Salmon-based starters do not get much classier than this. Impressive in looks as well as in
taste, this recipe combines the richness of salmon and crème fraîche with the sharp flavour of Japanese pickled cucumbers (or aokyuuri). A refreshing and visually striking watercress purée completes the ensemble.
300g of salmon fillet 150g of crème fraîche 150g of watercress, roughly chopped 2 lemons, 1 juiced, 1 sliced 50g of japanese pickled cucumber, (aokyuuri) 1 bunch of dill, finely chopped olive oil pinch of black pepper and salt
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
To begin, take your salmon fillets and lay them on some foil, approximately 25cm square. Drizzle with some of the olive oil and season liberally with the salt and pepper then place a few lemon slices on top.
Wrap the foil around the fish to create a bag that is sealed at the edges and place in the oven for 12–15 minutes, or until the salmon is just cooked through.
Take out the salmon and leave it to cool, then flake into a bowl using a fork. Mix in 100g of the crème fraîche and stir in the dill. Finely chop half of the pickled cucumber and add to the bowl, along with a dash of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
For the watercress purée, bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and add the watercress. Cover and bring to the boil again (this should take about 1 minute maximum) then drain and plunge the leaves into a bowl of iced water.
Drain the watercress again, reserving just a couple of tablespoons of the water, then place in a blender and blitz to a purée. Use the leftover water to thin the purée if necessary and season with salt and pepper.
To serve, divide the salmon between glasses then top with a layer of the watercress purée. Finish by dotting some of the remaining crème fraîche in the centre and add half a slice of pickled cucumber to each glass.