Creamy salmon gratin
Preparation time: 40 minutes. Cooking time: 40 minutes.
This is the ultimate comfort food. It’s inspired by my old German flatmate. She was great at cooking hearty food and knew what to do with a pot of cream. I would come home to find the kitchen smelling heavenly. She always made cooking the dish look easy, so I tried it myself and found that, in fact, it is.
I can only describe it as ‘the dish that does everything’ because I think it can be adapted to suit almost every eating situation. It’s nice to cook for yourself, particularly if you’re one of those people who likes to cook in ‘bulk’. Make a tray of it to keep in the fridge for a couple of days, then heat up portions in the microwave.
It’s also great to cook for friends; either a dinner party or when someone pops over. It can be prepared in advance so you’re not flapping round the kitchen after your guest have arrived. You can prepare it up to a few hours in advance and refrigerate until your friends are in the vicinity, at which point you can bung it in the oven and pour them a glass of white wine. Make sure it’s reheated and piping hot all the way through before you serve.
Listen to the recipe podcast:
500g (18oz) new potatoes
15g (½ oz) butter
3 medium cloves garlic, crushed
150ml semi skimmed or skimmed milk
pinch of salt
240g (8 1/2 oz) salmon steaks or salmon fillets
1 ½ tsp cornflour
150ml single cream
40g (1 ½ oz) dill, chopped as finely as possible
150g (5 1/2 oz) spinach
Small sprinkle grated nutmeg, approx. 1/4 tsp
½ tbsp olive oil
70g (2 ½ oz) mature cheddar cheese
A Pyrex dish approximately 16cm x 22cm
1 lb loaf tin or small roasting tin
approximately 20cm x 25cm.
Preheat the oven to 200˚c.
Cook potatoes in a pan of boiling water for about 6 minutes just to par boil them, they should be slightly soft on the outside but not cooked through. Drain potatoes and set them aside to cool.
Grease the tin or dish you are using.
Using the pan used for the potatoes, melt the butter and fry the garlic in this for about 30 seconds. Add the milk and salt and warm until almost boiling, place the salmon in the mixture to poach and cover. Gently simmer on a low heat for about 5 minuets until the salmon is almost cooked through.
Open the cold cream and sit the cornflour into the pot, ensuring there are no lumps remaining.
Remove the salmon from the saucepan and place on a chopping board. Remove the skin and any large bones and flake it into small pieces.
Add the cold cream and cornflour mixture to the milk in the pan. Warm up the cream mixture gently, stirring all the time until almost simmering. Be careful not to scorch the cream. You will find this mixture should gradually thicken.
Your potatoes should be cool enough to handle now, so you can slice them as thinly as possible.
Arrange half the salmon on the base of the tin, followed by half the dill, half the spinach, nutmeg and a little less than half the potatoes. Pour half the cream over this and repeat with the remaining salmon, dill, spinach and cream. Finish off by covering with a layer of potatoes. These should cover the top completely and overlap, so as to keep in the moisture while the dish is cooking.
Drizzle the gratin with olive oil. Cook this in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes until the potatoes are crispy on top. Sprinkle with cheese and cook for another 10 minutes until piping hot and the cheese is golden.
Serve warm with salad or steamed vegetables.
Listen to the recipe podcast: