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Think pink: Mark Hix's simple smoked salmon recipes are perfect for Christmas Eve


I am now officially recognised as a salmon smoker – my Hix salmon is smoked up on the rooftop at Selfridges, believe it or not – so I thought I should devote a column to this luxurious treat. Apart from enjoying simple slices of smoked salmon, there are so many tasty snacks and meals to be made with it, especially if you buy a pack of pre-sliced salmon and realise that it's not quite good enough to eat on its own, or if perhaps you have bought a side which always yields a few bits that aren't serveable as portions, such as the tail and belly. In fact, even the skin, cut into strips and deep-fried, makes a delicious snack.

Pan-fried smoked salmon with potato and horseradish salad

Serves 4

This is a great, delicate little starter and introducing a bit of piquant horseradish to a thick slice of smoked salmon gives it a new dimension. If you are using a whole side of salmon, just cut slices at less of an angle than normal and about cm thick – or ask at a deli counter.

4 slices of smoked salmon about cm thick and weighing about 60-80g each
250-300g small potatoes cooked in their skins and peeled
2-3 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
1tbsp freshly grated horseradish
4tbsp cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3tbsp olive oil

Cut the potatoes into cm-thick slices and warm them in a pan with the spring onions, horseradish, vinegar and oil and season to taste.

Heat a dry, preferably non-stick frying pan and cook the salmon for 10 seconds on each side on a high heat. Spoon the potatoes on to warmed serving plates and lay the salmon on top.

Smoked salmon tartare with avocado

Serves 10 as canapés

I've recently starting using both plain and spiced mini papadoms for canapé bases; they're perfect in terms of their size and texture.

20 plain mini papadoms
120g smoked salmon or trimmings of smoked salmon, finely chopped
tbsp crème fraîche
Half a very ripe avocado
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dill, for garnishing

Mash up the avocado and add a little lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Mix the salmon with enough crème fraîche to bind it.

To serve, place roughly half a teaspoon of the avocado in the centre of each papadom and then spoon the salmon over the top.

Scatter over the sprigs of dill.

Smoked salmon croquettes

Serves 8-10

This is the perfect recipe for using up leftover smoked salmon trimmings – and once made, you can store these in the fridge for a couple of days.

250-300g large floury potatoes, peeled and quartered
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
120-150g smoked salmon trimmings, finely chopped
2tbsp chopped dill
2 egg yolks
3-4tbsp plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
60-70g fresh white breadcrumbs
Vegetable or corn oil for frying

For the sauce

2tbsp good-quality mayonnaise
1tbsp freshly grated horseradish or strong horseradish sauce

Put the potatoes in a pan, cover with cold water and a teaspoon of salt, bring to the boil and simmer until tender then drain, return to the pan on a low heat for a minute or so to dry them out.

Mash the potato through a potato ricer or as finely as you can with a masher, then leave to cool.

Once the mash has cooled down, mix in the egg yolks, salmon and dill and season to taste.

You can mould the potato mix into a cylinder about the size of a 10p piece or just make odd shapes with a dessertspoon then refrigerate for a couple of hours to firm up.

Have three dishes ready, one with seasoned flour, one with the beaten eggs and the third with the breadcrumbs – and a tray for the finished croquettes. Carefully pass them through the flour, shaking off any excess, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Then store in the fridge until required.

To serve, preheat about 8cm of oil to 160-180C in a large thick-bottomed saucepan or electric deep-fat fryer. Mix the mayonnaise and horseradish together.

Then deep-fry the croquettes a few at a time until they are a nice golden colour, moving them carefully around in the fat as they are cooking with a slotted spoon and then transfer them to a tray lined with kitchen paper.

Serve on a bed of sauce or with the sauce in a dipping pot.

Tagliolini with smoked salmon and fennel

Serves 4

I like to use Cipriani tagliolini for this as it's very delicate and perfect for this dish which takes just minutes to knock up.

4 small servings of tagliolini
100-120g smoked salmon trimmings, chopped
200-250g crème fraîche
1tbsp chopped fennel tops or dill
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water, according to the manufacturer's cooking instructions; drain, reserving a little cooking water. Put the crème fraîche in a pan with the fennel, season and bring to the boil; simmer for a minute or until just thick enough to coat the pasta. Toss in the pasta and salmon and adjust the consistency with a little of the cooking water if necessary. Re-season; serve immediately.