Sat, Sep 30, 2017 - Page 13 News List

Ian’s Table: The king of herbs

Fresh basil offers intense flavor, great nutritional and health benefits and is very easy to grow

By Ian Bartholomew  /  Contributing Reporter

Ian Bartholomew runs Ian’s Table, a small guesthouse in Hualien. He has lived in Taiwan for many years writing about the food scene and has decided that until you look at farming, you know nothing about the food you eat. He can be contacted at Hualien202@gmail.com.

Smoked salmon rolls

Recipe

(serves two)

Fresh basil leaves provide a delicious punch to this simple dish. Having a couple of plants within easy reach of the kitchen counter is a great way to ensure that you always have some lovely leaves to toss into whatever you are cooking. The yogurt used in this dish is strained to provide greater thickness and a more intense flavor. If you make your own yogurt, this is easily done by placing the yogurt on some muslin in a strainer and leave it for three or four hours, resulting in an almost cream cheese-like consistency. This may not work with commercial yogurt as some brands seem to contain ingredients that prevent the separation of the whey from the curds.

Ingredients

200g smoked salmon

20 fresh basil leaves

1 zucchini

1 yellow squash

half an onion

100 ml yogurt, strained

zest and juice of half a lemon

four stems flat leaf parsley

salt and pepper

olive oil

Directions

1. Slice the zucchini and yellow squash lengthwise into slices about 0.5cm thick. Season generously with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil.

2. Heat a griddle and cook the zucchini and yellow squash for about two minutes a side, or until you get nice charred stripes. You might have to do this in two or three batches. Set aside and allow to cool.

3. Thinly slice the onion and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for about 20 minutes, until the onions start to release water. Squeeze the onions to press out as much liquid as possible.

4. Mix lemon zest and a splash of lemon juice to the yogurt. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Lay the slices of zucchini and yellow squash out on a tray. Place one long strip of salmon on it, then a dollop of yogurt and a couple of basil leaves. Roll it up. Avoid the temptation to overfill the rolls with salmon, as the flavor is best when the smoked salmon doesn’t dominate.

6. Mix the onions and flat leaf parsley and serve together with the salmon rolls.

Ian Bartholomew runs Ian’s Table, a small guesthouse in Hualien. He has lived in Taiwan for many years writing about the food scene and has decided that until you look at farming, you know nothing about the food you eat. He can be contacted at Hualien202@gmail.com.

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