Tuesday 17 March 2009

Smoked, Cured & Air Dried - The Ancient Art of Perserving Meat and Fish

Platter of Smoked & Cured English Meats

Hebridean Peat Smoked Sea Trout and Norfolk Smoked Mackerel Pate in Oatcake Cups

I catered to a party this week end where the host wanted me to choose the menu entirely. This is always a large blank canvas opportunity and instead of my usual seasonal influences I was drawn to preserved meat and fish. Man has been preserving his protein for millennia. It's a rather fascinating process if one stops to think about it. How did he work out how to do this, through smoking, hanging and more bizarely, rotting in some cases?

All was from the wealth of excellent choices from the British Isles, from rare breeds and wild game; all from small and remarkable producers who are strongly connected to the land and sea from where they farm and fish.

Here is the menu

Air Dried Herdwick Mutton with English Quince
Air Dried Galloway Beef on Potato Pancake with Damson Jelly
Beech Smoked Haunch of Roe Deer with Avocado
Wild Boar Cumberland Procuitto with Goats Curd
Smoked Widgeon with Rocket & Lemon
Confit of Aylesbury Duck on Fennel Biscuits with Fig Compot
Peat Smoked Hebridean Sea Trout Served on Pea Blinis with Creme Fraiche
Norfolk Smoked Mackeral Pate in Oatcake Cups
Norfolk Smoked Eel on Pea Blinis & Dill

This was as sumptious and rich as deep burgundy velvet curtains; old leather armchairs and dried rosebuds.  I hesitated over the avocado, but the texture of avocado matched so well with the roe deer, and thus allowed the presence of our air freighted guest amongst such esteemed indiginous company. It was a welcome companion.

I include the recipe for Smoke Mackeral Pate as everything else is just as it says.

Smoked Mackeral Pate

  • 2 fillets of smoked mackerel
  • 225gm cottage cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon creme fraiche
  • juice of one lemon
  • a decent pinch of Cayenne pepper
  • black pepper
Method: Simply blend all of the above.

It's a popular cocktail or canapes. Delicious spread on toast or crostini or in this case oatcake cups. Garnish with a chive.

1 comment:

  1. Sarah, your blog is full of really unusual recipes and I love that you use fresh seasonal and regionally sourced ingredients - besides that your information posted is extremely helpful and novel. Such a pleasure! x


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