Hay Smoked Salmon with Horseradish Cream, Arjard and Pickled Red Onions

Guess where I’ve just been, Zionsville, Alabama. I couldn’t have found it on a map up to last week, but I now know it’s close to Indianapolis.

I travelled there on the invitation of Fritz and Jane Kuntz who own Trader’s Point Creamery, a beautiful 150 acre farm in the midst of maple, beech and walnut woodlands, now in full, glorious autumn colour.

The occasion was a Long Table Dinner to celebrate 10 years in business. Jane and her daughter Knubbe had spent a week at the Ballymaloe Cookery School in 2012. They loved the food so they invited me to create a seasonal menu to showcase the work of the farmers, local food producers and gardeners and to highlight their vision to create a sustainable farm in an urban area. Trader’s Point Creamery is the first certified organic dairy farm in the whole of Indianapolis.

Two long tables were laid out on the lawn close to the vegetable garden just below the creamery. Guests arrived at 6pm for drinks and nibbles. The wines were from Alabama (who knew!) and the nibbles were made by two past students, Cathy Richardson and Caitlin Doyle.

We started the meal with Smoked Wild Irish Salmon with Horseradish Cream, Arjard and Pickled Red Onions. The Irish organic salmon was hay-smoked in the kitchen by Chef Brandon Canfield and his team.

Next, a light tomato soup made with end-of-season heirloom tomatoes from the farm. I made lots of crusty white soda bread with Odlums Flour which is imported into the US. See http://www.foodireland.com/p/580402 

The students from Ivy Tech Culinary College in Indianapolis and their tutor Paul Vida made numerous loaves of Ballymaloe brown bread with freshly milled wheat, extra wheat germ and rye flour. Everyone loved the breads and slathered them with Kerrygold butter.

The Berkshire cross whey-fed pig we served for the main course was reared on the farm and fattened to plump juiciness with whey from the cheese making. We served the roast heritage pork with crackling, spiced aubergines and arugula.

Two of the cheeses from the cheeseboard came from the farm, Boone County Bloomy, an ashed camembert type cheese and Fleur de la Terre, a farmstead Gouda.

The other cheeses were Irish farmhouse cheeses – Cashel Blue and Dubliner which we served with homemade cheese biscuits and a delicious blueberry jam made by the Ivy Tech Culinary students.

Dessert was Lemon Posset flavoured with rose geranium from the balcony of the restaurant at Traders Point Creamery, Autumn Raspberry fool and fresh shortbread biscuits and late season blueberries. Fresh herbs and flowers embellished the long, candlelit tables and guests were regaled with reminiscences of visits to Ireland and Ballymaloe Cookery School by guests and past students. Renowned restaurateur Regina Mehallick who did the 12 week course in 1996 and her sous chef Erin cooked with me. Regina shared the recipe for one of the signature dishes at her restaurant, Guinness Cake.

My hostess Maryanne McGriff also cooked a perfect fillet of beef (no mean feat) for a dinner we enjoyed in a beautiful barn in the woods. She too shared her recipe.

Hay Smoked Salmon with Horseradish Cream, Arjard and Pickled Red Onions

Makes 12-20 portions

Arjard (see recipe)

Pickled Red Onions (see recipe)

Horseradish Cream (see recipe)

Chervil sprigs and wild garlic Brandon Canfield’s Hay Smoked Salmon

1 side (3-4 lbs) Wild Irish Salmon

270g/9 ½ oz Sea Salt

225g/8oz Sugar, evaporated cane

6 sprigs Lemon Balm

1 fistfull Dried fresh hay

Make sure the salmon is scaled and pin bones removed. Mix the salt, sugar and lemon balm leaves in a food processor until mixture takes on a green hue.

In a large enough pan to hold the salmon, line with plastic wrap or cheesecloth. Sprinkle a layer of salt cure to resemble the shape of the fish. Place the salmon skin side down on the cure. Sprinkle the remaining cure on the flesh, ensuring the thickest part of the fillet gets a good amount of the cure. The fillet should be encased in cure. Wrap the plastic tightly over the top of the fish to make an enclosed package.

Weigh the fish evenly with a few pounds and refrigerate for 48-72 hours. Check every day. Make sure the flesh still has a coating, albeit translucent at this time. Liquid should be expelled and pool within the pan. Check for firmness at the thickest part of the fillet. It should not spring back when pressed; rather hold the indentation for a few seconds. The flesh should also take on translucence as well. Our 3-4 lb fillets go for 72 hours.

When the fillet is cured, rinse thoroughly in cold running water for 5 minutes to remove all external salinity. Gently pat dry and let sit for a few hours uncovered in the cooler to create a sticky pellicle.

To cold smoke, place the hay in a 21 inch x 13 inch hotel pan. Separately, place the fillet in an perforated hotel pan and tightly wrap the top only with foil.

Place the hotel pan with hay on the range top and heat on high until the hay begins to smoulder. At this point, ignite the hay with a flame and immediately snuff the fire with the perforated pan holding the fish. The flames will extinguish and create billowy smoke inside the covered pan. Remove immediately from flame and hold in a well-ventilated area for 15 minutes.

Remove the salmon and wrap tightly in plastic wrap to allow flavours to permeate the fillet. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Horseradish Cream

1½-3 tbsp grated horseradish

2 tsp wine vinegar

1 tsp lemon juice

¼ tsp mustard

¼ teaspoon salt

Pinch of freshly ground pepper

1 tsp sugar

225ml (8fl ozs/1 cup) softly whipped cream

Scrub the horseradish root well, peel and grate on a ‘slivery grater’. Put the grated horseradish into a bowl with the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar. Fold in the softly whipped cream but do not overmix or the sauce will curdle.

There will be more than enough for this recipe, but save the rest for another dish. It keeps for 2-3 days: cover so that it doesn’t pick up flavours in the fridge.

Arjard (Cucumber salad)

Serves 4-6 as an accompaniment, but more for this recipe

1 cucumber, quartered and sliced thinly

2 shallots, peeled and sliced thinly, lengthwise

1 red chilli, seeded and sliced in rings

1 green chilli, seeded and sliced in rings


4 tbsp sugar

6 tbsp water

6 tbsp white malt vinegar

½ tsp salt

Mix the ingredients for the marinade together in a saucepan. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 3-5 minutes. When cool, pour the marinade over the cucumber.

Pickled Red Onions

Makes 1lb.

450g (1lb) red onions, peeled and thinly sliced on a mandolin

225ml (8fl oz/1 cup) white vinegar

110g (4oz/1/2 cup) sugar

pinch of salt

3 whole cloves

broken cinnamon

dried chilli

These pickled onions keep for months in a fridge. You’ll find lots of delicious ways to use them – with burgers, fish cakes, cheese….

Bring the white vinegar and sugar to a simmer with a pinch of salt and 3 whole cloves, broken cinnamon bits and dried chili. Add the onions to the simmering liquid one-third at a time. As soon as the onions are pink and wilted, lift them out into a clean jam jar. Continue until all onions have wilted. Cover the onions in jars with the brine. The onions should be pink and crunchy. Store in fridge when cool.

Hot tips

Midleton Country Market: If you love fresh homemade cakes, local vegetables and wonderful home-grown fruit or if you are interested in knitting, crochet and homemade crafts why not check out Midleton Country Market every Friday from 9.30am to 1.30pm in the Old School Hall on Churchlane, Midleton.

Midleton Country Market is now taking orders for its Christmas Fayre. Free Range Turkeyys, Duck, Goose, Chicken, Christmas Cakes & Puddings, Mince Pies, Jams and much more. Christmas orders can be collected on December 23 between 9:30am and 1pm. Find us on Facebook or email midletoncountrymarket@gmail.com 

Gubbeen Smokehouse Needs You: Gubbeen Smokehouse needs far more pork than they can rear themselves and they are expecting demand to grow as they move into their new state-of-the-art building in 2015. They are hoping to create a system where an approved farmer can deliver several pigs or whole litters to their assigned slaughter house outside Bantry, and collect, weigh and pay the farmer directly!

For more information please email smokehouse@gubbeen.com  or check out www.ourpiggyco-op.com/ 

Meet the Chocolatiers: Slow Food South East, upcoming event at Highbank Organic Orchard, Cuffesgrange, Co Kilkenny.

Join us to meet Mary Teehan, The Truffle Fairy from Kilkenny, Karen Keane from Bean and Goose in Wexford and Alyssa Jade McDonald from Blyss Chocolate, Germany.

See http://biabeag.com/2014/08/02/meet-2-chocolatiers-and-1-chocolate-maker-on-8th-november/  for further details and booking.



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