The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Friday, 9 February 2007

Oh smoked salmon, how shall I use thee?

One of the benefits of teaching at a marine school is that I get to buy fish that the students prepare. The fish are always of superb quality, and the price is usually half that you get in the supermarket. The smoked salmon is no exception, but it is somewhat of a rare treat. It is so valued that I have observed the teachers at my school lining up up to half an hour just to make sure that they don't miss out.

Now, both Rob and I are (were?) not big fans of smoked salmon. From experience, the slimy texture and the salty taste of most smoked salmon we've had back home in Perth leaves a lot to be desired. However, thanks to the raving reviews of these smoked salmon from the teachers, I just could not resist buying one pack. It was an excellent buy at 1200yen for an 800g piece (or so the teachers say - I wouldn't know, since I've not bought smoked salmon before). And it was so good! So good, in fact, that I can say that they were the best smoked salmon I've ever had!

Prepared, smoked and packaged by the students:

So how did I use these beauties? I surprised even myself with the various ways I've managed to use the salmon. My favourite from the lot? The open-top sandwich was pretty damn tasty. The recipe for the pasta is included.

Japanese-style: Smoked salmon onigiri - rice ball with smoked salmon filling and coated with roasted sesame seeds. Sushi - with julienned cucumber and carrot. Chirashi-style with crab and ikura (salmon roe).

Western-style: Open-top sandwiches with homebaked wholemeal bread, dill butter, sliced tomatoes, caramelised onion rings, sauteed mushrooms and grated carrot. Spaghetti with a creamy sauce similar to carbonara (I think that smoked salmon has a similar smokey salty taste as bacon).

Smoked salmon spaghetti carbonara

1 tablespoon olive oil
Half of a medium-sized onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
A slosh of white wine vinegar
200g smoked salmon, diced
125mL cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
herbs (I used sage, parsley and dill)
pepper to taste
spaghetti, cooked al-dente

Heat oil and saute the onion over medium heat until soft and transparent. Add the garlic and cook for a minute until fragrant. Deglaze the pan with a splash of the white wine vinegar and then add the salmon and cream and simmer for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and add the egg, hot (freshly cooked and drained) spaghetti, herbs and pepper and toss well. Serve.