I have always described myself as an aesthete. I notice, love and pursue the pretty factor, be it in my surroundings, in clothing, in people and in food. However, one of my big gripes with the gastronomy scene is the assumption that you need to have a whole bunch of kit and plenty of time on your hands to make meals that taste and look great.
The last plating master class post proved such a hit that it felt right and proper to do another: But this time, I’ve left out the fancy ingredients of quail’s egg and scallops and gone back to basics ingredients wise with eggs (hen this time), smoked salmon, bread, cream cheese and because times are lean lumpfish caviar. Blow the Budget would be to use Ossetra caviar all the way…Sigh….
Scrambled Eggs and Smoked Salmon with Caviar
Difficulty Rating: Easy-enough, just watch out for timings
4 Large Eggs
80 grams of Smoked Salmon
1 Tablespoon of Double Cream
3 Tablespoons of Milk
A nob of Butter
1 teaspoon of lumpfish Caviar or Ossetra if the living is easy
Salt (to taste)
Anyone can make amazing scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, what often gets in the way of success rate is a slap dash approach to timings, heat of the pan and maltreatment of the salmon.
Before you do anything, tear the salmon into nail cuticle sized bits and put in a separate bowl and mix in a tablespoon of double cream. The tablespoon of cream should be enough to coat the salmon pieces and also to prohibit drying. I leave the bowl out of the fridge to avoid curdling when the mixture is added to the egg.
In a separate bowl beat your four eggs adding the milk and any salt. I don’t add salt myself as the saltiness in the salmon and the caviar are more than adequate, plus isn’t it nice to give one’s arteries a break? But if you must, a teeny pinch will suffice.
Next heat a pan on a medium heat for 5 minutes, then add the nob of butter. Once it has melted it is time to add your egg mixture. I am a great believer of whisking quickly and where necessary taking off the heat and continuing whisking to avoid side clumping or burning at the bottom of the pan.
When the eggs are almost cooked remove from heat and add the smoked salmon. It is important to do this off the heat as the cream coated smoked salmon would become rubbery in texture if cooked through. And now to making what seems entirely ordinary, spectacular-spectacular!
Plating Option 1: Surprise in a Pot
As I’ve said before, fancy items aren’t needed for a great looking plate. Here we use ramekins and the shells themselves! When you are making your scrambled eggs, crack the eggs using one hit to the side of the bowl thus minimising the shells falling to pieces. Rinse out with water and leave to the side to dry whilst you make the scrambled eggs.
Once your eggs are cooked, spoon a portion into the egg shell and with a tea spoon put a dollop of caviar. Your egg shells might want to move around and tip over in the ramekin so for minimum mess-ups balance them at an angle so that they support one another. Now cover once more so that your guests will be surprised!
Plating Option 2: On Toast Redux
One of my least favourite things in the world is soggy toast. This is a very different creature to Normandy Butter seeped toast, which is a very beautiful thing, and not soggy at all, but seeped in goodness. Soggy toast can ruin an array of dishes as the condensation from the heated bread fails to get an escape route and instead finds a home on the bread’s surface.
So, to avoid this watery wheaty reality spoiling your feast, I suggest grilling or toasting bread and then leaving it on a rack to ‘dry out’.
Once toast is dry, cut it into squares. For the assembly place a forkful of scrambled egg on each square and you’re ready to serve. I have photographed the non-caviar topped version but the same rules apply as they did when the eggs were served in their shell. The beauty in this dish is that is entirely familiar but because time has been taken in plating the elements it looks rather special.
Canapé Cuties: Making the Best of the Rest
A great way to make January nights seem a little less austere is to host a canapé party – with the leftovers. Simply repeat the toast exercise once more and this time spread a liberal amount of cream cheese (I like Sainsbury’s Organic one best), now add a dollop of caviar and you are ready with option one. For the salmon versions, simply roll a strip of smoked salmon and position at a slant. The better the quality the salmon the less ‘help’ it will need with lemon, black pepper and the rest, but you can add if you fancy. Now it’s just a question of figuring out who is worthy of an invite!