Monday, February 14, 2011

Poached whole salmon for The Underground [Pop Up] Restaurant at the Fire and Knives Magazine Mixed Grill event

Parking at £0.40 FOR SIX MINUTES! That's when you know you're in central London.Poached whole salmon - what a classic. Due to there being just one domestic size cooker at Conway Hall for 70 people whole dressed salmon and truffle potatoes en papilotte couldn't have been better. Normally for a buffet you might do one. On this occasion it was 5. Ms M sure never likes to do anything by halves.

To get the salmon in the aga they needed to be curved slightly - this seemed to give them all a different 'personality' (well it looked like it at 3am when this was posted at least). I'd found this pic the night before - which is actually a ham, but used the same idea for the salmon. This seemed really good, until I realised how time consuming trimming those lengths of cucumber skin actually was. And then there was the waiting for the aspic to set. Another labour of love.

Rewind slightly and while the salmon were cooling and Ms M was out last minute shopping it had been soup time. This scallop soup recipe turned out great - half the scallops were used in the soup leaving half to be cooked on the salt blocks by Josh (see pic here) in the room in front of the guests while Ms M was speaking. There's a lot more about cooking on salt bricks here.

Rewind even earlier to Friday morning, and Ms Marmitelover had been making real blancmange and baking huge meringues to make meringue swans - 18 egg white versions - so 1 between 20 (ish). These were great fun to put together on the day. And I now know which way round swan's wings go. That's a swan not a shark (cue Jaws theme tune).

It all made for a great interactive meal - with the scallops being cooked in front of the guests, the soup being poured at the table, the salmon being carved at the table (Josh and I helped one table each while others had their own designated carver) and then the desserts which guests could cut into and serve themselves. The very ethos of the home restaurant taken into a hall in Camden. And everything was fresh and homemade - what more could you ask for?

Working alongside 2/3 of Blanch and Shock (Mike's off-cam to our right)

6 comments:

Lynn said...

I can see what you mean about the salmon having character. That one looks positively smiling. Looks delicious BTW.

Anonymous said...

The food at the 'mixed grill' event was fantastic!! I'm so glad that you have a link to the Scallop soup recipe...it was devine....a fellow chef at our table had 3 bowls of it...!! The salmon was spectacular as was everything else. We were all in awe and plates of wonderful food kept coming out from the kitchen/corridor..just don't know how you guys manage to pull off 'outside catering' (with just a baby belling cooker...well that was all I saw..) and all that packing up and transportation!! the mind boggles....A fab event, enjoyed every minute..

James said...

Lynn - Maybe should have given them names? ;)

Anon - Glad you enjoyed. We had a broom cupboard kitchen too behind the scenes with one domestic style oven. It's all in the planning. I've cooked in more unusual places - a car show room canteen where we had to climb iunder the cars, a disused war time air control tower etc. You just use what you have. And the packing up/ transportation - when you do it all the time just becomes 2nd nature - it's good when it all comes off. It's all about lists. And the lifting/ carrying - you don't need to join a gym.

dining room table said...

Great job on the fish! It is beautiful and the presentation is really stunning.

Jan said...

Fantastic looking fish!
40p for 6 minutes parking!!!!!OMG!

James said...

I know - and then the £40 parking fine (5 minutes late back to the meter while we getting ready to serve the starter). You really appreciate venues with free parking (lots of) after that :)