Saturday, 5 May 2012
Diamond Jubilee Armed Forces' Tribute Meal (Part Two)
This is part two of the three course meal I have devised to represent the three major branches of the Armed Forces in celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Yesterday's post saw the concept introduced and a starter of pheasant casserole prepared in honour of the Royal Air Force. Today, we move on to the main course, in tribute to the Royal Navy. Despite the obvious temptation to simply prepare a variation of the British classic, fish and chips, I instead prepared this seafood platter thinking along the lines of representing the many different fruits of the sea.
Some of the ingredients for this dish were bought ready to eat and some cooked in advance. This means that the meal is served in the form of a cold salad, suitable for what will hopefully be a beautiful, early summer weekend at the beginning of June when the main Diamond Jubilee celebrations will take place. This also means that most of your preparations are done in advance, earlier in the day, saving you time when it comes to service.
The ingredients you could incorporate in a seafood salad are of course many and if there are certain items you don't fancy in this combination, simply substitute them for others.
1 4oz salmon loin fillet (skin on)
3 whole langoustines
3 large King scallops
6 to 8 fresh, live mussels
Approximately 1/2 pint cold milk
1 medium onion
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried dill leaves
1/2 pint white wine, plus 2 tbsp extra
1 large slice of smoked salmon
1 smoked mackerel fillet
1 rollmop (pickled herring)
2 or 3 small lettuce leaves
1/2 medium tomato
Lemon wedge for garnish
Whether you leave the coral (orange portion) attached to the main muscle of the scallop is entirely up to you. It is entirely edible, though admittedly not as tasty as the white meat of the main part of the scallop. When I am cooking scallops to eat them warm, I like to sear them in a pan but I prefer this method of cooking them when I intend to eat them cooled.
Put the scallops in to a pot and pour in enough cold milk to cover. Put the pot on to a medium heat. As soon as the milk starts to simmer, the scallops are ready. Lift them from the milk with a slotted spoon to a plate and cover.
While you are waiting for the milk to reach a simmer, check the salmon for any remaining pinbones and remove where necessary with tweezers. Lay the fillet in another pot (skin side down) and season with salt, a little pepper and the dill. Pour in the half pint of white wine and enough cold water to ensure the salmon is comfortably covered. Put it on to a high heat until the water just starts to simmer. Turn off the heat, put the lid on the pot and simply leave the salmon to cook in the cooling liquid for a couple of hours. This will see it served deliciously moist and tender.
Peel the onion and cut it in half. Slice one of the halves and add it to a pot, along with the peppercorns and a good half teaspoon of salt. Add cold water to a depth of about three inches and put it on the heat until it reaches a rolling boil. Carefully add the langoustines to the pot and cook for two minutes. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and lay on the plate with the scallops.
Note: If you are intending collecting and cooking mussels yourself, ensure that you do follow the many associated and appropriate safety procedures.
Ensure that all the mussels are closed. If not, tap them lightly on a hard surface and discard any that still fail to close. The mussels should be cooked in a minimum of liquid in a large pot. Remember, they are to be steamed, not poached. Slice the remaining onion and add it to the pot with the 2 tablespoons of white wine and three or four tablespoons of cold water. The depth of liquid in the pot should be slightly less than half an inch. Put the pot on a high heat until the liquid boils. Add the mussels and put the lid on the pot. Steam for two to three minutes.
Remove the lid from the pot containing the mussels. Any mussels which have not opened should not be eaten. Remove the rest to a plate with a slotted spoon.
When the salmon poaching liquid is cool, remove the fillet. The skin can now carefully be peeled free and the cooking for your seafood platter is complete.
The smoked salmon and smoked mackerel are commonly purchased in vacuum packs but the rollmops will be in brine, usually in a plastic tub with onion and other spices. Remove a rollmop from the tub and carefully pat dry with kitchen paper. A little bit of the onion is good to serve with the herring.
The seafood is plated on a traditional plate at the top of this post but the image above shows just one alternative way of plating, depending upon preference. Begin by laying the shredded lettuce leaves, tomato and lemon on the plate and simply build the seafood around them as desired. Don't forget to pour your Victory Ale, if desired, the beer which marks Admiral Lord Nelson's victory at the Battle of Waterloo and one of the Royal Navy's greatest triumphs.
Hopefully, you are a seafood lover and this meal idea appeals to your taste. The third and final part of this post, representing the British Army and the meal pudding, will be published in the next couple of days and I hope you'll come back again to see what I came up with.