May 13th, 2010

Richardson’s Smokehouse Smoked Mackerel Spring Salad with Ham Cakes and Dill Crème Fraiche

The inspiration for this dish came from our visit to Orford, Suffolk. It’s a beautiful sea side village with several smokehouses and the one that I love visiting every time  is Richardson’s Smokehouse. It’s situated in a little alley, down a hill overlooking the sea, you cannot really miss it as the inviting aroma of the smoke greets you as you walk through the village and almost calls you, so you cannot ignore it.

Upon arrival at Richardson’s smokehouse you are greeted by the smoke  that hangs in a pleasant and welcoming cloud, the grill is laden with fresh fish and ready to go into the smokehouse. Inside the shop you are greeted by Steve and Veronica who are both knowledgeable hard working individuals who can definitely teach me a thing or two about smoking fish, ham and other delicacies.

Steve is an interesting character who does not mince his words and in his own charming manner makes small talk and if you are lucky he might crack a smile but that only happens when pretty ladies walk through the door. His face tells a million stories and he’s the kind of person I would love to listen to on a cold stormy evening, sitting next to a roaring fire in the village pub with a pint of bitter. I bet he has some marvelous stories of the sea and life in general.

The delicacies on display makes my heart pound even faster, I came to buy a smoked ham hock because they are super delicious cured in treacle and cider but I cannot  make up my mind as there are so many wonderful items on display. The super size smoked mackerel with it’s golden silvery skin, glistening rainbow trout, kippers, smoked chorizo sausages and other British bangers, smoked cheddar and blue cheese, woodpigeons, cod roe, smoked garlic and plenty of other interesting goodies fit for a foodies feast and delight.

I walked away with two bags filled with Richardson’s Smokehouse delights. Mulling over his customer service techniques,  it made me smile and I would not have changed a thing as he was charming in his own way and I shall find it hard to forget Richardson’s Smokehouse.

Once we arrived back home with a cool box filled to the brim with Suffolk’s finest from a plump Sutton Hoo chicken, Richardson’s Smokehouse delights, Orford-landed sea bass, sea purslane, asparagus, apple juice, Woodbridge mill’s whole meal flour, St.Peters Honey Porter, Suffolk Gold cheese, to chicken carcasses  from the Sutton Hoo people to make fresh chicken stock.There were plenty of other yummy goodies so  it was time to lay it all out onto the kitchen table and decide what I’m going to cook.

The first thing that came to my mind was to make this delicious smoked mackerel spring salad with smoked ham and rocket cakes and dill crème fraiche served with a chilled glass of the St.Peters Honey Porter.’ Mm’ perfect food to help the thought process on what to do with the rest of the ingredients from my day’s find. This dish plates up beautifully but after lunch and careful consideration I toyed with the concept and realised it would plate up just as beautifully on a serving platter, placed in the middle of the table for diners to help themselves, either way it’s tasty and delicious.

Smoked Ham and Rocket Cakes

  • 600g Desiree potatoes, peeled and roughly diced
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 125g smoked ham hock, flaked
  • 1 free range egg yolk
  • 25g rocket leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1tsp grain mustard
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • light olive oil for cooking

Boil the potatoes in salted water, drain and mash.

Mix the mashed potatoes with the flaked smoked ham hock, finely sliced spring onions, egg yolk, chopped rocket, grain mustard and season to taste.

Shape 50g cakes 4cm round, the cakes will keep for up to two days in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

When you are ready to serve, heat the olive oil in a large frying-pan.

Pan-fry the cakes until golden brown on both sides, place them in the preheated oven for 8 minutes to make sure that they are cooked all the way through and piping hot.

Dill Crème Fraiche

  • 200g Crème fraiche
  • 1tbs lemon juice
  • 2tsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Mix all the ingredients, season to taste and leave to infuse and develop  flavours for 10 minutes.

Smoked Mackerel Spring Salad

  • 1 large smoked mackerel or 2 smaller ones
  • 4 radishes, washed and finely sliced
  • 2 bunches of asparagus, blanched
  • 200g fresh broad beans, podded weight
  • 2 lemons
  • 1tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Selection of cress or micro salad leaves, I harvest mine from the garden

First caramelize the lemon slices: Cut each lemon into three even thick slices. Heat a non-stick frying pan and caramelise the lemon slices, without any oil, until golden, transfer them to a plate.

For the Spring Salad: Mix the blanched asparagus spears, podded broad beans, sliced radishes and chosen salad or cress leaves with the oil and season to taste.

For the smoked mackerel: Remove the bones, head and fins and cut the mackerel into 6 even size pieces.

To Serve

Cook the smoked ham and rocket cakes and serve two cakes per plate, spoon the dill Crème fraiche into small dipping pots and place it next to the cakes. Divide the spring salad between the plates, place a piece of smoked mackerel next to the salad and place a caramelized lemon slice on the other side.

Serves 6

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11 Comments to “Richardson’s Smokehouse Smoked Mackerel Spring Salad with Ham Cakes and Dill Crème Fraiche”

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  1. This looks fantastic – I love smoked mackrel

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