October 25, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 11:19 am

As much as I like my job, seven weeks of 6am starts and 1am finishes has left me feeling a little drained and half term is indeed a very welcome thing. So, howcome I didn’t post until half way through half term? Well, the sad geeky truth is I got a little carried away with a mathemtical coding project related to my year 12s’ syllabus.

Yes, I know, it’s tragic. But don’t worry, I’ve still got things to post, I’ll just take a while to write them up.

My first 7 weeks at Highgate have been an interesting experience. I wasn’t expecting the ups and downs that seem to come with your average teaching day. On most days I will see my lower school set. They can be difficult and lessons with them frequently leave me totally exhausted and more than a little peeved. But then this is counterbalanced by an amazing set or year 12s who, no matter how badly the day is going, will somehow manage to make this job seem worthwhile.

The school day also makes cooking a little tough but, for these 9 days of holiday at least, I’m back on form and the first thing I made was this.

You can tell I had too much time on my hands that day, can’t you? 

I’m aware that a few cookbooks include fish lasagnas like this one with a smoked salmon filling but I think that the salmon on its own would be a bit overpowering for me. I wanted something to dissipate the strong salty flavour of the salmon and, at the same time, add an extra dimension to the dish.  I thought about adding prawns at first, but I didn’t want to alter the texture of the lasagne that much. Then I found some haddock on special offer and this dish was born.

Haddock and Smoked Salmon Lasagna

  • 175g smoked salmon
  • 200g haddock fillet, skinned
  • half a medium onion, finely chopped
  • a tablespoon of finely chopped parsley
  • 3 sheets fresh lasagna 
  • 2 eggs, poached and refreshed in cold water

For The Hollandaise Sauce

  • one to two tablespoons chopped chives 
  • 2 medium/large eggs  (yolks only)
  • 100g butter
  • two teaspoons of white wine vinegar
  1. Start off by getting your poached eggs ready. 
  2. Make the hollandaise sauce as described here
  3. Cut the lasagne sheets in half and cook them, as normal, in salted boiling water. Brush them with olive oil so they don’t stick together, and set them aside. 
  4. Sweat the onions in a little of the butter until they are soft.
  5. Meanwhile, poach the haddock in the milk until it flakes. Drain the fish, flake it into small pieces and stir it into the cooked onion with the parsley.
  6. Warm two serving plates. Using a quarter of the haddock minture, make a thin, rectangular base for the first lasagna on one plate. Try and make it the same size as  the lasagne sheets.
  7. Cover the base one lasagna sheet. Over this, put down a layer of smoked salmon, using around a third of the salmon and cover this with another sheet of lasagna. Make the top layer of the lasagna in the same way as the first, but this time layer another third of the salmon over the haddock before adding the top lasagna sheet. Top the whole thing with the remaining salmon.
  8. Assemble the other lasagna in the same way. Top each with a poached egg, pour the hollandaise sauce over them and scatter over some chopped chives.
  9. Serve with steamed asparagus. 

***

This was the biggest success I’d had this term. The addition of the haddock to the smoked salmon and hollandaise did exctly what I wanted. The lasagna had that extra depth of flavour I had been aiming for but was still dominated by the classic pairing of smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce.

In fact, this would have been perfect if I’d been able to find our whisk. As it was, it had disappeared in our move two months ago and somehow I’d managed to get by without noticing it had gone. This left me with  two problems. Firstly, it is very difficult to make hollandaise sauce without one and secondly, those poached eggs were just not going to work. 

The hollandaise sauce was eventually made by beating things very fast with a fork. As for the eggs, Goon tried to replace the whisk with an electric stick blender. It didn’t really work.  

Well, it nearly held together. Next time I’m in this situation, I’ll try the oiled cling film trick that Trig described in his post on egg poaching techniques.

7 Comments »

  1. Wow… That’s a fair bit of dairy! It looks lovely though, and I never think to make an open lasagne like that. D’ya know… I’ve never poached an egg! But why would you need a whisk to do so?

    Comment by Schmoofaloof — October 25, 2007 @ 4:51 pm

  2. Hollandaise sauce is proper artery clogging stuff but it’s SO good. I got the idea for the open lasagne from a Gordon Ramsey book, although in that it was about a third of the size and was called an open ravioli.

    In theory you don’t *need* a whisk but the eggs have a better shape if you do. If you’re just poaching n egg by dropping it into hot water, the egg tends to spread out, like it would if you were making a fried egg and you get a more spread out version of the thing in my second photo. Poached eggs like that can fall apart when you try to get them out of the pan. If If you use a whisk to swirl around the water in the saucepan first, the motion of the water holds the egg together and you end up with a decently shaped poached egg which comes out of the pan nicely with a slotted spoon.

    Apparently it also helps if the eggs are fresh and you add a little vinegar to the water.

    Comment by ros — October 25, 2007 @ 7:42 pm

  3. This looks lovely, and could easily be tweaked for those of us who watch the cholesterol …

    Ros I’m so glad you’ve made it to half term and still have good things to say about a couple of your classes AND the energy to get on with a project for another one. Seems to me that you’re a born teacher … it gets easier, especially after the first year ;)

    Enjoy the rest of half term

    Joanna

    Comment by Joanna — October 25, 2007 @ 11:00 pm

  4. That looks really good Ros. I’ve had a vague notion to do something like this for a while but I’ve never developed it…that’s what I really like about food blogs, the focusing of attention and the way reading about what other people are cooking can help to form an idea. Thanks!

    Comment by Ginger — October 26, 2007 @ 9:10 am

  5. Open lasagne eh, very arty farty haha. An admirable attemt with the poached egg, I’d definiately recommend the oiled cling film method next time. Those hours sound pretty harsh, well at least now you can put your feet up for the rest of the weekened. Have a good one!

    Comment by Trig — October 26, 2007 @ 5:03 pm

  6. Don’t know about you but this half term has flown by! Have a fun and restful weekend.

    Comment by Amanda — October 26, 2007 @ 9:14 pm

  7. Hi Joanna, to be honest I’m really blessed with the sets I have. The sixth formers are intelligent and mostly hard working. the year 9s can be a pain but most of them are nice kids really. I do hope it gets easier after the first year though.I’m getting tired of spending all my time writing work sheets.

    Hi Ginger, I agree, food blogs are the place to be for inspiration.

    What, Mr ‘Lamb with Cherry Sorbet’ is calling ME artsy fartsy?! To be honest, the hours are only that bad because I was over-enthusiastic about somethings right at the beginning of term and consequently ended up running late on EVERYTHING. This half term will be better and if anyone tries to have another spontaneous meeting at 9pm, I’m going to ignore them.

    Hi Amanda, yes it has flown by for me too. I have no idea where the last seven days went. And now I’m getting e-mails from one of my students from Dubai who is taking an extra two days off. Not fair!

    Comment by ros — October 26, 2007 @ 11:24 pm

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