LAWRENCE MURPHY: An English spin on a Spanish soup

Using cucumbers instead of tomatoes gives this chilled soup an English feel
Using cucumbers instead of tomatoes gives this chilled soup an English feel

Variety is the spice for younger tea drinkers

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SEARED SALMON, CUCUMBER GAZPACHO AND ASPARAGUS

Serves 4

Gazpacho is normally made with tomatoes, red peppers, garlic and olive oil, served chilled and eaten in the sunny parts of Spain and Portugal.

It’s a refreshing, tasty dish that I often use as a starter as our climate warms, but our tomatoes aren’t quite ready to be used for gazpacho as they need to be ripe and bursting with flavour. I set about making a chilled soup from cucumber and really loved the English feel it resulted in.

English local asparagus, with its short season, is now available so I combined some with the cucumber soup. You could stop here and serve the soup as a vegetarian starter but I topped it with a piece of seared salmon.

The dish started to come together, it just needed a little yoghurt and some chervil. I love the little burst of aniseed flavour the chervil gives and the combination of chilled soup and hot fish.

This recipe is a combination of ingredients that can be prepared and put together before you sear the fish.

Ingredients

Half-cucumber, peeled

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

25ml olive oil

20 spears of asparagus

1 tablespoon yoghurt

Small bunch chervil

1 tablespoon olive oil

Seasoning

400g salmon fillet, cut into four

Method

1. Cook the onion and garlic in olive oil without colouring for five minutes. Allow to cool.

2. Roughly chop the cucumber, mix it into the onion mix and liquidise. Pass the soup through a fine sieve, season and chill.

3. Cut the woody ends of the asparagus and blanch in boiling salted water for two minutes. Place them in iced water to chill.

4. Pick the chervil leaves and whizz together with the tablespoon of oil and a pinch of salt.

5.Heat a pan with some olive oil. Rub a little oil on to the fish and season. Sear the salmon for two minutes on each side. The centre should still be pink but if you want it fully cooked, add another two minutes on each side.

6. Pour the gazpacho into bowls. Arrange the asparagus in the centre and spoon dollops of yoghurt and chervil puree around. Top with the salmon and serve.

Lawrence’s restaurant is Fat Olives, Emsworth. Visit fatolives.co.uk or call 01243 377 914.