dear friend of ours has accepted our invitation to join us for Christmas eve this year and that makes it an even more special day. Traditionally in lots of other countries, Christmas is celebrated on the eve rather than on Christmas day itself. So I've decided to prepared a Nordic inspired Christmas feast . It is quite apt as she is a prescatarian and I think a Nut roast is too much of a cliché so Salmon main will be an excellent choice. It's just grand enough to be the centre piece on the table and the ceremonies of 'carving' it at the table will provide just the right atmosphere of a Christmas Roast.
This is a also a great alternative to anyone who is not a big fan of the traditional bird. Not only is it easy to prepare, which takes the stress out of the normal Christmas Day chaos, it is also absolutely delicious and light. That means you will have a lot more room for other treats like the puddings, mince pies and cakes.
I have only used half of the whole Salmon here but if you are cooking for more people, use the whole fish. I have also made some fresh bread to go with the cheese course and the whole meal was finished off with a serving of the Christmas Yule log. It was one of the best Christmas eve ever for me!


For the Skagen (prawn, caviar and red onion) butter:

250g unsalted butter, softened

2 ½ tbsp small orange roe, preferably lumpfish roe

6 cooked king prawn, peeled, de-veined and finely chopped

½ small red onion, very finely diced

½ tsp finely chopped lemon zest

1 small handful dill, finely chopped

Salt and white pepper, to taste

For the Cardamom caramel potatoes:
2kg new potatoes, peeled

115g caster sugar

125g unsalted butter

A large pinch of ground cardamom

For the Creamed peas:
500g frozen peas

2tbsp butter

125g creme fraiche

Salt and white pepper, to taste

3.5kg whole, cleaned and scaled salmon

2 red onions, thinly sliced

2 lemons, thinly sliced

3 large dill sprigs

Olive oil, for coasting

Sea salt

125ml dry white wine

To make the skagen butter, combine all the ingredients in a bowl, stirring well. Season with plenty of salt and white pepper. Spoon in a log shape onto some plastic wrap, then roll up, twisting the ends of the plastic to make a firm sausage shape. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Preheat the oven to 190°C (375F/gas 5). Then cook the potatoes in salted boiling water for 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain well, cover to keep warm and set aside.
To make the creamed peas, cook the peas in boiling water for about 5 minutes, or until tender, then drain well. Combine the peas with the butter and creme fraiche in a food processor and blend until smooth. Tip into a small saucepan and season to taste with salt and a little white pepper. Cover and set aside until ready to serve.
Rinse the salmon inside and out and pat dry with paper towels . Then insert half the onion, lemon slices and dill sprigs in the cavity. Rub all over with a little olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Next wrap the head and tail with foil. Make a bed of the remaining onion and lemon in the base of a roasting tin. Place the fish on top of the bed and pour the wine and 250ml of water into the base of the tin. Cook the fish in the oven for a bout 45 minutes, basting regularly with the juices, until the dorsal fin is very loose or comes off when jiggled. At this stage the fish should be cooked through but still quite pink and translucent in the centre of the fillet.
Meanwhile, to caramelise the potatoes, place the sugar in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has melted. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until it turns golden. Carefully stir in the butter and cardamom – the caramel will become lumpy but will melt as you continue to cook. Now add the potatoes and shake the pan for 6 minutes, or until the potatoes are caramelised and heated through. Season to taste and keep warm.
Gently reheat the creamed peas, if necessary. Lift the salmon out of the roasting tin. Carefully transfer onto a warmed serving platter. Now remove the foil from the head and tail and carefully peel back the skin from the top side of the fish, starting at the head end and pulling towards the tail; discard the skin. Finally serve portions of the fish on a bed of the creamed peas with a dollop of the skagen butter on top and the potatoes on the side.

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