13 November 2012

Langoustine bisque with langoustine and salmon mousse ravioli

THIS DISH was not only inspired by my recent lunch at The Kitchin but also from my love for one of Scotland’s finest ingredients – Langoustines.

Sadly, the majority of our beautiful shellfish like crabs and langoustines (or Dublin Bay prawns) are exported to the continent.  I’ll never forget being in a supermarket in Malaga, Spain, and thinking it was great because they had live lobsters, crabs and langoustines then when I asked where they came from the counter assistant replied ‘Scotland’.

She'd have been as well stabbing me in the heart and turned the blade right there on the spot.

In this country you’ll mainly find langoustine tails in the form of scampi but please, don’t be put off by the look or work needed to prepare them; these tasty crustaceans are well worth it.

If you’re looking for a proper ‘wow’ dish for a dinner party, then this is thee one you want to be making.   

Not only does it pack a punch in the flavour department and use our wonderful langoustines, but it allows you to show off your pasta making skills with this really easy, no egg pasta mix that doesn’t even need put through a pasta machine.

INGREDIENTS: (serves 2)
500g langoustines, shelled (method below) keep the tails for the pasta filling
2       Carrots,  diced
2       Shallots, finely chopped
3       Tomatoes, concassed
Good splash, White wine
250ml, Single cream,
Handful of Tarragon, some chopped for garnish
Heaped tablespoon, Tomato puree
150ml, Fish stock

For the pasta
180g ’00’ flour (or plain flour will do the exact same job), sieved
150ml boiling water (you may need more, this requires some judging)

1 Salmon fillet, cooked and flaked
the tails of the shelled langoustine, coarsely chopped
30 mls double cream
White pepper
Pint of Milk
One, Bay leaf
1 tsp Curry powder

  1)  First shell the langoustines by pinching just behind the head in your left hand and at the top of the body with your right.  Pinch and gently pull apart.   
    Take the tail and in a similar motion, pinch it half way down and twist to snap the shell.  Pinch the tail and hold at the break, gently pulling the tail to free the meat and remove the vein (if it doesn’t come out, make a neat incision with a sharp knife and pull out).  Remove the meat from the other half of the shell.  

Set aside in fridge under a damp cloth. Remove the insides of the heads so just the shell remains.  This job can be time consuming but the more you do, the faster you get!
  2)  First make the pasta dough; add salt to the sieved flour then add the boiling water bit by bit, mixing with a pallete knife so you don’t burn your hands.  You just want this to come together, so add more water if too dry or more flour if too loose.  Form into a ball, wrap in cling film and leave to rest for 45 mins- 1 hour at room temperature.
  3) Next make the pasta filling by heating some milk with the curry powder, bay leaf and salt.  Add the langoustine meat just as it comes to the boil then reduce the heat to gently poach the meat, watch not over cook it – this only take a few minutes depending on size. Strain when done. Put the salmon and cream into a blender and season.  Blitz to a nice mousse consistency then fold through the coarsely chopped langoustine pieces.  Refridgerate.

  4)  Pre-heat the oven to 180C.  In a roasting tray or over proof pan, heat some oil (rapeseed is always my choice) until smoking hot then add the shells and heads, and sweat for a few minutes before transferring them to the oven for 10 mins.
  5)  Meanwhile, sweat the shallots and carrots for a few minutes without colouring, add the tomato puree, fresh tomatoes and tarragon and sweat for another 2 mins. 
  6)  Remove the langoustine shells, and bash up with a rolling pin, then add to the mixture.  Deglaze the roasting tin with the white wine and a little hot water, then add that, the fish stock and the cream to the mix and simmer gently for around 25 mins, until slightly reduced.
  7)  Turn off the heat and allow to infuse for 20-25 mins before straining and correcting the seasoning. It should be spoon coating consistency by then.
  8)  Meanwhile, knead the pasta for five minues on a lightly floured surface.  Roll out as thin as possible (it should almost be translucent), then cut to desired shape (I done ravioli, you could easily to tortellinis) and pipe a small ball of the filling in the centre.  Brush around the edge with water, and then do the same on a separate circle of pasta, place on top and seal.

TIP: I like to cut my ravioli one size bigger, really press down the edge of the pasta when filling, then cut with a cutter one size down to ensure it’s neat.
   9)  In some rolling boiling water, add a good pinch of salt and blanch the raviolis for 2-3 mins until al dente.
  10)  Reheat the bisque and ladle into a bowl, place two raviolis in the centre, and sprinkle with some  chopped tarragon.

     Dish inspired by Tom Kitchin, The Kitchin, Edinburgh. www.thekitchin.com Tom's books Kitchin Suppers and From Nature to Plate are available online and from good book shops..

2 November 2012

Smoked Salmon Cheesecake

THIS DISH came about purely by mistake.  I was reading the M+S Christmas food catalogue thinking it was very expensive for what you get and remembered a conversation I had with a colleague of mine about salmon cheesecake and whether or not it would work.  I put the two together and came up with this as a great Christmas starter.


For the base:

1 Small pack oatcakes
50g Butter, melted. 

For the filling:
250g   Smoked salmon, cut into strips (175g chopped)
150ml Double cream
2 Egg whites
250g Soft cream cheese
2 tbsp Horseradish cream (optional)
Zest of a lemon
10g Powdered gelatine
Pinch Cayenne pepper


1) First blitz the oatcakes to a thin crumb.  Melt the butter then mix.  Spoon into a buttered cake tin, press down firmly and chill for an hour.

2) Put the gelatine in cold water. Take the cream and chopped salmon, add the zest and a pinch of salt.  Blitz with a handblender to make a salmon mousse.

3) Fold in the cream cheese, horseradish cream and cayenne before whipping the egg whites to stuff peaks.

4) Gradually fold in the egg whites to the mousse mix, ensuring it's all incorporated and mix in the gelatine.

5) Spoon the mixture onto the base and smooth over with a palette knife.  Place in the fridge to set for at least four hours or over night.

6) Garnish with some whole slithers of salmon and some frisee lettuce (optional).