By James Goyre

    Growing up, there was a kind culinary arms-race of sorts between the many branches of my family. I didn’t know it as a kid, but the mountain of endless foods was essentially a war.

    Which branch of the family had the best cook? Who was the most generous host? Who had the widest selection of traditional treats on offer? This preposterous amount of food was served family-style – all at once.

    Christmas was a battleground of inter-family rivalry. All nonsense and such a waste of time and food, in hindsight as an adult I’ve decided.

    These days, the family culinary arms-race is on a far smaller and more manageable scale. More of a culinary border skirmish that does not spill much past the edges of the plate or bowl of a particular course.

    Various family members are assigned a particular course to prepare by way of drawing a slip of paper from Santa’s hat. And with some degree of cooperation a magnificent meal of many courses is served.

    This year, I’m preparing the fish course. I’d like to share with you a lacquered salmon dish, with a carrot and orange sauce.

    Carrot and orange sauce:

    3 large carrots

    1/2 brown Onion

    1/2 potato

    1 Orange

    1 clove Garlic

    1/4 tsp ground Cloves

    Salt and pepper to taste

    Peel and dice the carrots, onion, potato and garlic.
    Add the vegetables to a saucepan and add enough cold water to just cover.
    Simmer until vegetables are tender and cooked through.
    Blend the vegetables to a smooth purée, using as little of the water as is needed.
    Return the purée to a clean saucepan and bring to a simmer, add the juice of the orange and season to taste.
    Set aside until needed.

    Steamed salmon:

    4 portions of Salmon

    2 Bay leaves

    1 clove Garlic

    5 whole black Peppercorns

    5 whole Cloves

    1 Tbsp Squid ink

    Salt and Pepper to taste

    Watercress and Chilli to garnish

    Set up your steamer with half a litre of water, the bay leaves, garlic, pepper and cloves.
    Bring to a simmer.
    Add the salmon to the steaming basket on a layer of perforated baking paper and steam for about 10 minutes.
    Remove the salmon to a board and allow to cool slightly before painting a thin film of squid ink onto the top of the salmon.

    To serve: Drizzle a little sauce onto plates, lay the salmon over the top, season to taste and garnish with a sprig of watercress and a sliver of chilli.


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