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Posts Tagged ‘Starter’

White aspargus with serrano ham and chive dressing

We adore this stuff. A piece of salty ham and mustardy dressing are all that’s needed for a delicious starter or light lunch.

Wine Suggestion: given the ham and mustard dressing we chose a bottle of Dönnhoff Liestenberg Riesling Kabinett which was superb. It had a vibrancy and freshness to match the salty fatiness of the ham and the tangy dressing.

White asparagus with serrano ham and chive dressing – serves 4

  • 16 fat white asparagus spears
  • 4 slices serrano ham

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp clear honey
  • 3 tbsp walnut or hazelnut oil
  • 1 tbsp snipped chives

Trim the asparagus and peel the stems with a potato peeler. Boil in salted water for 12-15 mins until the spears are tender, then drain well.

Whisk together the lemon juice, mustard and honey with some salt and pepper. Whisk in the oil, then stir in the chives just before serving.

Divide the warm or cold asparagus between 4 plates. Lay the ham on top and drizzle over the dressing.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Avocado & Broad Bean Mash

This makes a nice light starter to share with some crusty bread, crackers or breadsticks.

Wine Suggestion: Rosé because it matches the mood and season, and also because a good, dry, rosé is both refreshing and a good match for food. Today it was the Ch de la Negly “les Terrasses” from the Languedoc.

Avocado & broad bean mash – serves 4

  • 250g podded broad beans, fresh or frozen
  • a large avocado, peeled and roughly chopped
  • a lemon, finely shave with a peeler to get one long strip of zest, then juice to give 1 ½ tbsp
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced

Bring a pan of salty water to the boil and blanch the beans for 2 minutes, then drain, run under cold water and drain again. Remove the skin from the beans and discard, they should pop off easily. Set 50g of beans aside and put the rest into a food processor with the avocado, lemon juice, 2 tbsp of oil and ¼ tsp salt, then whizz until almost smooth.

Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of oil in a small frying pan, then gently fry the scallions and lemon skin for a minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the reserved broad beans and a pinch of salt.

Check the the avocado and broad bean mixture for seasoning then spread over a plate, making a rim around the edge. Spoon the spring onion mix into the middle just before serving.

(Original recipe from Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi with Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth, Ebury Press, 2018.)

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Smoked Salmon, Horseradish & Dill Crostini

Do try this. It looks like regular smoked salmon crostini but the balance of ingredients is perfect, including the rather generous portion of salmon per toast. Don’t be tempted to scrimp on either quantity or quality!

Wine Suggestion: excellent with sparkling – your choice of Crémant, Champagne, or your local version. Just make sure that it a fresh, more acidic style … Prosecco need not apply as it doesn’t have enough zing for this. Tonight the Soalheiro Espumante, a sparkling made from alvarinho in northern Portugal and wonderfully citrus, vibrant and refreshing.

Smoked salmon, horseradish & dill crostini – makes 20 crostini

  • 250g crème fraîche
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • about 3 tbsp freshly grated horseradish
  • pinch of caster sugar (optional)
  • 1 French stick, cut into discs and lightly toasted
  • 500g thinly sliced top quality smoked salmon
  • 20 dill sprigs
  • lemon juice

Make the horseradish cream by mixing together the crème fraîche, mustard and horseradish. Season with salt and pepper and add a little sugar if it tastes tart.

Put a generous slice of salmon in each piece of toast and top with a spoonful of horseradish cream. Decorate with a sprig of dill. Add a few drops of lemon juice and some black pepper before serving.

(Original recipe from Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook (of sorts) by Russell Norman, Bloomsbury, 2012.)

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Bandari fishcakes

These Persian fishcakes are full of herbs and make a delicious starter or light lunch. They can be made up in advance and cooked when you need them.

Wine Suggestion: the only option here is a youthful, light, off-dry Riesling where the aromatics, herbs, date and tamarind all play with each other. Tonight we drank the Dr Loosen Estate Riesling, his entry level wine made with his own fruit in the Mosel and it was an excellent match. Along with the Mosel we’d recommend the fruity styles (Kabinett & Spätlese) from other German regions such as the Nahe and Rheingau. Further afield the Aussie Rieslings tend to be too dry for a dish like this but there are some excellent NZ examples, Forrest Estate and Felton Rd spring to mind.

Bandari fishcakes with a tamarind and date sauce (Kuku-ye mahi) – serves 4

  • 300g potatoes, peeled and roughly diced
  • 200g white fish fillets e.g. cod/haddock
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 50g coriander, finely chopped
  • 25g parsley, finely chopped – plus extra to garnish
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaf (menthi)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • 1 medium egg
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 3 tbsp sunflower or olive oil

FOR THE TAMARIND & DATE SAUCE:

  • 50g tamarind pulp soaked in 100ml just boiled water for 10 minutes
  • 75g Iranian or Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • 150ml hot water

Put the potatoes into a large pan and cover with cold water. Add a generous pinch of salt and bring to the boil, then simmer until tender. Drain, mash the potatoes, and put into a large mixing bowl.

Add the fish to the potatoes. Dry fry the cumin seeds in a small frying pan for a minute or until fragrant. Grind the seeds with a pestle and mortar, then add to the bowl along with the fresh herbs, fenugreek leaf, garlic, cayenne, turmeric, lemon zest, egg, 1¼ tsp of salt and ¼ tsp of pepper.

Mix well with your hands, then shape into eight round patties. Dust with a little flour and place on a plate, cover with cling film and chill.

To make the sauce, put the tamarind and its soaking liquid, the dates, brown sugar, cayenne, cinnamon and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan. Add the hot water and cook for 10 minutes over a low heat until the dates are very soft.

Take the sauce off the heat and sieve into a bowl, use the back of a spoon to rub as much through as possible.

To finish the fishcakes, heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the cakes on a medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes, turning every few minutes, until golden brown and crusted. Garnish with parsley and serve with the sauce.

(Original recipe from The Saffron Tales by Yasmin Khan, Bloomsbury, 2016.)

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Smoked Mackerel Loaded Leaves

This is the kind of nibble we like before dinner. Really tasty but light so it won’t spoil your appetite. Radicchio and/or chicory leaves are preferable but if you can’t find these you can substitute Little Gem lettuce – as we did.

Wine Suggestion: Your choice of bubbles, whether it’s Prosecco, Cremant, Cava or Champagne

Smoked Mackerel Loaded Leaves – serves 4-8

  • 200g smoked mackerel fillets, skin removed and flaked
  • 4 tbsp crème fraîche
  • juice and zest of ½ lemon
  • small bunch of chives, snipped
  • small handful of dill, chopped
  • 1 small radicchio, separated into leaves
  • 1-2 chicory heads separated into leaves

Gently mix the mackerel with the crème fraîche, lemon juice, half the herbs and some pepper. Chill until ready to serve.

Spoon generous amounts of the mackerel mixture into each leaf and arrange on a plates or a platter. Sprinkle over the remaining herbs and the lemon zest.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Smoked salmon & crab timbales with cucumber parpadelle

This luxurious starter of smoked salmon timbales filled with creamy crab can be made up to a day ahead. You do need to find big slices of smoked salmon as you need to completely line the moulds to stop the filling leaking out.

Wine Suggestion: as befits the occasion these go great with bubbly. We love good Champagne, but have recently been sampling various Cremants from around France and enjoying the variation and character each brings. With this we served the Manciat Poncet Cremant de Bourgogne which our friend brought along to dinner.

Smoked salmon timbales with cucumber pappardelle – serves 8

  • 12 large slices of smoked salmon
  • 225g full-fat soft cheese
  • 100-150ml sour cream
  • 100g white crab meat
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh dill, plus some sprigs to garnish
  • lemon wedges, to garnish

FOR THE CUCUMBER PAPPARDELLE:

  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 150ml olive oil
  • a few black peppercorns
  • 1-2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 large cucumber peeled

Line eight 100ml ramekins with the smoked salmon making sure there are not gaps and hanging it well over the sides.

Beat the cheese to soften and mix in 100ml soured cream – loosen with a little more cream if still too firm to spoon.

Pick over the crab and remove any tiny bits of shell. Stir into the cheese with the chopped dill and season. Spoon into the moulds and fold over the overhanging salmon, then cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for 2 hours (you can do this up to a day ahead).

Make the dressing for the cucumber. Put the sugar and 3 tbsp of water int a small saucepan and bring quickly to a simmer. Add the lemon zest and juice, oil and peppercorns, then taste and add 1-2 tsp of vinegar. Season with salt. Return to the boil, then cool (this can also be made up to a day ahead).

Use a swivel peeler to shave long strips of cucumber until you get to the seeds. Discard the centre. Don’t do this any more than 30 minutes beforehand or it will go soggy.

To serve, unwrap and run a knife between the salmon and the ramekins to pop them out onto plates. Strain the dressing through a sieve, mix a few tablespoons with the cucumber and arrange next to the timbales. Garnish with lemon wedges and dill and drizzle over some more dressing.

(Original recipe by Gary Rhodes in BBC Good Food Magazine, December 2004.)

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Rosemary and cheese straws 1

Who knew cheese straws could be so tasty? These are a great freezer standby to pull out and bake as needed and they work perfectly with pre-dinner drinks. They are definitely best served warm so don’t bake until your guests have arrived and have drinks in hands.

Wine Suggestion: Champagne and if not in your budget, a really good sparkling with a bit of time on the lees. We don’t know anyone who refuses this combination!

Rosemary & Cheese Straws – makes 36

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 375g pack of ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry
  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped rosemary, plus a bit extra
  • 100g gruyère or emmental, finely grated
  • 2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan
  • sea salt, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

Mix 1 egg yolk with the mustard and stir until smooth, then set aside.

Lightly flour a work surface and open out the pastry, then prick all over with a fork. Brush the egg and mustard mixture over the pastry.

Sprinkle the rosemary over the pastry, followed by the cheeses and lightly press into the pastry. Cut the pastry sheet in half lengthways, then cut each length widthways into 2cm wide strips. Twist the strips gently.

Put the straws onto two large non-stick baking trays or trays lined with parchment. Press the ends of each twist onto the tray. Beat the remaining egg yolk with a teaspoon of water and brush over the twists, then sprinkle with the additional rosemary and sea salt. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until puffed and golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool a little but serve while still warm.

To Freeze: Make the straws up to the point of twisting, then arrange on a large baking tray and freeze, uncovered, until solid, then pack into a freezer-proof box. To serve, remove from the freezer and glaze with the egg yolk (as above) and bake from frozen for 12 to 15 minutes.

(Original recipe by Henry Harris in BBC Good Food Magazine, November, 2001.)

Rosemary and cheese straws 2

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