Salmon, smoked or cured makes the quickest and easiest starter dish; team this with a quick-made dill sauce and the dish is complete.
Scottish or Irish smoked salmon and the creamy dill sauce is a classic combination and served as a starter, or with boiled new potatoes and a side salad, makes a great main course. See below for more ways of serving this classic combination.
Smoked Salmon and Dill sauce is also a traditional dish served at Christmas.
- For the Dill Sauce:
- 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard (or sweet Swedish mustard)
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 pint/150 milliliters vegetable oil (or rice bran oil)
- 2 tablespoons dill (finely chopped plus extra dill for decoration)
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- To Serve:
- 12 large slices smoked salmon (or gravad lax)
- Optional: 2 tablespoons capers (in brine, rinsed)
- Garnish: lemon wedges and brown bread and butter for serving
- Place the mustard, sugar and vinegar in a large glass bowl and whisk lightly with a hand whisk until the ingredients emulsify.
- Add the egg yolk to the sauce and whisk vigorously to form a thick, creamy sauce.
- Gradually add the oil just a few drops at a time whisking continuously; do not rush this process or the sauce will split. When ready, the sauce should resemble a thick, creamy mayonnaise.
- Taste and then season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Finally, stir in the chopped dill.
- Divide the salmon slices equally between the plates. Sprinkle on a few capers, if using, decorate with dill and lemon wedges and serve the sauce on the side.
This dish will serve six as a starter, or four as a main course.
Which Salmon to Use
For this classic recipe, you can use either a Scottish or Irish smoked salmon. If you are unable to find these (if outside the UK or Ireland) then use any good quality smoked salmon available to you.
This sauce also works well with Gravad Lax. Gravad Lax is a traditional Nordic dish but is now widely available in Britain and Ireland. Gravad Lax is salmon cured in sea salt and masses of dill. The dill and salt are removed when the salmon is cured before slicing. The salmon has a very different taste and texture to smoked, and it works perfectly with the creamy dill sauce above.
You can, of course, make your own but you will need to think ahead as it takes a minimum of 5 days to cure.
Other Uses for Dill Sauce
The dishes above are the classic combination and way of serving the salmon and sauce. An attractive and delicious alternative is to cut the salmon into strips and stir through hot, freshly cooked pasta, then add the sauce a little at a time to taste.