Hot smoked salmon baked in leek and mustard sauce

One thing that has helped enormously in the sustainable fish campaign is farmed salmon. It had a bit of a shaky start to be sure, but is now much improved in quality and is plentiful and available all the year round. What's missing of course is the unique flavour of the wild, but in compensation the added touch of smokiness that comes with the hot smoked version does give an extra dimension.The hot smoking process - smoking it at up to 65C for about 10 hours as compared with the five days involved in cold smoking - does leave the fish beautifully moist, and it's also sold in boned-out fillets, which makes it easy and accessible for the cook.The recipe here is so easy: after a hard day you can simply throw it all together, put your feet up and sip something cool while it transforms itself in the oven without needing attention.

Serves 2

Hot smoked salmon baked in leek and mustard sauce
 2 x 175g hot smoked salmon fillets
 2 medium leeks, cleaned, halved and cut into thin slices
 2 heaped tbsp crème fraîche
 3 tbsp dry vermouth
 3 heaped tsp grain mustard
 a little butter


Pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Start off by laying a square of foil over a baking tray (it has to be large enough to fold over to cover the salmon in a parcel).

Now butter the surface of the foil lightly, then arrange the chopped leeks over it and add some seasoning. Next arrange the salmon pieces on top of the leeks and season them as well.

Now measure the crème fraîche into a bowl, add the vermouth then stir in the grain mustard and some salt and pepper. Pour this mixture all over the salmon and leeks, then bring the ends of the foil over the salmon and squeeze them together to form an airy envelope around all the ingredients.

Place the baking tray in the centre of the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until the leeks have cooked into the sauce (when opening the foil be careful not to let any of the precious sauce drain away). Leaf spinach and tiny potatoes would be good with this.

Note: dry vermouth is a great cook's ingredient. It’s inexpensive and available at most supermarkets.

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