To my utter astonishment and amusement, I was recently emailed by Forman & Field (the online gourmet shop that specialises in independent producers) who had read my blog and wondered if I'd review some of their smoked salmon if they sent a pack of their 'London Cure' to me. Being deeply cynical 'where's the catch' was my immediate reaction followed by 'what if I don't like it?'. Greed outweighed such silly concerns and so a package was promptly dispatched.
I rarely buy smoked salmon for myself and so to receive a pack of 'H. Forman & Son London Cure Smoked Scottish Salmon' was a real treat. According to the packaging, Formans are the oldest salmon smoker in Britain, started in 1905. They claim that their London Cure is one of the most delicate as the idea is to taste the salmon, not the smoke. They also recommend that one doesn't serve the salmon with lemon as it disguises the fish's natural flavour.
So, what should one serve it with? I took Formans' advice and had my first slice unadorned. The fish had a rich, silky texture and melted beautifully on my tongue. Although it was far from cloying, I decided that I personally needed a touch of acidity to cut through the richness of the fish. It certainly wasn't the smokiest fish I'd ever tasted but instead had a sweet character that was akin to chestnuts and peat.
Formans' generous gift saw me through two meals. The first, a simple open sandwich (on a gluten free roll) accompanied by a simple salad including my favourite broad beans with a drizzle of lime juice.
The lime was a touch too far and so I experimented with alternative sources of acidity and arrived at an elegant solution of preserved lemons, dill, capers and mere touch of Dijon mustard which I mixed with prawns, peas and beans and served with the final slices of salmon, nestled on a bed of finest English round lettuce. Springtime on a plate.
Personally I like a touch of zing and so sorry H. Forman & Sons - this sampler will continue to add lemon (albeit in the preserved, salty form). So, the overall verdict? Lovely texture, gorgeous natural colour and subtle sweet flavour and very rich. Not to be eaten everyday but then it wouldn't be such a treat, now would it?!