The salmon fishing season is upon us and I can't wait for that first invite to get on to the water and get casting.
I know I've been banging on about my new salmon smoker, but I'm very excited about having my first salmon cured and smoked. If you haven't got a home smoker, then a fillet Tolstoy would be great for this. It's basically the thick, central part of the salmon and predictably it sells at a premium. You can get smoked salmon and Tolstoy fillets from Forman and Field (www.formanandfield.com), Loch Fyne (www.lochfyne.com), Brown and Forrest (www.smokedeel.co.uk), Princesse D'Isenbourg (www.caviar.co.uk). I'm going to smoke my own for this recipe, though sadly not using a fish that I caught myself.
I've had some shocking Russian salads over the years and now you just don't see it on menus; even Patrick didn't have it! Fresh ingredients are key and I'm sure most of the Russian salads in the Seventies were made with canned or frozen chopped vegetables. You can vary the ingredients according to what's in season – in spring and summer you could add peas, broad beans and runner beans.
4 slices of smoked salmon cut to about 1/2cm thick or 12 slices of fillet tolstoy
For the Russian salad
2 spring onions, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2cm dice
4cm piece of white radish or a kohlrabi, peeled and cut into 1/2cm dice
1 medium potato, boiled in its skin, cooled, peeled and cut into 1/2cm dice
A few sprigs of tarragon, chopped
A few sprigs of parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3-4tbsp good quality mayonnaise
Mix all of the ingredients for the salad with the mayonnaise and dilute with a little water if necessary. Spoon on to plates and lay the slice of salmon on top or by the side. You could grate some fresh horseradish on top as well.
To see Mark Hix's exclusive cookery videos, see http://www.independent.co.uk/hixcooksReuse content