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salmon timbales

This is a delicious guest recipe by the wonderful Belinda Jeffrey, well known cook, food writer and presenter in pretty much all media: magazines, books, TV, video, online… and a belly guest from the first broadcast, as she is now a Mullumbimbi resident.  She made this very pretty dish in front of an admiring audience at the Taste of Byron food festival.


This is a really simple but stunning looking dish that tastes brilliant. It’s perfect as an entrée on a warm evening. You can mould the timbales in all sorts of things depending on the size you want. I’ve found the hardware store is a veritable treasure trove of various sizes of plumbers piping which is ideal if it’s cut into short lengths. However necessity is the mother of invention and for A Taste of Byron I made them in small baked bean can with the top and bottom removed. They work a treat!

2 just ripe avocados, peeled and finely diced
4 tablespoons finely diced roasted red pepper
3 tablespoons chopped chives
Sea salt, to taste
400g smoked salmon (or trout), sliced into fine strips
150ml crème fraiche (or sour cream), whipped
1 &1/2 tablespoon of horseradish relish or prepared wasabi paste, to taste

Garnish:  Crème fraiche, salmon or red lumpfish roe, extra-virgin olive oil (optional), tiny herb sprigs (chervil or dill look very pretty)

To serve: lime wedges

Put the avocado, peppers, one tablespoon of the chives and salt into a bowl and stir them gently together so you don’t squash the avocado.
In another bowl mix together the smoked salmon, crème fraiche, remaining chives and horseradish relish until they’re well combined.
To make each timbale, sit the mould you’re using in the middle of a serving plate. Spoon a sixth of the avocado mixture into the mould so it comes about halfway up the sides. Smooth it down gently to even it out. Cover this layer with a sixth of the smoked salmon mixture and smooth it down too. Now carefully lift off the mould, easing it up gently so you don’t disturb the sides of the timbale.
Spoon a little dollop of crème fraiche on top of each timbale. Dot a heaped teaspoon or so of the salmon roe over the crème fraiche. Drizzle a fine thread of extra-virgin olive oil around the base and scatter some tiny herb sprigs over the top. Keep it cool while you make the rest. (If you’re using the same mould to form each timbale, just remember to wipe it out between shaping each one.) Serve with a bowl of lime wedges.
Makes 6 medium size timbales (or 8 scone size ones.)

Ring the changes

I tend to play around a bit with this recipe. Sometimes I use different herbs or wasabi instead of the horseradish relish. If you go down the wasabi path take it carefully, as wasabi can be palate numbingly hot. A pleasant tingle in your nose is one thing but not streaming eyes and gasping for breath. If you want to make this look very schmick, before your release the timbale from the mould spread a layer of salmon roe over the top. It looks spectacular and only needs a sprinkle of herbs to finish it off.

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