A Taste For… Miso | Japanese-Style Miso Cod

Are you familiar with umami? Discovered (and named) by Japanese scientist Kikunae Ikeda back in 1908 and known as the fifth taste group (alongside sweet, sour, bitter and salty), umami is most commonly translated as ‘savoury’ or ‘meaty’ and is a flavour profile that most of us enjoy in our food, whether or not we could name or identify it. Although it occurs naturally in many foods – including mushrooms, ripe tomatoes, chinese cabbage, asparagus, sweetcorn and shellfish – many cultures have become adept at creating umami-rich foods by cooking, curing and fermenting; these include cheese, green tea, fish sauce and yeast extract.

Miso is one such umami-bomb – an ingredient at the core of Japanese cuisine.

Miso Cod on Kavey Eats (overlay)

Made by fermenting soybeans, salt and additional grains such as rice or barley with a mould fungus known in Japanese as kōji-kin, the result is a thick, salty and intensely savoury paste used as a seasoning throughout Japanese cooking.

There are many different varieties available in Japan, often broadly divided by their colour. The most common misos are red and white, made with soybeans and rice. White has a higher percentage of rice than its red counterpart and is the mildest and sweetest. Red, aged for longer, is stronger and saltier and darkens with age through red into brown. Some vintage misos are almost black in colour.

There are other types that are made with different grains such as barley, buckwheat, rye or millet.

Regional differences also play a part; in Sendai the locals prefer their miso slightly chunkier, so the soybeans are coarsely mashed rather than ground; in parts of Chubu and Kansai there’s a preference for darker, saltier and more astringent miso. In Eastern Japan, mild and sweet pale misos are the favourites.

Fermentation of foods has been prevalent in East Asia since ancient times. Grains and fish were fermented in the Neolithic era and there are records describing the use of Aspergillus moulds in China as far back as 300. BC Fermented soybean products may have been introduced to Japan from China at the same time as Buddhism in the 6th Century CE.

Until the late 19th century, Japan’s population ate mainly fish and vegetables. Since miso is high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals, it became an important nutritional element of the Japanese diet, especially for Buddhists following a strictly vegetarian regimen.

In Japan, miso is obviously a key ingredient in miso soup (for which it is combined with dashi stock) but it also features in sauces, marinades, pickles and dressings (such as the tofu, sesame and miso dressing for green bean salad that we shared in our last issue). It is even used in sweet dishes; miso mochi – chewy dumplings made from rice flour – offer a delightful balance of sweet, salty and savoury.

Miso also lends itself to fusion cooking, offering a great way to add saltiness and savouriness to your dishes. Combine with honey, mustard and oil for a salad dressing; whip into butter and spread on fresh bread or melt over steamed vegetables; thin with water and brush onto meat before grilling or barbequing; stir half a teaspoon into porridge instead of salt; or add to a bean casserole for extra flavour. Whenever you need a kick of umami, miso is the perfect ingredient.

shutterstock_142619971
Miso | image via shutterstock.com

Japanese-Style Miso Cod

This simple marinade works beautifully with cod but can also be used with other fish such as salmon. It’s also delicious on aubergine or firm tofu.

Serves 2

Ingredients
2 tbsp white miso paste
2 tbsp mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
2 tbsp sugar
2 fillets of sustainable fresh cod, skin on

Note: White miso has a slightly sweeter and milder flavour than the red version, which suits this recipe well. However, you can use red miso paste instead; use a touch less in that case.

Method

  • Preheat your grill to a medium-hot setting.
  • Heat the mirin, white miso paste and sugar in a small saucepan, over a gentle heat, until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  • Place the fish fillets skin side down on a piece of foil.
  • Spread the paste generously over the surface of the fish, top side only.
  • Grill until the fish is cooked through and the paste is bubbling and starting to char. Depending on the thickness of your fillets, this will take 5-8 minutes.
  • Serve with rice and green vegetables.

Miso Cod on Kavey Eats-0176

Where to buy miso

Search the major supermarkets. Most now offer miso pastes in their speciality ingredients ranges (though these may not be available in every branch). Do check the ingredients – some products are actually ready made marinades or soup blends (with additional ingredients added to the miso). For use in recipes, you need a plain miso.

If you have an oriental supermarket within reach, you’ll usually find a decent selection at lower prices. Online stores also offer a wide choice.

Try clearspring.co.uk (organic), japancentre.com, souschef.co.uk, waiyeehong.co.uk and wingyip.com.

 

This piece was written in 2014 and first published in Good Things magazine. ©Kavita Favelle.

Save

Save

Save

Visiting The Suzuhiro Kamaboko Museum

Have you heard of kamaboko? It’s a type of surimi fishcake from Japan. Surimi is made by creating a paste of pureed white fish paste that is flavoured, formed into different shapes and steamed to cook. In Japan there are many surimi products which are sold both fresh and dried for consumers to add to their soups, hotpots and other dishes. You may already be familiar with one surimi product that is consumed around the world – imitation crabsticks, made from coloured and flavoured fish paste.

Kamaboko is a large loaf-shaped surimi fishcake that is cooked whole, most commonly by steaming, but it can also be fried, grilled or poached. It us usually served sliced, either on its own or within other dishes.

Suzihiro, a traditional manufacturer of kamaboko, have created a centre where visitors can learn more about the history and manufacture of kamaboko. Originally a retailer of fresh fish and seafood, Suzihiro began making kamaboko in 1865, expanding their local customer base to Tokyo during the 19th and 20th centuries. Many Tokyo customers would purchase Suzihiro kamaboko on their journeys to Hakone’s onsen (hot spring bath) resorts.

Kamoboko Museum and Market in Kazamatsuri Japan. On Kavey Eats-105223 Kamoboko Museum and Market in Kazamatsuri Japan. On Kavey Eats-105551

The Suzuhiro Kamaboko Museum is located in the Kazamatsuri district of Odawara City, in Kanagawa Prefecture. Visitors heading to Hakone from Tokyo can easily make a stop at the museum, which is right next to Kazamatsuri Station, on the Hakone Tozan Line between Odawara and Hakone-Yumoto.

Kamoboko Museum and Market in Kazamatsuri Japan. On Kavey Eats-103836 Kamoboko Museum and Market in Kazamatsuri Japan. On Kavey Eats-103223

As you exit the station, the path from the exit will lead you straight to a large modern building which houses the Suzunari Market, an indoor food market selling a wide range of food including plenty of fishcake products as well as other local delicacies. There are a few eateries within the space, plus plenty of takeaway food to enjoy fresh. There are also products to take home, some of which are designed as omiyage – the customary gifts that Japanese travellers bring home for friends and colleagues.

Kamoboko Museum and Market in Kazamatsuri Japan. On Kavey Eats-103957 Kamoboko Museum and Market in Kazamatsuri Japan. On Kavey Eats-104537
Kamoboko Museum and Market in Kazamatsuri Japan. On Kavey Eats-104358 Kamoboko Museum and Market in Kazamatsuri Japan. On Kavey Eats-104203

A coffee shop overlooks the station, with a small garden area between. To one side is a store showcasing and selling ornate Suzihiro kamaboko products. If you exit the market building onto the main road and turn right, the next building along houses the Suzuhiro Kamaboko Museum.

Kamoboko Museum and Market in Kazamatsuri Japan. On Kavey Eats-103051

Admission is free. There are also paid activities to try your hand at making simple surimi products. These run at set times; contact the museum to reserve in advance if you want to participate.

There is very little information in English so having a good translation app on your phone will make it easier to understand the exhibits detailing the history and manufacturing process.

Best of all though is the opportunity to watch, through enormous glass windows, skilled workmen and women crafting kamoboko in the large factory kitchen.

 

Thanks to Robb at WhereInTokyo for his tip to visit the museum. You can see more photos of the museum exhibits on his site.

You may also enjoy my previous posts about my travels to Japan.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Travel Quote Tuesday | Mark Twain

Mark Twain is responsible for several of my favourite travel quotes; this is the first I am sharing with you.

Senecio candicans (known as sea cabbage, sea ragwort and silver

This seaside scene is from the Falkland Islands where we spent a few happy weeks on a wildlife holiday back in 2010.

More Kavey Eats Travel Quotes.

You are welcome to save or share this via Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram provided you do not alter the image or crop out the attribution text.

Kimchi Biscuits | Ferment Pickle Dry

I recently reviewed new cookery book release, Ferment Pickle Dry. This lovely book by Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinksa-Poffley shares a wide selection of recipes for preserving food by fermenting, pickling and drying. More unusually, the book also provides ‘partner recipes’ that showcase how the preserves can best be put to use in your cooking.

Two lucky readers can win their own copy of Ferment Pickly Dry in my giveaway but everyone can enjoy these delicious kimchi recipes from the book, which publishers Frances Lincoln have given me permission to share with you.

Ferment Pickle Dry cover Ferment Pickly Dry - Kimchi biscuits (small)
Book cover, kimchi biscuits made with different kimchis – image by Kim Lightbody

Kimchi Biscuits

Extracted from Ferment Pickle Dry by Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinksa-Poffley

These moist, almost cake-like savoury biscuits are a brilliantly healthy and filling snack. They have the same satisfying bite of a falafel, but with a spicy kick. You can make these recipes with napa cabbage kimchi, fermented pink turnips, carrot kimchi or baby courgette kimchi for a variety in colour and flavour.

Makes 10-12 of each biscuit

Ingredients
100g/3½oz/¾ cup wholewheat flour, plus extra for dusting
50g/1¾oz/½ cup quinoa flour 50g/1¾oz/½ cup buckwheat flour
150g/5½oz/²⁄³ cup butter, softened 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
clip_image001100g/3½oz of fermented pink turnip cut into small pieces
100g/3½oz napa kimchi

Note: Replace the napa kimchi and pink turnip with the same quantities of carrot kimchi or courgette kimchi for biscuits with different flavour and hue.

If you make the courgette kimchi biscuits, try adding 2 tablespoons spirulina powder for a vivid green colour and health boost.

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 230°C/425°F/ gas mark 7. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment.
  • Process the flours, butter and salt in a food processor until the mixture starts to turn into a dough, then remove half of the mixture and set aside.
  • Add the pink turnip to the remaining mixture in the food processor and process until all the ingredients are well combined, about 2 minutes. Remove the turnip dough from the food processor and set aside on a floured work surface.
  • Return the remaining half of the flour and butter mixture to the food processor, add the napa kimchi and process until all the ingredients are well combined, about 2 minutes. Remove the kimchi dough from the food processor and set aside on a floured work surface.
  • Roll out the turnip dough on the floured surface into a 15cm/6in long, thick sausage, then cut into 2cm/¾in- long pieces.
  • Roll each of these pieces into balls and place on the prepared baking tray. Use the bottom of a glass to gently press the balls into discs about 5mm/¼in thick.
  • Repeat this process with the other kimchi dough.
  • Place both baking trays in the oven and bake for 12–15 minutes.
  • The biscuits won’t go hard, but will crisp up slightly on the top

 

This recipe extract was published with permission from Frances Lincoln. Ferment Pickle Dry is currently available from Amazon UK for £16.59 (RRP £20).

Pumpkin Kimchi Recipe | Ferment Pickle Dry

I recently reviewed new cookery book release, Ferment Pickle Dry. This lovely book by Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinksa-Poffley shares a wide selection of recipes for preserving food by fermenting, pickling and drying. More unusually, the book also provides ‘partner recipes’ that showcase how the preserves can best be put to use in your cooking.

Two lucky readers can win their own copy of Ferment Pickly Dry in my giveaway but everyone can enjoy these delicious kimchi recipes from the book, which publishers Frances Lincoln have given me permission to share with you.

Ferment Pickle Dry cover Ferment Pickle Dry Baby Courgette and Pumpkin Kimchis

Book cover, carrot kimchi (left) and baby courgette kimchi (right) – images by Kim Lightbody

Pumpkin Kimchi

Extracted from Ferment Pickle Dry by Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinksa-Poffley

Prep 15 minutes + 3-day process Ready 10–14 days
Makes approx 500ml/18fl oz jar

Ingredients
400g/14oz pumpkin
10 tbsp (100g/3½oz) coarse sea salt
Paste
1 tbsp gochugaru (Korean hot chilli flakes)
2 large leaves napa (Chinese) cabbage, chopped
50g/1¾oz (10cm/4in long piece) large leek or ½ bunch of spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
10 large garlic cloves, grated
2.5 cm/1in piece (25g) piece of ginger, skin scraped and grated
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp white miso paste (optional)

Method

Day 1

  • Peel, deseed and cut the pumpkin into rough squares and rectangles of no more than 1cm/½in thick and place in a large bowl.
  • Add the salt and mix together until the pumpkin is coated. Cover and leave to stand at room temperature overnight.

Day 2

  • Rinse the pumpkin well, washing off all the salt.
  • Place all the ingredients for the paste in a blender and blitz until smooth. Add the paste to the pumpkin and mix until it is coated.
  • Place the pumpkin in a large sterilised jar P12, seal with the lid and leave to stand at room temperature overnight.

Day 3

  • Place the jar in the fridge and leave to chill for 10 days, then taste to check if it has fermented enough for your liking.
  • It can be stored in the fridge for 3–5 weeks. The flavour will become stronger over time.

This recipe extract was published with permission from Frances Lincoln. Ferment Pickle Dry is currently available from Amazon UK for £16.59 (RRP £20).

Baby Courgette Kimchi Recipe | Ferment Pickle Dry

I recently reviewed new cookery book release, Ferment Pickle Dry. This lovely book by Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinksa-Poffley shares a wide selection of recipes for preserving food by fermenting, pickling and drying. More unusually, the book also provides ‘partner recipes’ that showcase how the preserves can best be put to use in your cooking.

Two lucky readers can win their own copy of Ferment Pickly Dry in my giveaway but everyone can enjoy these delicious kimchi recipes from the book, which publishers Frances Lincoln have given me permission to share with you.

Ferment Pickle Dry cover  Ferment Pickle Dry Baby Courgette Kimchi

Book cover, carrot kimchi (left) and baby courgette kimchi (right) – images by Kim Lightbody

Baby Courgette (Zucchini) Kimchi

Extracted from Ferment Pickle Dry by Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinksa-Poffley

Prep 20 min
Ready 3–4 days
Makes approx 500ml/18fl oz jar

Ingredients
8–9 baby courgettes (zucchini)
60g/2¼oz/¼ cup coarse sea salt (pure, without iodine or anti-caking agent)
Paste
1½ bunches spring onions (scallions) or 1 leek, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
1cm/½in piece of ginger, skin scraped off and grated (1 tsp)
7 tbsp gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes) or dried chilli flakes
1-2 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp sugar

Method

  • Cut the courgettes lengthways 3–4 times, but don’t cut them all the way through. Rub the salt into the cuts.
  • Place the courgettes in a bowl and pour in enough water to cover.
  • Leave to soak for about 1 hour, then rinse them well.
  • Place all the ingredients for the paste in a bowl and mix with a fork.
  • Work the paste into the cuts in the courgettes, then pack the courgettes upright into a large sterilised jar and seal with the lid
  • Leave to stand at room temperature overnight, then transfer to the fridge and leave to chill for 2–3 days before eating.
  • This can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

 

This recipe extract was published with permission from Frances Lincoln. Ferment Pickle Dry is currently available from Amazon UK for £16.59 (RRP £20).

Save

Travel Quote Tuesday | John A. Shedd

This quote is one of my long time favourites.

A similar quote is often attributed to U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, but in fact she was citing (with minor variations) the original, which she had found very meaningful in her life.

American author John Augustus Shedd wrote the quote for his book of adages Salt from My Attic, published in 1928. Similar themes had been expressed by others before this, but not so succinctly.

Darwin Bay, Genovesa Island, Galapagos

This image is from a trip to the Galapagos Islands. We relaxed on shore for a few hours watching the unique seabirds for which the islands are known, snorkelling to see underwater fish including some small and lithe sharks and sharing a shallow sand pool by the water with a very inquisitive and confident baby seal!

More Kavey Eats Travel Quotes.

Save

You are welcome to save or share this via Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram provided you do not alter the image or crop out the attribution text.

Win A Copy of Ferment Pickle Dry by Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinksa-Poffley

Check out my review of new release, Ferment Pickle Dry. This lovely cookery book by Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinksa-Poffley shares a wide selection of recipes for preserving food by fermenting, pickling and drying. More unusually, the book also provides ‘partner recipes’ that showcase how the preserves can best be put to use in your cooking.

Ferment Pickle Dry cover

GIVEAWAY

Publisher Frances Lincoln are giving away two copies of the newly released Ferment Pickle Dry: Ancient methods, Modern meals by Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinksa-Poffley to readers of Kavey Eats. Each prize includes delivery to a UK address.

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the giveaway in 2 ways – entering both ways increases your chances of winning:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment What is your favourite fermented, pickled or dried item and how do you like to use it?

Entry 2 – Twitter Follow @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win a copy of Ferment Pickle Dry by @thefermentarium and @QuartoCooks from Kavey Eats. http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsFPD #KaveyEatsFPD
(Do not add my twitter handle or any other twitter handle to the beginning of the tweet or your entry will be considered invalid. Please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either; I track twitter entries using the competition hash tag.)

RULES, TERMS & CONDITIONS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 7th October 2016.
  • The two winners will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • Each prize is a copy of Ferment Pickle Dry published by Frances Lincoln. Delivery to a UK address is included.
  • The prizes are offered by Frances Lincoln and cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You may enter both ways but you do not have to do so for each individual entry to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, entrants must be following @Kavey at the time of notification.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contact.
  • The winners will be notified by email or Twitter so please make sure you check relevant accounts for the notification message.
  • If no response is received from a winner within 10 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

Ferment Pickle Dry by Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinksa-Poffley is published by Frances Lincoln. RRP £20, currently available from Amazon UK for £16.59 (at time of publication).

Ancient Methods, Modern Meals | Ferment Pickle Dry

There is something deeply satisfying about preserving, especially when you have grown the produce yourself.

In today’s modern world of fridges and freezers, and the availability of almost everything at almost anytime of the year, it may seem an unnecessary skill and yet I’ve seen a steady increase of interest in preserving. The move away from preserving in the last few decades is not surprising – a generation who had no choice but to preserve fresh produce when in season no doubt felt liberated when new technology liberated them from that chore, and the availability of produce flown or shipped in from around the world made seasonality less relevant.

What this stole from the generations to follow was the pleasure that comes with eating seasonally. I don’t imagine any of us would want to go back to an era where we could eat only that which was grown locally during any given month – supplementing these with staples and imports is no bad thing when it comes to pleasurable variety – but at the same time, I know that I get much joy from anticipating and then enjoying British-grown produce such as fresh asparagus, early sprouting broccoli, strawberries, sweetcorn, tomatoes, winter squashes and much more when they are at their peak. I miss them when they are gone, but that makes the pleasure next year all the greater.

Being contrary creatures, now that we no longer need to preserve many of us have voluntarily returned to it. Perhaps it gives a more personal connection to how food is produced, not to mention a connection to our ancestors of many, many, many millenia.

There are many books on the market for those who want to preserve, but I’m particularly excited about Ferment Pickle Dry: Ancient methods, Modern meals by Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinksa-Poffley, published this month by Frances Lincoln.

Ferment Pickle Dry cover

The authors are passionate about growing, preserving and cooking using traditional techniques which they share and teach at their Walthamstow workshop, The Fermentarium.

What I love about the book is the way it’s organised and presented. As the title suggests, the book is divided into three broad methods of preservation, fermenting, pickling and drying.

Fermentation involves a metabolic change that converts sugars to acids, gases or alcohol. Many of the fermented foods you are familiar with have a distinctive sour taste that is down to the lactic acid produced by fermentation – foods like yoghurt, sauerkraut and kimchi. Most of us enjoy the fermentation of sugar to alcohol that creates beer, cider and wine.

Pickling uses an acid solution to preserve the produce within it by killing or vastly inhibiting the growth of the bacteria that cause food to spoil. In some cases, pickles are also partially fermented, and salt also contributes to the preservation process.

Drying foods simply means removing moisture, either by use of the sun, or man made heating. Since most of the bacteria and yeast that cause food to spoil or change thrive in moisture, dried foods discourage such spoilage.

In each section, you will find a very varied selection of recipes taking inspiration from the preserving traditions of countries all around the world. For each of these recipes, the authors also provide ‘partner recipes’ which offer clever and delicious dishes making use of the various preserves.

This is the aspect that excited me most about the book – I’m a great one for making preserves but often lacking in ideas and inspiration for how best to make use of them.

In the Ferment section, plain live yoghurt is used in blackcurrant yoghurt ice cream, fermented gherkins & grapes are used in a sour grape pickletini and in fermented gherkin & nasturtium caponata, long-fermented pizza dough is used to make peppe rosso 10-inch pizza onto which several fermented toppings are also used, cabbage & apple sauerkraut is used in sauerkraut bubble & squeak, preserved lemons feature in preserved lemon cous-cous and amazake is used in drunken rice pudding. Of course, this section also includes guidance on sourdough starters followed by a selection of sourdough bread recipes.

The Pickle section includes a vast array of pickled fruits and vegetables. Pickled cherry tomatoes feature in a Greek salad, pickled plums are used to great effect on a pickled plum flammekueche, pickled oranges lift a dish called pickled oranges, spice cuttlefish & squid ink linguine. I’m particularly drawn to honey-pickled garlic and the subsequent pulled pork with swede mash, grilled nectarines & honey-pickled garlic. We’re too late this year but next year I’m keen to use our pickle our homegrown French beans and use them to make pickled bean falafel. As a huge fan of Japanese miso, I love the sound of miso pickled mushrooms and miso pickled eggs both of which are used in misozuke and soba noodle salad. There are also herrings pickled in a variety of different ways. Whilst most recipes in this section are savoury, there are also dried fruit pickled in brandy which can be used in a decadent coffee meringue cake.

The Dry section includes funghi, vegetables and fruit. I will be using my dehydrator (more on that soon) to make dried wild mushrooms for use in both wild porcini soup and dried mushroom sauce. I’m utterly intrigued by the various vegetable ‘barks’ such as sweet potato crackling which then features in a potato crackling fritata. A honey-glazed Chinese beef jerky strikes me as an unusually delicious flavour of dried beef. Many dried herbs are used to great effect in a variety of infusions and teas. And dried fruit are used in a delicious and healthy nutty fruit bar.

Ferment Pickly Dry - Kimchi images
A double page spread from the book showing some of the kimchi recipes in the Ferment section, image by Kim Lightbody

Note that not every recipe has an accompanying photo, but a fair number do. My only minor negative about the book is the photography; the dishes are very small on vast empty backgrounds – I appreciate negative space as a design tool but here it seems to have been taken too far and leaves me peering intently at the dishes wishing I could zoom in to make out more detail.

Preceding the recipes, the introductory chapters of the book provide suggestions for basic equipment that you will need, a guide on how to sterilise and seal correctly and an introduction to a few key ingredients. These, together with the straightforward recipes, make this a suitable book for those new to preserving, as well as those who simply want to expand their repertoire.

GIVEAWAY + RECIPES

The publishers are allowing to me share a couple of recipes extracted from the book with you; check back here in a few days for some fantastic kimchi recipes plus a very unusual recipe for how to use them.

I also have two copies of the book to giveaway.

Kavey Eats received a review copy from Frances Lincoln.
Ferment, Pickle, Dry (RRP £20) is currently available from Amazon UK for £16.59

Save

Smoked Salmon & Leek Macaroni Cheese

PARTNEREDPOSTFor most of our shallow frying, Pete and I use a combination of vegetable oil and butter. We love butter for its rich flavour but it burns easily whereas vegetable oils can be heated to a higher temperature without smoking or burning; mixing butter into oil gives us the best of both worlds. A light olive oil is a good choice, neutral in flavour and perfect for cooking.

Today it’s not unusual to have at least one if not two bottles of olive oil in the kitchen cupboard – a regular one for cooking and a richer extra virgin one for salad dressings and drizzling over carpaccio or cheese – and there is much shelf space given to olive oil in most supermarkets. But when I was a kid, it wasn’t so easy to find good quality Italian olive oil here in the UK. Bertolli is one of the brands that has been available in the UK, and respected for its quality and consistency, for as long as I can remember. Far longer than I could possibly remember, in fact – it was founded in Tuscany back in 1865!

One of the products that wasn’t available during my childhood was olive oil in spreadable form. Bertolli make an Original and Light olive oil spread, both made using good quality olive oil. The latest in the range is their Bertolli with Butter, a spreadable combination of olive oil and butter. Of course, you can use it in place of butter – in sandwiches or on jacket potatoes, and in many varied sweet and savoury recipes. Indeed, Gennaro Contaldo recently worked with Bertolli to create a range of pasta recipes that are quick and easy to make, and taste delicious.

Pasta is at the heart of many of our favourite recipes – especially during colder and darker months when rich, warming comfort foods are the order of the day.

Smoked Salmon and Leek Macaroni Cheese on Kavey Eats 3

I’ve heard people say that making macaroni cheese from scratch is far too time consuming or difficult but it’s actually not that complicated and it doesn’t take hugely long either. And it’s one of those dishes that’s really so much better homemade!

Bertolli have a lovely recipe for macaroni cheese with prosciutto and leeks which we’ve adapted by substituting smoked salmon for the ham. This is very much inspired by a fabulous lunch at Mat Follas’ Bramble Cafe a few months ago.

Previously, we’ve always made white sauce by cooking the flour and butter together first to make a roux, and then adding the milk. For a cheese sauce, cheese is simply stirred and melted in to the white sauce. Bertolli’s recipe shortcuts the white sauce by heating butter, flour and milk all at once and to our surprise, it doesn’t result in lumpy sauce – it’s just as silky smooth as the traditional way! Thanks to Bertolli for this wonderful tip; we’ll be making all our white sauce bases this way from now on.

Smoked Salmon and Leek Macaroni Cheese on Kavey Eats 2

Smoked Salmon & Leek Macaroni Cheese Recipe

Adapted from Bertolli’s recipe

Prep 15 mins | Cook 20 mins | Serves 4 | Skill Easy

Ingredients
250 g macaroni or pasta of your choice
15 g Bertolli with Butter
1 small leek, sliced into thin discs
100 g smoked salmon, chopped into thin strips 2-3 cm long
For the cheese sauce
50 g Bertolli with Butter
50 g plain flour
600 ml semi-skimmed milk
0.5 tsp English mustard powder or 1 teaspoon mustard
175 g mature cheddar cheese, grated
25 g Parmesan cheese, grated

Note: This recipe works best with a hollow pasta which the cheese sauce can easily fill. Instead of macaroni, we use penne rigate (ridged tubes cut on the angle, slightly larger in diameter than macaroni).

Method

  • Cook pasta according to packet instructions in boiling salted water. Drain well.
  • Meanwhile melt the Bertolli with Butter and sauté leek until softened. Set aside.
  • Make cheese sauce by placing Bertolli with Butter, flour and milk in a large saucepan and bring to boil, whisking continuously.
  • Make sure your grill shelf allows for the size of the ovenproof dish you are using, then preheat the grill to medium high.
  • Add Cheddar cheese and mustard to the saucepan and stir until completely melted into the sauce.
  • Stir in the cooked pasta, leeks and smoked salmon and mix through well.
  • Pour into an ovenproof dish and sprinkle the top with grated Parmesan.
  • Place ovenproof dish under the grill until golden brown and bubbling.
  • Serve immediately.

If you’d like to serve a side dish with this, I’d recommend either a crisp green salad with a simple homemade vinaigrette dressing or a simple stir fry of courgettes or green beans in butter and garlic.

Smoked Salmon and Leek Macaroni Cheese on Kavey Eats-9008
Smoked Salmon and Leek Macaroni Cheese on Kavey Eats 1

Save for later on Pinterest using this handy recipe collage pin.

Smoked Salmon and Leek Macaroni Cheese on Kavey Eats (Tall Pin)

Kavey Eats was commissioned by Bertolli to develop and publish this recipe.

Save

Save