“Cooking is a powerful weapon in the erotic armoury. I really like to cook for the men in my life – but I’m well aware it can also be a major turn-off. The food must be delicious, but above all it must look easy. There’s nothing sexy about a woman slaving over a hot stove, coming in all sweaty with the poulet à la mode and worrying it to death with little dabs of this and dollops of that. Perfect smoked salmon with impeccable scrambled eggs is sexy. Roast beef and all the trimmings simply isn’t.”

-Elizabeth Luard, Still Life


We always have smoked salmon for lunch on Christmas day – just smoked salmon, and I used to get my supplies from Frank Hederman in Ireland, encouraged by Johnny Apple’s assessment in the New York Times, “Mr Hederman smokes fish, which is a little like saying Steinway makes pianos” – Hederman advises on his website, that the flavour is such that it doesn’t need much in the way of lemon juice. It’s not a bad choice (but see the comments below) but now we prefer the smoked salmon from J W Foods in Pewsey.


smoked salmon

Smoked salmon from J W Foods in Wiltshire…possibly the best.


Smoked salmon is perfect with freshly baked soda bread, and maybe a fresh cucumber salad (for example a Victorian maldram). And that is really all you need.

I always order more than I need because the leftovers form the basis of so many instant dishes, or add an intriguing final layer of taste as a garnish.


Good sources of smoked salmon are:
  • Frank Hederman (see above – and comments, below)
  • Fortnam & Mason – if you go to the shop you can choose from a whole selection, but their standard version is also good – melt in the mouth, rich, slightly creamy. Of course, it’s not cheap
  • Asda produces a version which is not bad – not too salty… not too greasy
  • John Ross Junior (from Ocado or Waitrose) has a lot of taste – I often have this for breakfast with avocado.
  • a recent taste test (by Joanna Blythman) put Sainsbury’s Wild Expertly Smoked Sockeye Salmon above H Forman and sons – another quality supplier. However, she also marked down Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference.
  • Skye Gyngell is not a fan of H Forman either “the smell and taste is of kippers, or perhaps trout, not salmon. I’m a bit stumped by the strange flavour.” She recommends Inverawe Scottish (from Ocado); or Harrods mild cured and smoked; or Daylesford Organic.


smoked salmon

Fortnam & Mason offers a really good selection of smoked salmon.

Ideas for things to do with leftover smoked salmon:
  • Blend it in proportions two thirds smoked salmon and one third Philadelphia cream cheese, with a little lemon or lime juice and some white pepper to make a pâté; or alternatively mix with one third crème fraîche, a little lemon juice, some Urfa pepper flakes, and some dill.
  • Serve slivers of it laid over a thick bed of crème fraîche on mini-blini – rather Russian so especially good with champagne, or ice-cold vodka
  • Add it as a garnish to a hot vichyssoise
  • As a filling for sandwiches, on its own, or with avocado
  • Make a mousse incorporating pink martini, paprika and cream, mixing in perhaps a little crème fraîche and garnishing with dill
  • Serve with pasta. Unfreeze some peas without water, and with a little butter. warm gently with a generous amount of double cream, add slivers of salmon and lots of freshly ground white pepper. Toss in the pasta.
  • Make a salad with cucumber, broad beans, and a dressing of mint or dill, lemon, olive oil – and maybe a touch of mild, grainy mustard
  • Make another salad: if you have as much as 250g/½ lb of offcuts make a salad of 2 baby gems (shredded), 2 endives (finely sliced), 3 hard/soft boiled eggs, 1 avocado, 1 cucumber (cut into chunks), 2 celery stalks (de-strung and chopped), and a couple of handfuls of pine nuts. Mix with a dressing of thick yoghurt, olive oil, lemon and pepper – it will start to curdle, but once you dress enthusiastically this won’t matter.
  • Mix avocado and ricotta to make a quick mousse, top with pesto and strips of smoked salmon – follow this link for the full recipe
  • on a bagel with sour cream
  • bake a sheet of puff pastry and and dot the shaved smoked salmon on it, sprinkle over some chopped rocket or watercress, and drizzle over that a dressing made of sour cream and chives
  • serve with potato cakes, capers and watercress
  • chop, and mix with creamed horseradish. Encase in filo and bake 5-10 minutes in a hot oven.

    This post is dedicated to my sister, who introduced me to Elizabeth Luard’s writing.


    While you mull your options you can listen to Moishe’s Bagel to aid your little grey cells….

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E40e_THCcTo]