Monday, August 23, 2010

Salmon, pastry, leeks

We had K. and G., US friends we haven't seen for two years, here for dinner last night, plus their and our friend B. (who very kindly brought a marvellous apple cake for dessert, bless her). K. doesn't eat meat so we started with an antipasto of vege things, including pickled garlic and white bean dip, plus salami for the carnivores and herrings for her.

For the main course I bought a fillet of fresh salmon, creamed it in a white sauce made with wine and fish stock (French stock cubes) as well as milk, and wrapped the result in puff pastry envelopes - half a sheet, filling on one side, eggwash around the edges, pastry folded in half to make a big triangle and carefully sealed, baked at 220C for around 20 minutes.

I'm convinced, though, that my oven is quite seriously underpowered. In Melbourne I looked in Cuisine World, a supply shop for professional and serious home cooks at 245 Elizabeth Street; it had lots of different thermometers, but not one for ovens. I did get a very good baking sheet, and used it under the pastry envelopes.

To go with them, I made up a nice way of doing leeks. I cut all the tender parts into fine rings and microwaved them in half a cup of orange juice. Then I poured the leeky liquid into a small pan and reduced it with more orange juice, lemon juice, blanched orange zest, a splash of orange liqueur, and a little lump of butter. Just before serving I stirred the reduction into the leeks and reheated them. They had a lovely sweet-sharp citrusy flavour that went really well with the rich creamy salmon and pastry, and the colours looked good too. But I can't seem to take decent photos at night, everything goes yellow in the electric light.

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