Souffled Arbroath Smokie Creams
This is a very old favourite that never fails to delight. It’s easy, can be prepared in advance and fulfils all the criteria of a really good first course. You can buy the smokies online from Alex Spinks & Son
This recipe is from Delia's Happy Christmas. Serves 8 as a starter
Begin by carefully skinning and boning the Arbroath smokies – you’ll find the flesh will part very easily from the bones. (You should have about 8–10 oz/225–275 g of flesh after this.)
Flake the fish and place it in a blender or food processor, along with a little salt, freshly milled black pepper and a good grating of nutmeg. Blend until the fish has turned to a smooth, even pulp, then blend in the lightly beaten eggs.
Next add the cream, and whiz everything together till combined.
After that, preheat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F, 190°C.
Fill the roasting tin with about 1 in (2.5 cm) of boiling water and put this on the centre shelf of the oven.
Now line the base and sides of each ramekin with smoked salmon – don’t worry that you’re doing this in pieces and patches as it won’t show when they’re finally turned out. Divide the fish mixture between the ramekins, then place them in the roasting tin.
Cook for exactly 30 minutes.
To serve, turn the creams out on to plates by holding each ramekin with a cloth, sliding a small palette knife round the edge and tipping the creams upside down very briefly on to the palm of your hand (they will be very hot), then straight on to a plate the right way up.
Serve with Hollandaise sauce and garnish each one with a sprig of watercress.
Note: If you wish to make these ahead, when they've had 30 minutes in the oven remove the ramekins from the tin and leave them to cool. When cold, cover each one with clingfilm and transfer to the freezer.
To reheat, remove the clingfilm and place the ramekins in a shallow roasting tin.
Pour in 1 inch (2.5cm) boiling water from the kettle and cook the creams for 30 minutes at gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C).