50g soft brown or demerara sugar
20g sea salt
50ml sesame oil
400g salmon fillet
150g white rice (any sort will do)
50g loose tea leaves
600g floury potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
50g melted butter, plus extra for frying
150g powdered coconut or 100g desiccated coconut
5 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 bunch fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus wedges to serve
Polenta and desiccated coconut
for coating (approx 50g polenta
and 3 tbsp coconut)
1 tbsp olive oil
(sh) For the lemon hollandaise
1 large free-range egg, plus 3 yolks
4 tbsp lemon juice
250g unsalted butter
1. Mix together the sugar, salt and sesame oil. Cover the salmon flesh completely with the sugar mixture and leave it to cure, covered, in the fridge for 40 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, line a wok or roasting tin with foil. Tip in the rice and tea leaves, mixing them together. Place a cake cooling rack over the rice.
3. Remove the salmon from the fridge and scrape most of the sugar and salt mix off the flesh. Place the fillet skin-side down on the cooling rack. Cover the wok or tin with foil, sealing it around the edges and making sure there’s room for the smoke to circulate. Turn on the extractor fan and open the windows.
4. Place the wok or roasting tin over a high flame until it begins to smoke, then turn the heat down a little (it should still be fairly high). Smoke the fish for 8 minutes, keeping a close eye on it. When ready, the salmon should be an almost glassy pink-brown and not quite cooked through.
5. Remove the salmon from the heat and set aside to cool. Peel off the skin, scrape off the brown bloodline,then break the smoked fish into large flakes.
6. To make the fishcakes, boil the potato in salted water until tender, then drain and mash with the melted butter. Add the powdered coconut (or desiccated coconut), spring onion, coriander, lemon zest and seasoning. Mix together, gently but thoroughly, then leave to cool.
7. Fold through the smoked salmon, taking care not to break up the fish flakes too much. You can refrigerate the mixture until ready to cook (up to 24 hours ahead of time).
8. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Divide the mixture into 6 and shape into cakes. Put the polenta and desiccated coconut mixture in a baking tray and coat the cakes all over. Heat the oil and a little butter in a heavy-based frying pan, then fry the cakes, in batches, until golden on both sides. Transfer the cakes to a baking paper-lined tray and bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.
9. Meanwhile, make the lemon hollandaise. In a stainless steel bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolks and lemon juice. Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (make sure the bottom isn’t touching the water) and whisk continuously until the mixture begins to thicken. Melt the butter until it foams, then remove the egg mix from the heat. Whisking continuously, very slowly pour in the hot melted butter.
10. Once all the butter has been incorporated, taste and adjust the seasoning. Cover with cling film and set aside in a warm place until ready to use. To serve, place one fishcake on each plate and spoon over a generous helping of hollandaise. I like to serve this with wilted spinach, a poached egg and lemon wedges, for squeezing over.
- If you can’t summon the will to smoke your own salmon or you’re short of time, you can buy good fish – I’d suggest smoked mackerel or haddock – from your local fishmonger or supermarket. If you do try the home smoking, be sure to work in a well ventilated area. You can freeze the uncooked fishcakes and defrost fully before cooking.