And so this is Christmas ….(thanks John Lennon) – and it is certainly upon us. It means different things to different people but it is a wonderful opportunity, whatever your faith or otherwise, to get together with family and loved ones.
It’s a time to cook, share and celebrate and cognisant that Happy Ali readers are global we have a mix of recipes for you this year. If you prefer something traditional you can always look at last year’s menu.
For seafood lovers, you can serve this Roast Salmon either hot, warm or cold. It uses a very clever technique of having a whole salmon boned out, then put back together again for easy serving.
There is salsa verde in between the fillets and also as a sauce on the side. Potato and Rocket and Heirloom Tomato Salads are the perfect accompaniment.
The other advantage of this combo is that it can all be prepared in advance, leaving you free to enjoy your guests.
Salmon Fillets with Salsa Verde, Potato and Rocket Salad and Heirloom Tomato Salad
Preparation 15 minutes
Cooking 45 minutes
2 x 1kg salmon fillets, skin on, cut from two sides of the same fish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Potato and Rocket Salad
1.2kg Kipfler potatoes, scrubbed
1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon (20ml) red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons parsley, roughly chopped
300g rocket leaves
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 clove garlic
1 cup flat-leaf parsley
1 cup basil leaves
2 tablespoons drained capers, rinsed
2 tablespoons (40ml) lemon juice
2/3 cup (160ml) olive oil
Heirloom Tomato Salad
800g mixed heirloom tomatoes
½ bunch mint, leaves removed
½ bunch basil, leaves removed
¼ (60ml) olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan-forced).
- For the potato and rocket salad, place potatoes in a large baking dish, drizzle with one tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden. Whisk remaining ¼ cup olive oil with red wine vinegar and parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place rocket in a serving bowl, top with onion and cooled potatoes. Drizzle with dressing just before serving.
- For salsa verde, blend or process garlic, parsley, basil, capers, lemon juice until finely chopped. Add 1/3 cup olive oil and process to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper and divide in half – half will be spread between the salmon fillets and the remaining half served as a sauce with the cooked salmon.
- Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Place eight x 30cm lengths of cooking string vertically on top. This makes tying the filled salmon sides together much easier.
- Remove any bones from salmon fillets with tweezers. Place one salmon fillet, skin-side down, on prepared baking tray and spread with one half of the salsa verde. Top with remaining fillet, skin-side up. Tie with string at 5cm intervals and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes for medium rare or for a further 5 to 10 minutes for well done.
- For heirloom tomato salad, slice tomatoes into bite sized pieces or leave whole if small. Place in a serving bowl, scatter with torn mint and basil leaves, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
- Add the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil to the reserved one half of salsa verde and mix well.
- Serve the salmon, sliced crossways, with the salsa verde, potato and rocket salad and heirloom tomato salad.
Lyndey’s note: having your fishmonger fillet the whole salmon for you makes this recipe quicker and easier to cook and serve, rather than cooking the whole fish. It is essential you use two sides of the same fish so they match up when tied together.
For meat lovers, there is nothing more magnificent than a standing rib roast with roasted vegetables. Here, an enticing spiced salt adds to the flavour with an anchovy and parsley bearnaise. There’s a bit of work making the sauce and the salt, but the roast really cooks itself and resting time gives you a break too.
Roast Beef Rib With Spiced Salt and Anchovy And Parsley Béarnaise
Preparation 30 minutes (plus 20 minutes standing time)
Cooking 1 hour 15 minutes
2.5kg standing rib of beef with 5 bones (bone-in rib or baron of beef)
1/4 cup (30g) sea salt flakes
½ tablespoon coriander seeds
½ tablespoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon (20ml) olive oil
3 bunches (1.5kg) baby beets, ends trimmed
8 (2kg) parsnips, peeled
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
2 tablespoons (40ml) olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Anchovy And Parsley Bearnaise
½ cup (125ml) white wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
4 egg yolks
250g butter, melted, cooled
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 anchovy fillets, drained, chopped finely
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 220⁰C (200⁰C fan-forced). Tie the beef with kitchen string at 2cm intervals. Combine salt, coriander, cumin, pepper and thyme in a mortar and pestle and grind coarsely. Place the beef in a large roasting dish, brush all over with oil and sprinkle with salt mixture and roast for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile for roasted vegetables, place the beetroot in a deep-sided baking tray, cover with water and then foil. Cut the parsnips into chunks and place on another baking tray. Scatter with garlic cloves, thyme leaves, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- After 15 minutes reduce oven to 180⁰C (160⁰C fan-forced), add the vegetables and continue to roast the beef for one hour for medium rare or until the beef is cooked as desired. For accuracy, use a meat thermometer (rare – 60⁰C; medium – 65⁰C-70⁰C; well done – 75⁰C). Remove beef from the oven and cover with foil to rest for 20 – 30 minutes. Check vegetables and if necessary increase oven temperature to 220⁰C (200⁰C fan-forced) and continue roasting. When beetroot are done, cool slightly and use latex gloves to peel the skins. Toss the peeled beetroot with the parsnips and keep warm.
- Meanwhile, make the Anchovy and Parsley Béarnaise by simmering vinegar, bay leaf and peppercorns in a small saucepan until vinegar is reduced to ¼ cup (60ml). Strain and discard bay leaf and peppercorns. In a large heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, whisk egg yolks until fluffy; do not allow water to touch base of bowl. Whisk in the reduced vinegar. Gradually add melted butter in a thin stream, whisking constantly until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and continue to whisk for a further minute or so. Stir in the garlic, anchovies and parsley. Cover the surface tightly with plastic wrap and either keep warm until ready to serve, or refrigerate and serve cold.
- Serve beef with anchovy and parsley bearnaise, mixed roast vegetables and extra fresh thyme, if desired.
Lyndey’s note: To reheat béarnaise, place over a pan of simmering water and stir until just heated through; do not overheat. If it curdles, place an egg yolk into a clean bowl and gradually whisk in the curdled mixture until combined or quickly whisk in an ice cube.
Slablova with Strawberry Curd
Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 1 ½ hours (plus standing time)
6 egg whites (it’s easier to separate eggs when at room temp)
1½ cups (330g) caster sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) white or malt vinegar
250 g (1⅔ cups) strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
185 g (¾ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
125 g unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon (20 ml) lemon juice
5 egg yolks
300ml thickened cream
1 teaspoon caster sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 punnet each raspberries and strawberries
20g dark eating quality chocolate, at room temperature
- For the pavlova: preheat oven to low (120’C/100°C fan-forced). Line a large baking tray (approx. 40cm x 30cm) with baking paper.
- Beat egg whites in a clean large bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Only then add caster sugar, a heaped tablespoon or so at a time, beating until dissolved (to test, rub some mixture between finger if too graining keep beating until glossy.). Then fold in cornflour and vinegar.
- Turn out onto tray; using a palette knife or spatula, spread the mixture across the baking paper (approx. 30cm x 24cm), building up the sides a little and creating a few tips and dips in the meringue as you go. (A wet spoon, spatula or palette knife helps.)
- Bake in very slow oven about 1 ½ hours or until set and dry. Surface should be dry to touch). Turn oven off and prop door ajar with a wooden spoon and cool in oven.
- For the curd: Put the strawberries in a small saucepan with the sugar, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir over low heat until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.
Lightly beat the egg yolks in a large bowl then, stirring constantly, slowly add the strawberry mixture in a thin stream. The mixture will thicken as you add it.
Return to low heat and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not allow the mixture to boil or the curd will curdle. Test by running a finger across the back of the spoon to ensure the curd is thick and does not run. Put into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.
- To assemble: Whip cream with sugar and vanilla. Spread a small spoon of cream on a flat serving plate. Place pavlova on top then fill pavlova with curd, cream (ensuring you can still see some of the curd), then berries. Shave chocolate curls from a block of chocolate using a vegetable peeler.