This weekend I made the starter course for my Gourmet lunch club, which entails making a dish for the first time which is then paired with 3 wines. As we have been doing these lunches for several years now, it is always challenging to find a new dish that I have never made before. I decided that I would create a dish using core ingredients from the French Market shop. I selected the Norwegian smoked salmon as my starting point, the 200g pack is thickly sliced and has an excellent taste and texture. I decided to stuff this with the delicious American cream cheese that I have. It is made near New Orleans for a French company. My concept was to make a log shaped salmon roll stuffed with cream cheese. Then I gave myself the extra challenge of doing 2 layers of different coloured fillings. I used fresh lemon juice to soften the cheese and added grated lemon zest and fresh parsley to half of the mixture. I added cooked beetroot to the other half of cream cheese and blended it. I used a layer of smoked salmon and basil, from my garden, to separate the two fillings then wrapped the whole lot up with layers of salmon. When I sliced through the roll, the different layers of colouring were impressive although aesthetically I realised the beetroot red rather clashed with the orangey pink of the salmon. You could play with different ingredients to get other colours. The flavours were wonderful together. I served each slice on a bed of baby lettuce mixed with fresh herbs. I paired this dish with a subtle sauvignon blanc and found this really brought out the taste of the lemon. I would recommend pairing with “La Moussiere” a single vineyard Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc) from Alphonse Mellot available at the French Market shop.
Ingredients for 8 guests as a starter or light main course
- 600g smoked salmon thick slices
- 500g cream cheese
- 1 large ripe lemon
- Several basil leaves chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh parsley chopped
- 1 medium size beetroot
- Salt and black pepper
- Baby lettuce and fresh herbs for serving
- Boil the beetroot for about 20 minutes until tender. Allow to cool, peel and chop
- Take a 1 kilo log shaped mold, line it first with cling wrap
- Line the base and sides with layers of smoked salmon until covered, place in fridge
- Grate zest of lemon then cut in half and squeeze out juice
- Put cream cheese in mixing bowl
- Add half the lemon juice to cream cheese and blend together
- Add salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Separate mixture into 2 bowls
- Add the chopped parsley to one half and blend
- Add in the lemon zest and mix in with a spoon
- Take chopped beetroot and other half of cream cheese and blend until smooth
- Layer the base of the salmon mold with chopped basil leaves
- Spoon lemon mixture over the full length of the base of the mold and smooth it flat, it will come about half way up the mold
- Completely cover this mixture with strips of smoked salmon length ways
- Spoon the second mixture over the smoked salmon layer and smooth the surface
- Cover the top with a layer of salmon so that it reaches to the edges and completely covers the mixture
- Cover with cling wrap and place in fridge until serving.
- To serve, prepare individual plates with a handful of fresh salad and herbs covered with a light olive oil and lemon juice dressing
- Turn the salmon roll out of its mold and remove the cling wrap.
- Carefully slice the salmon roll into thick slices using a very sharp, thin bladed knife and place a slice on each plate. The mixture can be a bit soft so take care when slicing.
Serve straight away with a glass of La Moussiere Sancerre wine from the Loire valley.