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Baked Salmon and Sorrel Creams

The sharp, almost lemony flavour or sorrel leaves contrasts beautifully with fresh salmon. Supermarkets sell them now, but if they're not available young spinach leaves or even outer lettuce leaves can be used instead. The leaves are used to make a kind of casing around the salmon, which looks very pretty.

 
 
 Baked Salmon and Sorrel Creams

  Serves 6 as a starter

Ingredients
 6 oz (175 g) fillet of salmon
 2 oz (50 g) young sorrel or spinach leaves, de-stalked and washed
 8 fl oz (225 ml) milk
 5 fl oz (150 ml) double cream
 2 level teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
 4 egg yolks
 1 bay leaf
 1 blade of mace
 Salt and freshly milled black pepper
To garnish:
 watercress
 Preheat the oven to gas mark 3, 325°F (170°C).
Oven temperatures and Conversions
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Equipment
You will also need 6 x 4 fl oz (110 ml) ramekins, lightly buttered, and a baking sheet.

Method

First steam the sorrel leaves for 1 minute only using a fan steamer. Pat them dry and line the ramekins with them. You'll probably find a pastry brush is helpful here to ease the leaves into place. Overlap them so as not to leave any gaps, and allow the tops to hang over the dish edges as they can be folded in afterwards. Now to deal with the fish, place it in a saucepan along with the milk, bay leaf and blade of mace, add some salt and pepper, then bring it up to simmering point and simmer for 4 minutes exactly – no more, as it needs to be really moist.

Strain the milk into a jug, then flake the salmon into large flakes and divide them equally among the ramekins, sprinkling in the chopped tarragon and a little seasoning. Return the milk to the saucepan, add the cream and heat gently while you whisk the egg yolks in the jug the milk was in. As soon as the milk mixture barely simmers, pour it over the eggs, whisk again thoroughly, then pour the whole lot into the ramekins. Fold any overlapping leaves over the mixture, then transfer them on the baking sheet to a highish shelf in the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes or until the centres of the creams are just set and the tops turning brown. Remove them from the oven and leave them for 10-15 minutes to settle before turning them out on to warmed serving dishes. Garnish with watercress and serve straight away. These also taste good served with some young salad leaves dressed with Lemon Vinaigrette.

 

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