It’s an ORA (aura) kind of thing
Being given the head judge title this year for the Ora King awards for New Zealand was very much an honour and a great privilege. I was tasked with tasting and deciding out of the top three Ora King salmon creations selected from up and down the country - which one tasted the best, looked the best, technically was the best and had the best, most thoughtful and clever interpretation of this year’s theme “inspired by art”. Even if you are not a chef, the massive amount of pleasure that one gets from experiencing, seeing, tasting and enjoying someone’s ‘edible creation’ is perhaps one of the great pleasures in life. Having an art theme just makes it hat even more fascinating. This year’s three finalists were all superb and extremely memorable. The winning dish by mark McAlister was simply a knockout.
Read more here.
Hot Smoked Salmon + Horseraddish Cream
Hot smoked salmon is quite special around Christmas time – especially when you have made it yourself. It makes for a sensational party piece and is versatile in every way. It looks stunning served whole on a white platter for guests to help themselves, or you can flake the salmon and fill small tartlet cases for canapés. This also makes a show-stopper appearance on any Christmas day table.
1 side fresh salmon – season the night before by rubbing or massaging the salmon with 3 Tbsp maple syrup ( or 3 Tbsp sugar, white or brown) and 2 Tbsp salt – or any flavouring combinations of your choice.... leave un covered in the fridge.
1.5 cups Manuka wood chips
Take a large piece of foil. Mix woodchips with 2 teaspoons of water then spread on one side of the foil. Fold foil over and seal edges to form an envelope then pierce small holes in the top to allow smoke to come out. Or sprinkle over foil and put in an old fashioned smoker tray.
Place envelope in the frying pan over a high heat, place rack with salmon on top. Heat until smoke begins to waft out of the holes then cover with a tight fitting lid or cover tightly with tinfoil.
Or place meths in supplied dishes, light and place smoker tray on top.
Reduce to a medium heat. If you see there is no smoke coming out, increase the heat a little.
Very gently wash off excess sugar salt mix with cold water. Gently pat dry with paper towels. Place salmon on a rack and into smoker. Seal edges tightly with a lid or tin foil to capture all smoke and flavour salmon to the max.
Smoke, cook for 15 - 25 minutes or longer if the salmon is a large thick fillet.
Whisk 1 cup cream until soft whipped, fold in 3 – 5 Tbsp horseradish puree/paste – freshly peeled and grated horseradish is best – if you can find it add salt, white pepper and lemon juice to taste. Taste the cream and adjust levels of horseradish and salt / lemon to taste. Sometimes crème fresh is added to the cream or ratio thereof to balance and give a slightly different flavour.
Author - Geoff Scott
Acclaimed Chef, Consultant and Food Writer