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Edinburgh Evening News 65 - Salt Hake Brandade, Pickled Beetroot, Mini Melba Toasts, Dill Mayonnaise

This week’s recipe is a perfect starter to serve when entertaining guests.

All elements can be prepared well ahead of time so that only the plating up remains for when your guests arrive. Preparing ahead relieves so much of the stress when hosting a dinner party. It means that you have the time to enjoy the evening just as much as your visitors.

I have not included salt in any of the elements apart from the hake. The hake is salted but then it is rinsed and poached in milk so taste each of the elements prior to plating up and check to see if any additional seasoning is required at that stage.

Serves 4


For the hake brandade:

500g hake, get your fishmonger to skin and debone the fish

200g rock salt

3 star anise

300ml milk

400g baby potatoes

1 tbsp dill, finely chopped

For the beetroot:

2 large beetroots, washed well

For the pickling liquor:

100ml water

100g brown sugar

100ml sherry vinegar

2 star anise

1 cardamom pod

1 tsp mustard seeds

For the mini melba toasts:

1 slice of white bread, crusts removed

Oil for frying

For the dill mayonnaise:

1 whole egg

1 egg yolk

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp sherry vinegar

500ml rapeseed oil

½ pack of dill, finely chopped


For the hake brandade:

  • Blend the salt and star anise together

  • Totally cover the hake in the salt mixture

  • Leave in the fridge overnight or for a minimum of 12 hours

  • Wash the hake well and pat dry

  • Poach the hake in the milk for 3 minutes

  • Allow the fish to cool in the milk

  • Lift out the hake and discard the milk

  • Boil the potatoes until tender for approximately 18 minutes

  • Whilst the potatoes are still warm, drain them and crush them with a fork

  • Allow to cool

  • Gently fold the dill, hake and potatoes together until combined but so that the fish is not broken down too much

  • Set aside

For the pickled beetroot:

  • Boil the beetroot for 25 minutes

  • Allow to cool in the water

  • Mix together the pickling liquor ingredients

  • Peel the beetroot under cold running water

  • Slice it as thinly as possible either by hand or on a mandoline slicer

  • Once sliced drop the beetroot into the pickling liquor and allow to sit for 1 hour

For the mini melba toasts:

  • In a pasta machine, pass the bread through each size setting twice until you reach the thinnest setting

  • Cut the bread into small triangles

  • Deep fry at 180C till golden brown

  • Drain on kitchen paper

For the dill mayonnaise:

  • In the container of a food processor, combine the egg, egg yolk, mustard and vinegar

  • Set the food processor on medium speed and gradually drizzle in the oil while blending

  • Add the dill and blend

  • Taste and season

  • Please note: mayonnaise only curdles if the oil is added too quickly at the beginning. If that happens, don't worry. All you need to do is put a fresh egg yolk into a clean bowl, add the curdled mixture to it (drop by drop whisking continuously), then continue adding the rest of the oil as though nothing has happened

Plate as per the image or get creative and come up with your own presentation for the elements.

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