Wild Atlantic salmon and crayfish or salmon and prawns baked with sour cream and dill


Salmon and prawns with sour cream and dill

Baking salmon with a sour cream topping is quite a traditional everyday way of cooking salmon in Finland. We like our sour cream, we call it Smetana. It's one of the few good things that has come to us across our eastern border. No, just kidding, although miraculously can't think of anything just now. Other than that the Finnish food culture is indeed very interesting, because we have all the western Scandinavian influences as well as the Eastern European touches on top of our original Finnish cuisine. We love smetana with fish roe and pretty much anything fishy and many a soup and sauce is improved by an added blob of Smetana.

This was our Saturday dinner with the kids last week. I often opt for meat, because I think kids like that more, even though they have been pretty good with salmon. But this time traumatised by the Friday night meat fest at my company Christmas do (I don't know why he chose the turkey and pigs in blankets etc. when there was also fish on the menu) husband specifically asked for fish, so I thought I'd make this juicy version.

If you want to go all fancy-pants, you can do the same with wild Atlantic salmon and crayfish tails. Not long ago I did exactly that inspired by the crayfish that I found on the fish counter. I asked for a whole side of gorgeous, bright orange wild Atlantic salmon. As the fishmonger weighed it on the scales he mentioned the price which was quite a lot. I had read the wrong label with less than half the kg price.

At that point I should have said "oh dear, that's a bit expensive, how about that perfectly fine looking piece of farmed Norwegian salmon, how much would that be". That would have been completely reasonable and the fishmonger probably would not have laughed at me or pointed at me with his fish scaly finger shouting to all other customers: "look at this one - can't even afford to buy a piece of fish - should have gone to Lidl".

Instead I just smiled slightly stiffly and took the package without a flinch pretending I routinely buy stupidly expensive food and wished the stupid greedy monger a nice day. It's the same with the hairdresser, sorry, stylist, you can never tell her that she has completely fucked up your hair and happiness for the next 4 months, you thank her smiling sycophantically in your horrible 3-year-old-boy-hair, buy some stupidly priced heat protection spray you're never going to use and leave the salon to run into the dressing room of the first women's clothing store (in my case it's the Covent Garden Next) and burst into tears while trying to stretch your hair to cover your forehead, which in my case is a long distance.

So my advice regarding the fish (for hair I have nothing), is to do this with a normal lovely fresh salmon and prawns. It's just as lovely unless it's a special event and you want to impress. You can even skip the prawns, but they make it a bit more interesting.

Salmon and shellfish with lemon and dill

Salmon and prawns with sour cream and dill

Salmon topped with sour cream and prawns

1 side (750g-1kg) of Scottish, Norwegian or Atlantic salmon (or appropriate amount of fillets)
Bunch of fresh dill
1 lemon
Lemon pepper
1 pot (170ml) sour cream
1/4 cup single / double cream
 200g prawns (or crayfish)

If you can, season the salmon a few hours before cooking with salt and lemon pepper, a couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh dill and the zest and juice of half a lemon. Let it sit in the fridge for maximum flavour.

When ready to cook heat the oven to 190C. Mix the sour cream and cream, season with salt and lemon pepper, zest and juice of half the lemon and a couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh dill. I just thought of this, a spoonful of runny honey might work really nicely here, Spread about half of the sour cream mix on the fish. Mix the prawns with the rest of the sour cream mix and keep for later.

Place the salmon in the oven and cook for about 20-30 min (depending on thickness of your salmon) until the fish is almost done. Insert a knife into the thickest part of the fish to check doneness. I like my salmon pretty well done but not overcooked, so I will cook it until it flakes and has just turned pink. Some people like it a bit underdone in the middle and leave it slightly orange.

So about 5 minutes before your salmon is perfectly done to your liking take it out and spread the rest of the sour cream and prawns on top. Cook until the prawns have just turned pink. Garnish with fresh dill and lemon segments serve immediately with potatoes or rice and salad.

Wild Atlantic salmon and crayfish with sourcream and dill

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