Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Jamie Oliver inspired dinner: Smoked salmon with asparagus and optional eggs

I will confess to chuckling to myself as I wrote the above title. I think it must rank as one of the least likely post titles to appear on my blog.

I mean, eggs?!

Sometimes, though, unexpected things come out of my kitchen. This dinner was one such example.

We actually have smoked salmon semi-regularly during Summer - perhaps once a month. Paired with salad and cooked and cooled potatoes, it's an easy weeknight dinner for hot days.




The fact that Mr Bite and I can have the exact same thing (salad dressing differences aside) is also a bonus, and I have come to enjoy smoked salmon more and more with age.

Eggs, though, do not usually feature. Nor does asparagus.

The reason for the change? Jamie Oliver's Great Britain, a series that I think aired in Australia last year, but which we are still working our way through now (all of our TV viewing is done off the PVR, so we are often many months out from when things were first shown).

One of Jamie's episodes featured asparagus, and the serving suggestion of asparagus, smoked salmon and poached eggs appealed to Mr Bite. Given that the meal looked easy to put together, I was more than happy to oblige and give it a try.

The thing that made this dish interesting (or at least, made it interesting to me) was how the eggs were poached. When I have poached eggs in the past, they went straight into boiling water, perhaps with some vinegar to help keep them together, but that was the extent of it.

This cooking method is slightly different.


In effect, you line a small cup or ramekin with cling wrap, into which you place seasoning as desired. In Mr Bite's, I put a dab of butter, pepper and dried parsley, which I think approximated what we watched Jamie do. You then crack an egg into each cup, gather the plastic wrap to make a little parcel, twist the plastic wrap tightly, and then immerse the whole parcel in your boiling water and simmer for 2 - 5 minutes, or however long you like to poach your eggs for.

The result is quite attractive, even to someone who doesn't eat eggs!

Picture this with added potato; and then with potato but no eggs for my plate :)

We both agreed that the asparagus (which I just steamed) and smoked salmon paired very well together. Mr Bite liked the egg component too, including the seasoning. We had our usual cold potatoes on the side, but I think some fresh bread might suit the ingredients better and I would try that in future.

This was the first time I'd had asparagus in a number of years, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The contrasting intensity of the salmon contributed to this, but I think I'll be trying asparagus in other dishes in the near future too.

All in all, however you make and modify this dish, it is easy and we both enjoyed our versions. The cost for 2 people was also about half of that for a take-away pizza, thereby highlighting that even 'expensive' food (something smoked salmon and asparagus have a reputation for) can be cheaper and quicker to prepare than something you buy ready made.

Do you enjoy asparagus? How about smoked salmon?
Any favourite Jamie Oliver dishes?

18 comments:

  1. love asparagus - it is a bit past the spring asparagus season when we got a bit crazy over it - great green side dish - just cook it slightly in the microwave

    I agree that the eggs look pretty - that is all I find them good for but E and Sylvia love eating eggs - never tried her on poached but maybe I could try this

    Salmon - never been interested and am glad of it when people talk prices :-)

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    1. I'll have to try the microwaving option, I went for a steamer over the stovetop. Microwave would be quicker!

      I'm definitely with you on eggs, but it would be interesting to know how Sylvia likes poached. When I did eat them as a child it was only ever soft boiled or poached (I can't stand the hard yolk centre). And yes, vegetarian is definitely cheaper than salmon :)

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    2. Sylvia has her egg hard boiled - I don't think she liked it when it was soft boiled - which I like because the only thing I ever liked about eggs was peeling them when they were hard boiled

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    3. I guess someone has to like hard boiled ;)

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  2. Interesting cooking method.. I've never poached an egg for myself but had to do it when I worked at a breakfast cafe. They never came out quite right. :)

    I like asparagus, but my boyfriend doesn't, so we don't buy it often. I don't appreciate what it does to your digestive system!

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    1. It's funny about the digestive effects! I read some report recently about how only some people are affected and I think I must be in the non-affected group. Lucky for me I guess, although it makes me curious as to what it's like for those who are affected.

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  3. Too late for asparagus now in my part of the world, but when it's in season I love it. It's an interesting way of poaching eggs, but if you use very fresh eggs, you get perfect poached eggs without any faffing around, and if you don't have very fresh eggs, I reckon you're better off doing something else with them. But, having said all that, I do love Jamie Oliver. I know he can come across as a bit of a wally, but I think he has such good food philosophies.

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    1. You summed Jamie Oliver up perfectly - he is a bit daft sometimes but I like his philosophies.

      I buy eggs so infrequently that they're almost guaranteed not to be fresh! I do wonder if my thoughts on them would change if I could buy direct from a farm or even keep my own hens. I suspect it would be an entirely different experience.

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  4. I love having eggs! this looks great!

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  5. That looks like a perfect meal for me, but unfortunately S does not eat fish or asparagus, so he would just be eating the eggs. I've had something very similar before with a hollendaise sauce on top - lovely. I've seen that egg poaching method before but not tried it, however I love poached eggs so must give it a go.

    As an aside, there was a story on the radio this morning about vitamin D deficiency (which a huge number of Aussies have) and that one of the causes other than our inside lifestyle is that we don't eat as many eggs as we used to. It has inspired me to think of eggs a bit more.

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    1. Vitamin D deficiency is at the forefront of my mind at the moment because I am! Apparently, though, it's likely to be related to my skin type as research has recently shown that fair and dark skinned people are quite vulnerable? Eggs are one of the very few foods containing Vit D apparently so at least I can feel confident my eating habits didn't change around the time I became deficient :/

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  6. Love love love smoked salmon and a good poached egg :) When I first got into cooking, I was a fan of Jamie, but it's my brother these days who has the obsession. He has all the iPhone apps and everything :)

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    1. Your brother's obsession is impressive :) I actually make very many of his recipes but I really like his approach to food and cooking, and all the things he's done with children.

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    2. OMG YOU MAKE HIM SOUND LIKE A CREEPY MAN IN A RAINCOAT AND NOTHING ELSE HANGING OUT AT THE PLAYGROUND.

      *laughs hysterically*

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    3. Nooooo!!!! Oh goodness, that really came out badly!

      And, I meant to write "*don't* actually" so the whole comment was a bit of a disaster from start to finish :P

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    4. Don't worry, I knew what you meant. I'm becoming better at not correcting people's typos... BUT OH HOW I LOVE EDITING :D

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    5. I'm becoming worse at making typos actually. I think I need to slow down and avoid my rapid type-hit post-then proof read cycles that are happening more and more often!

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