Saturday, March 31, 2007

Salmon Blobs with Bell Pepper Sauce

Such an attractive appellation, don't you think? I happen to be a staunch proponent of truth in advertising, and the original recipe called these "Salmon Bacon Balls" - which is just a dirty dirty lie on several levels: there's no bacon, just crisp-fried strips of cold-smoked salmon, nor could I come up with a way of forming actual balls from a batter that was just this side of runny. To make matters worse, this post could also be called When Bad Photos Happen to Good Dishes. Sometimes things just don't work out the way you planned, especially the first time around.

Salmon Blobs

If I haven't scared you off with the blunt name and picture, let me just assure you that while not pretty, round or bacony, what these little spoonfuls (well, little and little, I may decide to go for teaspoons instead of soup spoons for forming them next time) of salmon pâté are is yummy and easy. And the sauce (not pictured - sorry about that!), which is really just a mixture of thick yogurt and ajvar relish, is a perfect contrast to the crisp, super-salty strips of smoked salmon. I'll probably develop this recipe further on my own (some capers or maybe a roasted bell pepper thrown in the salmon batter would not have gone amiss, I think) but they were very nice in this plain version, too.

Salmon Blobs

Expect a post on bagels in the not-too-distant future. ;)

Salmon Blobs with Bell Pepper Sauce
from Hufvudstadsbladet 29.3.07 (The Easter food article was fabulous, there will definitely be more featured here.)

300 g salmon fillet
1 egg
2 tsp sambal oelek
125 ml light cream (recipe called for 250 ml, but I'm pretty sure that would have left me with a soupy batter)
salt & pepper

150 g thinly sliced cold-smoked salmon

for the sauce:
300 ml yogurt (I used 250 ml super-thick Turkish yogurt)
3 tbsp ajvar relish (ours was mild and worked very well, which is not to say the hotter versions wouldn't)
salt & pepper to taste

Cut the salmon fillet into chunks (and remove bones if it has any), then mix in a blender with the egg and spices until you have a smooth paste. Drizzle in the cream and blend well. Let rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil, then drop balls of the salmon paste into it (with the help of two spoons) and let simmer for about 10 minutes, turning about halfway through.

Meanwhile, cut the smoked salmon slices into 2-cm strips and fry (in a dry pan) until crisp on both sides. (My salmon turned out to be pretty thickly sliced, which is not something you can do much about when you notice it ten minutes before the rest of the meal is ready. Thinner slices would have made for easier/prettier assembly, but we don't really care about such things. Do we?)

For the sauce, if you're using regular yogurt, drain it for an hour or so, then mix with the ajvar relish and heat gently. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Fish out the fish blobs with a slotted spoon, top each with a strip or two of crisp salmon, and serve with the sauce.