I received an unexpected phone call a couple of weeks ago. It was my friend Pauline! We had not seen each other for many years, and it was pure chance that I found her phone number last year and managed to get in touch with her again.
They were heading off for a couple of weeks in the caravan, and as her husband, John, said, they would be passing our front door, so it was the perfect opportunity to finally spend some time together again. They suggested a cup of tea around 11 am – I suggested lunch. It was agreed, on the condition that I did not go to too much fuss! I agreed – no fuss, not too much cooking….
But what to make…
I still had some beautiful trout in the freezer, I had pink lady apples and lemons. Beetroot was abundant in the vegie patch, there was plenty of mint, and then there were the peas that I had frozen last year. But what about dessert – I could make a tart… I could make a clafoutis… In the end I decided to make sorbet and Gary suggested I use rockmelon this time.
The day prior, I brined and smoked the trout, roasted the beetroot and the rockmelon was diced and placed into the freezer. No fuss…
On the morning they were due to arrive, I was working away in the kitchen and the doorbell rang, OH NO!! – I thought that they had arrived very early!!! But no, it was our neighbour to tell us that our beautiful Border Collie, Duchess had escaped. She had watched, as Gary parked the car in the garage and set the roller door to come down, then Duchess had sneaked out underneath! Sue had kept an eye on her but was unable to catch her, so she come to tell us the tale. Gary quickly rescued Duchess and brought her back into the yard. We could not thank Sue enough for letting us know.
Back into the kitchen, I made the beetroot salad based on a favourite from Yotam Ottolenghi’s book “Plenty More” – it’s such a pretty salad and all the flavours go so well together.
The sorbet was quickly prepared in the Thermomix and put in the freezer to firm up. Bruschetta style croutons where prepared from homemade gluten free baguette and set into an old glass ice bucket and finally it was time to deal with the smoked trout. The dressing was prepared using homemade mayonnaise. I wanted something quite acidic and runny, so added a little lemon zest and plenty of lemon juice, and for a little zing, some homemade horseradish mustard! Pink Lady apples were then julienned to matchstick size using a mandoline and finally the trout was carefully removed from the bone and flaked in. Using my hands I carefully tossed the salad and placed it onto a tray. Having no fresh dill, I chose to add fresh lemon verbena from the garden to finish it off.
With everything prepared, Pauline and John arrived. You know, true friendship is when you start up as if you had seen each other last week. We took a walk around the garden, a wander through the house and then sat out on the terrace and enjoyed the food that I had prepared and caught up on all that had happened in our lives since last we were together. Finally, with some prodding from John that they still had a way to travel that afternoon, they were on their way, promising that we would visit them when they return from a longer trip that they have planned later in the year.
The following day I received a lovely message from Pauline, and part of it was a request for the smoked trout salad recipe. I messaged her back and mentioned that I had created the recipe as I prepared it, and had not recorded the quantities. Since then, I have made the salad again, this time recording the quantities so that I can share it with Pauline, and thought you might like it also…
This salad was created for a light luncheon to be shared with friends on the terrace. Its so simple and quick to prepare.
- 1 smoked trout
- 1 1/2 pink lady apples
- 2 tbsp good quality mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
- 2 tsp horseradish mustard
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Lemon verbena or finely chopped fresh dill for serving
In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest, horseradish mustard. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
Wash and core the apples. Cut into matchstick size julienne, add to the dressing and toss to coat.
Remove the skin from the smoked trout and carefully lift the flesh from the bones, ensuring that you remove as many of the fine bones as possible, without breaking up the flesh too much. Add the flesh to the dressed apple, and using your hands, carefully toss to combine.
Place the salad into a serving dish, or onto individual plates and garnish with lemon verbena or dill and serve chilled.
Serve with bruschetta style croutons.
- When tasting the dressing, keep in mind that the apples will provides some sweetness to the salad and fish will provide saltiness.
- I made the croutons using slices of homemade gluten free baguette brushed with olive oil and cooked on a griddle pan.
Until next time…
Bon appétit! & happy gardening.