Monday, March 26, 2007

What would Gordon do?

I'm not quite sure why I find crockery so alluring; I'd been able to look at Gordon Ramsay's collection for Royal Doulton dispassionately until I ate course after delicious course off it and then I was hypnotised by those ever decreasing circles. I wanted my own for those Michelin starred moments. I thought it would finesse my presentation skills and probably encourage me to get a bit poncy!

I did exercise some restraint though. I settled on one large ‘presentation’ plate, a smaller one and an espresso cup – again. Yes another one, great for someone who refuses to drink coffee. Obviously my burgeoning coffee cup collection have so far remained entirely unadulterated by coffee but have proved most useful for amongst other things lemon posset, chocolate mousse, scallop soup and scrambled egg. But never coffee!

And of course now I have ‘the plate’ I have to consider what would grace it first. I had perfect fillet of lightly smoked salmon, such a lovely flavour and thought I’d try and create some potato scales. This was inspired by a Gordon Ramsay recipe in Passion for Seafood for brill wrapped in strips of potato but as I only had tiny new potatoes, I would have to adapt. I found a scalier recipe in Paul and Jeanne Rankin’s New Irish Cookery so thought I would be slightly closer to the mark. The trick seems to be with both the recipes that whatever the size of the potato strip or disc to dry the potato before applying liberally with melted butter and then popping in the fridge to set the potato jacket. You then carefully pan fry the potato topping (last time I tried this technique I did Gordon’s version using the long potato strips and they were less fiddly especially in the pan). I then placed the fillet in the oven to finish cooking; I was worried about the salmon going beyond the ‘cuisson’ so probably whipped it out a little early for the potato topping to brown sufficiently so I popped it under the grill just to finish off. I sat the salmon fillet astride some yellow flowering broccoli. The plan was to decorate the plate with a few perfect beads of balsamic vinegar which is not a normal flourish for me but somehow the plate just makes you want to do something like that. The concentric circles on the fine porcelain plate really frames the dish so you feel inclined to just add that little “je ne sais quoi”. But in hindsight, the little flourishes should have attempted before plating up as there's no time for those little embellishments when the dish is 'on the pass' and ready to go. Gordon would have been very displeased. So the delicate little circles of balsamic became more creative splodges that clearly would have distressed any possible Michelin star spotter.

Next time, I'll do better! Though it was extremely tasty and the potato scales were a great crispy addition so what's a little balsamic dribble amongst friends?


RooKnits said...

Mmmmmmm. Looks yummy!
Have you seen any square or rectangular plates on your travels J? I have decided I NEED some.... as I have some rectangular one portion serving dishes which obviously don't fit on round plates!

J said...

Hmmm, not that I'm a plate obsessive... oh no but I am!
I am assuming we mean white square plates?
Zara Home do some very flat ones as in my salad

LSA do a nice one called Quad
(Terrible image LSA, where are the plates?) I got mine from John Lewis and they have rectangular ones as well. In my picture
both the mini poached quail eggs on toast and the cauliflower cheese are on a Quad plate (they are square, just the angle of my picture!)
In fact John Lewis has a few square plate ranges of their own at the moment
and a slightly more oriental version

and M&S are doing square as well in their current range

And I noticed that Villeroy & Boch are doing a very fetching square range this season
Shown here in black and white but also available in just white. They are pricier than all the others mentioned above but very reasonable for Villeroy & Boch!

Next are doing a white square set as well but I thought they were a bit ‘chunky’

Umm, is that okay for starters?