Taking a lesson from my previous post, I’m showing you a dish that’s all in the presentation. Let’s not tell anyone that your main ingredient comes directly out of a packet. Nor that your gourmet dribbles either come out of a bottle you bought in the supermarket, or are a simple mix of mayo and olive oil. Not all gorgeous dishes need to be difficult. I promise you, this dish takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish, and the only tricky techniques are using a mandolin or peeler, and dribbling sauce off a teaspoon.
- 1 large green zucchini
- 200g smoked salmon packet (sliced)
- 1 baby fennel bulb
- 1 ½ tsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. balsamic glaze
- 1/2 tsp. mayonnaise
- fresh ground black pepper
- finely sliced red chilli (optional)
- lime rind (optional)
- Mix the mayonnaise and 1/2 tsp olive oil well, and drip carefully around the outside of the plate. Do the same with the balsamic glaze.
- Take a griddle pan and place on a high heat. Add a teaspoon of oil and use a brush to make sure it gets in all the gaps and ridges.
- Using a mandolin or large potato peeler, slice your zucchini into thin discs. Place onto hot grill, and cook for approx. 1 minute each side, or until grill lines start to appear. Arrange on a plate in a circular fan pattern.
- Take your smoked salmon and arrange atop the zucchini.
- Use the mandolin again to finely slice the fennel, and add this to the top of the salmon.
- Grind black pepper over the entire plate, and add chilli and lime zest if desired.
- Serves 2
- Make sure you use a plain plate. The colour does not matter so much, but the dish is decorative, so you don’t want to have clashing patterns. White is best to show up the sauce dribbles.
- You could use many different highlight flavours in this dish. Perhaps some thick soy sauce and sweet chilli for the drizzles instead? Or maybe you might like to use some orange wedges to add sweetness, or some dill leaves to add freshness. You could also add soft-boiled quail eggs.
- Likewise, it would be easy to alter the basic flavours. Cucumber ribbons, or grilled beetroot would make a lovely base, or even potatoes (cook them a little slower and longer). You could also try a different protein – smoked mackerel shards or beef bresaola for example. Just make sure it is rich in flavour, and something that doesn’t look to clunky when in a little pile.
- Always do your decorations first – this way if you mess it up, you can wash your plate with ease and start again.
Important information to factor
- Cooking talent required: Not much at all. All the effort goes in the presentation.
- Time taken: 10 minutes or less
- Serves: 4
- Nutrition (per serving): 139 kCal, 6g fat, 5g carb, 17.5g protein. Woohoo, skinny and low carb! Not very filling though.
- Environmental/sustainability rating: This depends very much on the quality of your salmon. Try and buy wild or sustainably farmed salmon.