Salmon en croute, Asya Kapitonova ‘s absolute favorite, so I always love to make it for my BUX colleagues. Together with a potato gratin and a french bean salad, yum. Try this at home and let me know what you think. Good old Jamie O nailed it again! -enjoy-
Ingredients (serves 8)
1 small knob butter
200 ml semi-skimmed milk
300 ml double cream
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic , peeled and finely sliced
freshly ground black pepper
2.5 kg potatoes , peeled and thinly sliced
1 handful fresh thyme
1 small handful Parmesan cheese , freshly grated
6 rashers higher-welfare streaky bacon , chopped
Optional: 1 handful vac-packed chestnuts , peeled and crumbled
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Butter the inside of an ovenproof dish, around 30cm x 30cm, and at least 6cm deep.
Pour the milk and cream into a wide pan with the bay leaves and garlic. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for a minute or two. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
Add the potatoes and most of the thyme leaves and stir well. Spoon into the gratin dish and shake to even everything out. Sprinkle with the Parmesan then cover with an oiled piece of foil. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a little olive oil until crispy and golden. Add the remaining thyme and stir in the chestnuts. When your gratin is ready, remove the foil and spoon the bacon and chestnut mixture over the top. Pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes until gorgeous and crispy on top.
French bean salad
Ingredients (serves 4)
4 handfuls French beans , stalk ends removed
2-3 heaped teaspoons French mustard , to taste
2 tablespoons good-quality white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1 medium shallot , peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon capers , optional
½ clove garlic , finely grated
1 small handful fresh chervil , optional
Bring a pan of water to a fast boil, add your beans, put a lid on the pan, and cook for at least 4 to 5 minutes. Boiling the beans fast like this helps them to retain all their nutrients. Meanwhile, put the mustard and vinegar into a jam jar or bowl and, while stirring, add the olive oil to make a good hot French dressing. Season carefully with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then add the finely chopped shallot, the capers if you’re using them and the garlic.
Remove one of the beans from the pan to check if it’s cooked. If it holds its shape but is also soft to the bite, it’s perfect. Drain in a colander. Now, while the beans are steaming hot, this is the perfect moment to dress them – a hot bean will take on more of the wonderful dressing than a cold one. It is best to serve the beans warm, not cold, and certainly not at fridge temperature because the flavours will be muted and boring. Serve the beans in a bowl, sprinkled with chervil if you like – it’s a delicate, crunchy herb that goes well with beans. Serve as a salad in its own right, or as an accompaniment to a main meal.