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I am passionate about salmon. Vibrantly coloured with clean, subtle but rich flavours, our New Zealand king salmon is acknowledged worldwide as the king of the salmon species - the rarest species of salmon in the world.
Its introduction into New Zealand was somewhat accidental. Our forebears tried to introduce Atlantic salmon here. This was the salmon they knew and loved from home. But all attempts to breed it here were unsuccessful.
It is to our advantage that king salmon was the only species that thrived in our southern waters.
Atlantic salmon is farmed in Norway, frozen, shipped to New Zealand, thawed and sold in supermarkets more cheaply than our own king salmon.
For a simple, elegant lunch or dinner, serve this stylish smoked salmon platter. It's easy, beautiful, and no cooking is required, simply arrange the ingredients you have chosen on a large platter and serve with feta cream, a mixture of feta, cream cheese and fresh herbs.
Surround the salmon chunks with an array of specially chosen ingredients that will complement and enhance the salmon. I like raw, fresh accompaniments, in season of course.
No need to limit your platter to the combinations I have given here. You choose what you like. Peaches, apricots and watermelon are delicious when available.
Both the salmon and the feta are salty so taste carefully before adding any salt.
If convenient, the feta cream can be made up to two days ahead.
300g-400 g smoked salmon. I prefer it in the piece, but slices are OK too.
50g baby salad greens
120g ready to eat dried figs
1 large pear, about 200g
half telegraph cucumber, about 100g
20g Gruyere cheese (Swiss cheese)
fresh herb leaves
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
150g Feta cheese, roughly chopped (I used salt reduced)
two-thirds cup plain Greek style yoghurt
one third cup cream cheese
one quarter tsp freshly ground nutmeg
20g, about 2 handfuls of fresh herb leaves, choose from chives, dill, french tarragon, mint, oregano or thyme
fresh herbs to garnish
Make the feta cream first. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until the herbs are finely chopped, the cheese smooth and creamy and the mixture is well mixed
Spoon into a serving dish, cover and chill until required. Bring to room temperature to serve. Garnish with a sprig or two of fresh herbs.
To assemble the platter
You will need a large, flat plate. If using salmon in the piece cut it into bite-sized chunks. If you have slices, roll then cut into pieces. Set aside.
Scatter the baby salad greens over the plate.
Remove stalks from the figs and cut each fig in half through the middle so that you have two rounds, arrange the figs over the salad leaves.
Peel, core, and quarter the pear and cut into slices. Artfully scatter the slices of pear over the serving plate.
Peel the cucumber and slice lengthways into 4 long lengths. Chop the cucumber into small pieces (Don't have all your ingredients a similar size) and scatter over.
Dice the cheese and add to the plate.
Finally, position the smoked salmon beautifully on top of the platter.
Make the dressing
Combine the oil and lemon juice in a screw top jar. Shake well and drizzle quite sparingly over the platter.
Cover and chill if not serving immediately. Bring to room temperature to serve.
Scatter fresh herb leaves over all.
Serve with warmed ciabatta bread or baby new potatoes.
At this time of the year a good substitute is Baby Golden Gourmet potatoes, available at supermarkets.
Tips for cooking with salmon
• Fresh: Allow 125g to 150g per person
• Keeps in fridge for 3-4 days but best eaten fresh
• Keep whole salmon covered in foil or cling film and steaks or fillets in sealable plastic bag in a bowl covered with ice
• Can be frozen in sealed freezer bags for up to six months
• Allow salmon to come to room temperature before cooking
• Smoked: Allow about 50g per person