Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Smoked Salmon or Trout Loaf

One of my very first summer jobs was as a replacement cook for a month in a group home while the regular cook went on her holidays. I only got the job because I was the only person who applied; I'm sure they thought I was far too young and they may have been right. Still, I muddled through and did okay, and I enjoyed trying out a lot of new things on my test subjects, most which things turned out to be actually edible. When I left, the one recipe they asked me to leave for the regular cook, though, was Aunt Verna's Salmon Loaf; which was a perfectly standard 1950's budget cooking classic. New to them apparently, and it had been a big hit with the residents. I haven't tried to make the original recipe in  years. I don't think it would really work anymore without a major rejigging, because the size of the crackers and the size of the tins of salmon have changed so much over the years.

Since I had to rethink it anyway, I've rethought it completely and have used a mix of fresh and smoked salmon (salmon trout would work just as well, I'm sure) instead of the canned. No longer a budget dish, alas, but excellent. This is best eaten while freshly baked, but it keeps and reheats reasonably well for a day or two.

6 servings
1 hour 15 minutes - 30 minutes prep time

Smoked Salmon or Trout Loaf

250 grams (1/2 pound) smoked salmon or trout
450 grams (1 pound) fresh salmon or trout

2 cups cracker crumbs (I used 8 rye crackers)
1 1/2 cups milk
3 extra-large eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt
fresh black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh dill
OR 1 teaspoon dried dillweed

Put the fish in a large pot in a single layer, skin side down. Add about 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a bare simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes, until firm. Remove to a plate and let cook for about 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9" or 10" pie plate well and set aside.

Meanwhile, put the cracker crumbs and milk in a mixing bowl to soak. Divide the eggs, putting the whites in a separate bowl to be beaten stiff, and adding the yolks to the crumbs and milk. Season the crumb mixture with the salt, pepper and dill. Beat the eggwhites until stiff.

When the fish is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin and any bones. Crumble the fish into the crumb mixture, and stir well. Fold in the beaten eggwhites. Place the mixture in the prepared pie plate and spread it out evenly Bake for 45 minutes, until firm and lightly browned.

Last year at this time I made A Quick Cucumber-Beet Salad, which would go well with the Salmon Loaf, as a matter of fact. 

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