The Friday Feast | 8 June, 2024

Salmon three ways. Giggity.

We’ve been sitting on some sad salmon news. Perhaps we’ve been in denial, hoping for redemption, or praying for an 11th-hour solution. It seems none are upon us. At the end of June, we’ll be saying goodbye to Ben Pyka and his 41 Degrees South products. We’ll discuss what Ben means to us another time. For now, enjoy these easy dishes that put Ben’s delicious salmon front and centre in this week’s Friday Feast.

Cauliflower and gruyere soup w/ hot smoked salmon.

It has been brought to our attention that we have not posted the soup recipe. Apologies. Here is that recipe. We prepped this one (sans salmo salar) at the market for a demo a couple of weeks ago. The masterstroke was grilling the gruyere cheese, so it was caramelised and melty before it went into the blender with the soup. Use white pepper for the seasoning, and be careful with the salt, particularly if you’re using chicken stock. One of the great things about Ben’s product is that it can be gently warmed or even briefly seared to produce a crust without changing or ruining it. You can’t say this about most cured salmon or fish products out there.

Shred the fish and warm it briefly under the grill with a good drizz of olive oil. When it’s warm, give it a squeeze and zest with lemon, sprinkle on some chopped chives, a lick of cracked black, and toss. Garnish soup. We’ve seen this exact dish reduce grown adults to simpering fools, in a nice way. Note: this principle applies to many soups. If cauliflower isn’t yo’ thang, try this dank winter mushroom soup featuring coral mushrooms and rooting shank.

Pasta w/ salmon, brassicas, and chilli

Simple, simple, simple. It’s the motto of pasta. Moreover, you would, in theory, have to walk no further than about 50 meters in the market to source these ingredients. All three stalls you need are either next to or opposite one another. The Grain Family’s handmade organic pasta, Yang’s 4 Season’s brassicas, and, of course, Ben’s salmon.

Begin by cooking the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. While the pasta cooks, blanch broccolini and brussels sprout leaves in seasoned water. Next, heat a pan. Add: drizz, butter, and chilli flakes, followed by garlic slices and a piece of lemon zest. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and just starting to turn golden. Toss in broccolini and sprout leaves, and sauté briefly to coat and finish everything off. A bit of water is helpful here; it will stop the garlic changing from delightfully toasty to burnt, which it does quickly.

Drain the pasta, reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the skillet, with the reserved cooking water and more butter to create a light sauce. Gently fold in flaked hot smoked salmon. Be careful not to break it up too much, and check the seasoning. Serve immediately, garnished with freshly grated Parmesan and a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten the flavours.

WIth roast vegetable medley.

Ha! Medley has such early 90s cafe overtones. We don’t love the word, but in principle, the dish is a fantastic one. Simple, wintery, vegetable-y goodness that your mum would be happy about.

Preheat your oven to 200°C. Peel and chop a mix of winter root vegetables, such as Wouter’s adorable little fingerling potatoes, parsnips, beets, and sweet potatoes, into bite-sized pieces. Don’t be shy to try something new, either. Broccoli roasts well, but peel the fibrous outer coating from the stems. Swede is underrated. Pumpkins are great right now. Go to town. Toss your chosen veg with olive oil and many sprigs from various woody herds. Season with Ben’s ginseng seasoning. Spread the vegetables on a baking tray and roast until tender and caramelised, turning halfway through, about 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare a cutesy little vinaigrette by whisking together Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, honey, and olive oil. Once the vegetables are roasted, arrange them on a serving platter and flake the hot smoked salmon over the top. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and garnish with fresh parsley. The earthy sweetness of the roasted vegetables pairs perfectly with the smoky, rich salmon — a healthy, easy, one-pan wonder.

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