Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Tart


I suspect that the year might be reaching its end when it comes to pastry making. The weather is slowly but surely actually warming up and we’re getting more than one day of blue sky and sunshine in a row.

Dealing with pastry in hot weather is a bit of a nightmare – not to mention that you then need to turn on your oven – so I’m going to have to get some baking out of my system sooner rather than later.

Thanks to having some hot-smoked salmon and some asparagus very fortuitously hanging around in the fridge (the salmon had been marked down and I’d forgotten to put the asparagus in something else) this tart (or quiche) was an easy dinner option. Thanks to having a trusty food processor, I even put in the effort to make my pastry. And thanks to having a new and as yet unused tin I even put in the effort to blind-bake. Something I frequently neglect.

You can’t really go wrong with tarts – bung in some kind of filling you like, top with eggs and cream and the job’s done. You’re going to like it (they’re like omelettes or frittatas but with a bit more faff on account of the pastry). With this recipe, do not look at the inclusion of the mozzarella, think it’s a bit weird and be tempted to omit it (or was that just me?) – it definitely adds to the richness of the finished product. And load up with as much dill as you can handle … because, well, it’s just delicious!

For us, this served three. We ate half and then shared a third quarter, leaving the final quarter for Master 5’s dinner the following day.

Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Tart


  • 150g plain flour
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Tart
  • Bunch of asparagus, chopped into chunks and steamed
  • hot-smoked salmon - as much as you can afford or have left over
  • 4 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp (or even more) finely chopped dill
  • 100g mozzarella, shredded/grated
  • 6 eggs (yes, really)
  • ¼ cup cream
  • pepper to season


  1. To make the pastry, process the flour, butter and a pinch of salt together until crumbs form. Add the egg yolk and process again, before adding a little cold water so that it comes together. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for about half an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 170°C fan.
  3. To blind bake, grease a 23 cm tart tin, roll out the pastry and line the tin then prick the base with a fork. Cover with a piece of baking paper and fill with baking beans. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the baking paper and beans and bake for another 5-10 so that the bottom is golden too.
  4. Allow to cool.
  5. When you're ready for dinner, flake the hot-smoked salmon over the base of the tart, follow it with the asparagus, dill, spring onions and mozzarella.
  6. Beat together the eggs and cream and season with pepper. Pour into the tart and then bake for 25-35 minutes until just set.
  7. Serve with a salad and feel virtuous, as you'll be getting tons of your 5-a-day.

Salmon en Papillote


We eat a reasonable amount of salmon. I’m quite conscious of the fact we should eat more fish and everyone in the household likes salmon. Australian farmed salmon is also quite readily available, so if I find myself buying fish at the supermarket (which I prefer not to do) it’s often the ONLY fresh, Australian option on offer.

My plan last week had been to visit the fishmonger and buy some gar or whiting and have it simply pan fried. Unfortunately, a small child who slept for ages and announced “not going out, not go to shops, stay home” put paid to that plan. Salmon it was. And skinless at that!

I was wondering how to jazz it up a bit and remembered that we haven’t done ‘en papillote’ for ages (indeed, if at all since moving back to Australia). ‘en papillote’ is method of cooking where, whatever you are cooking is wrapped first in baking paper and then in tin foil and then cooked in the oven. The protein is effectively steamed, so it’s a very healthy way of cooking and it also means that the protein stays very moist.

Of course, just a bit of fish cooked in its own steam is likely to be a bit dull, so it’s up to you to add a few bits and pieces, a few flavourings that you like.

Salmon, being quite fatty and rich, can stand up to strong flavours, but if you were working with a more delicately flavoured fish (such as whiting, or even flathead) you might opt for a simple topping of a lemon slice or two and some dill, along with a tiny drizzle of olive oil. Also choose your toppings with an eye on cooking time. If you want to include carrot, for example, you’ll have to chop it extremely finely, and prefer spring onion to onion. Salmon only takes about 12 minutes to cook in the oven, but a fish like gar or whiting will take even less time so chop finely or leave more substantial vegetables for side dishes.

This is not really a cooking technique that needs mastering. Understand flavours that work and that you like, and all that is left to do is ensure the parcels are well sealed – you want to trap the steam!

Asian Style Salmon en Papillote


  • a piece of salmon
  • a few drops of sesame oil
  • a teaspoon of soy sauce
  • very finely sliced ginger, to taste
  • crushed garlic, to taste
  • finely slice chilli, to taste
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped


  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C fan.
  2. Spread out a large piece of tin foil on the bench and place a slightly smaller piece of baking paper on top of it. The baking paper should be large enough to wrap the piece of salmon quite loosely.
  3. Place the salmon on the baking paper and fold up the edges of the tin foil to create a makeshift tray (to prevent toppings for going everywhere).
  4. Top the salmon with the ginger, garlic, chilli and spring onion and sprinkle over the sesame oil and soy sauce.
  5. Wrap the salmon loosely in the baking paper, forming a sort of envelope. Wrap that parcel in the tin foil, ensuring a tight seal.
  6. Place on a baking tray or in a roasting dish and cook in the preheated oven for approximately 12 minutes. This is a pretty forgiving method of cooking but don't leave the salmon in the oven too long!
  7. Remove from the oven, open the package and serve the salmon on some stir fried soba noodles, and pour the sauce from the package over the top.
  8. Garnish with coriander if you wish.

Smoked Salmon with Soba Noodles and Ponzu


We eat quite a lot of salmon in our household: the toddler enjoys tinned salmon (Tasmanian, of course) as a snack/lunch/easy dinner, we all love fresh salmon (especially the crispy skin!) and smoked salmon is popular too. One thing we miss, which we used to eat a lot of in England, is hot smoked fish. ‘Normal’ smoked salmon is cold smoked, so the fish is effectively not cooked (it is cured beforehand). Hot smoking uses hot smoke, so the fish is both cooked and preserved by the smoking process. While smoked salmon is normally sold finely sliced, hot smoked salmon is sold in steaks. If you don’t like smoked salmon, give hot smoked a go, because it’s very different.

Anyway, when I spotted this recipe, using both hot smoked salmon AND soba noodles, I had to give it a go. It has very few ingredients, but you might struggle to find the frozen edamame unless you go to a specialist Asian food store. Soba are pretty easy to find although the ones I bought from the supermarket were about 75% wheat and only 25% buckwheat. If you have the time and inclination, seek out a higher proportion of buckwheat.

Begin by making the ponzu sauce. To the juice of one lemon add 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, ½ tsp caster sugar and 1 tsp of sesame oil. Mix to dissolve the sugar and set aside.

Take your hot smoked salmon (I used one 185g packet between the two of us) and, if the skin is still on, remove it. Straight from the packet it will be extremely tough and really quite unpleasant. You can always have a go frying it up if you wish! Flake the fish (equally!) into two bowls. Into each bowl add a finely sliced spring onion, some julienned carrot and some julienned cucumber. I used these in lieu of the edamame; I suggest you use whatever is in the fridge!

You could easily do all this in advance. At this point, cover your bowl(s) with cling film and pop in the fridge until you are ready. If you prefer the salmon at room temperature (like me) don’t forget to take them out half an hour or so before you want to eat.

When you’re ready to serve, cook some soba noodles in boiling water. Be careful not to overcook because they will become a bit soggy and claggy if you do. The ponzu will help separate the noodles and perk them up, but you’re much better off opting for al dente.

Top the salmon and vegetables with the soba, pour over the ponzu and sprinkle on a few sesame seeds (toasted if you can be bothered).

Not only does this taste really good, but it’s easy, quick and insanely healthy.

This alone did us for dinner (though we did wrap up the evening with a sneaky chocolate!). It would also serve well as a salad to serve as part of a more extravagant meal, or a light entrée. Aside from the salmon and noodles, it’s flexible and the ponzu is easily made from store cupboard ingredients. Andy did comment that he thought next time some finely sliced fresh chillis would be a welcome addition. If you do want to spice it up, you could also use chilli oil in lieu or (or as a part substitute for) the sesame oil.