How to make the most of smoked salmon trimmings – recipe | Christmas food and drink

Today’s thrifty and simple mousse can be made with the leftovers from a side of smoked salmon or with trimmings bought from the fishmonger, which are often sold at a knockdown price, making them an economical and waste-saving ingredient, as well as a delicious one.

Spelt and cheddar gougeres with smoked salmon trimming mousse

The Secret Smokehouse in Hackney, east London, says that smoked salmon trimmings, which are best kept in an airtight container in the fridge, can be turned into all kinds of dishes, from mousse, terrine, salad and chowder to frittata, quiche, fishcakes, pasta, risotto and scones. Smoked salmon pairs especially well with dill, black pepper, chives, soft cheese or creme fraiche, lemon, capers, spring greens, rye, and thinly sliced, crunchy veg (radish and cucumber, say), so bear that in mind when you come up with a dish to use up your own smoked salmon, should you be fortunate enough to have any left over. Here, I’ve made a simple smoked salmon mousse from trimmings, which can be served on crackers, as a dip for crudites or, more elaborately, in today’s cheesy gougeres. The cheddar is cooked, so they are also are a great way to use up old, cracked cheese and/or cheese rinds.

50g salmon trimmings
80g cream cheese
30g yoghurt
1 dill sprig
, plus more soft sprigs to serve
Zest and juice of ¼ lemon (unwaxed and organic, for preference)
Sea salt and black pepper
80g unsalted butter
½ tsp sea salt
75ml whole milk
70g flour
– I use a mix of 50g plain white and 20g wholemeal spelt flour, but any glutenous flour will work
3 medium eggs
40g hard cheese
(eg, mature cheddar, gruyere, parmesan), grated, plus extra for topping

First make the smoked salmon mousse. Put the fish trimmings, cream cheese, yoghurt, dill sprig (including the stem) and the lemon juice and zest in a blender and blitz smooth. Season gently to taste, if need be.

Now for the gougeres. Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Melt the butter in a pan with half a teaspoon of sea salt, add the milk and 75ml water, and bring to a boil. Add the flour, turn down the heat to low and stir vigorously until the mix comes together into a dough. Transfer to a large bowl, then stir in the lightly beaten eggs one at a time. Finally, fold in half a teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper and the grated cheese (an older cheese or rind works well).

Line a large baking tray with damp (but not wet) greaseproof paper and top with teaspoon-sized balls of the batter, spacing them 2cm apart. Scatter over some more grated cheese, then bake for 25 minutes, until the gougeres are puffy, dark golden brown and crisp. Lightly prick the base of each gougere with a toothpick or skewer – this will stop them deflating – then return them to the oven for five minutes. Leave to cool a little, slice open, fill each one with salmon trimming mousse and a sprig of dill, and serve.

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