Ben Bass’s Potted Smoked Salmon with Lemon Purée and Poppy Seed Bread
This is the perfect dish if you are entertaining or wanting to chill out on Boxing Day in front of the TV. I would recommend making it well in advance, or at least a few hours before you plan to serve it so it can reach the right temperature and consistency. You could also substitute the hot salmon with crab meat or smoked mackerel.
200g hot smoked salmon
250g unsalted butter, diced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Big pinch of ground mace or nutmeg
Big pinch of smoked paprika
1 tbsp Port (you could also use a different fortified wine, e.g. Marsala, Madeira etc)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco, to taste
Shred the salmon by hand or quickly in a food processor. Melt a quarter of the butter in a saucepan, add the spices, lemon zest and a few grinds of black pepper. Add the fish and stir well. Add Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and Port. Add the remaining butter and stir well to emulsify. Remove from the heat when the butter is almost all melted and keep stirring. Add tabasco to taste and check the seasoning. Put into 4 small kilner jars or a larger bowl if you are planning to share one dish. If you are making the potted salmon in advance, remove from the fridge about an hour before serving in order for it to reach room temperature. It will keep for a week in the fridge.
Serve with the lemon purée, pickled shallots and poppy seed bread.
2 lemons, unwaxed
Sugar, granulated or caster
Cover the lemons in water in a saucepan. Add a pinch of salt. Boil for at least an hour, probably more, topping up the water if needed. The lemons need to be completely cooked and very soft. Put the lemons in a blender and purée, adding some of the cooking water if necessary, to make a smooth purée . Season with a little salt and sugar. The purée should be bitter, almost sherbet like in flavour, to counter the buttery fish.
Tip: If you are short on time, you could substitute the fresh lemons with preserved ones.
This pickling liqueur can be used for absolutely everything. We use it for shallots, golden beets, raw pickled butternut squash, cucumbers and raw turnips for our oxtail dish. For pickled ginger, add a few drops of grenadine to create the pink ginger you buy in jars!
100ml white wine or cider vinegar
100ml white wine
a sprig of thyme
1 shallot, finely sliced
Bring all ingredients to the boil and allow to cool before using. Then add a finely sliced shallot to the mix and leave for a few hours, preferably overnight.
Poppy seed bread:
This is our standard bread recipe scaled down to home use. A word of warning – it is quite a wet dough!
250g bread flour
145ml water (add a little more if needed)
15g yeast, dry or fresh
8g caster sugar
8g vegetable oil
1 tbsp poppy seeds
Put all ingredients into a mixer and mix well. Prove for an hour. On a flat surface sprinkled with flour, knead or knock back the dough to squash the air out. Divide the dough into four and shape into flutes. Prove for a second time for up to one hour. Place on a baking tray and spray with water. Bake for 11-12 minutes at 230C in a conventional oven or 210C if you have a fan-assisted oven.