This canapé, as with so many I make occurred from the seasonal inspiration I took from being at my parents farm. Over the years there have been a number of different curious ingredients, which have made it into my dishes. This recipe includes one of them, in the form of fresh wasabi leaves. We bought the wasabi plants at the river cottage HQ summer fair. There was a lovely couple selling them along slide the traditional porcelain wasabi graters used to create the finely pulverised flesh we know as wasabi paste.
I didn’t realise that you could eat the leaves from this plants but of course it makes sense, like with so many other plants if you can eat whatever vegetable it is that is growing beneath the ground, more often than not you can eat the leaves or flowering body of it too.The leaves are fiery yet fresh and paired up with the oily, rich smoked mackerel, alongside the earthy beetroot and sharp but sweet pickled shallots, it makes for a great canape with full on flavor! The leaves are gorgeous used whole to decorate any platter however for the recipe they are chopped in a ‘chiffonade’ style which makes them easier to eat but still leaves a little of their lovely texture to enjoy and then added into some crème fraiche/ coconut yoghurt which it gives an indulgent and creamy feel yet still packs a fiery punch.
For the smoked mackerel I suggest trying to find your local smokehouse, it’s always great to have an idea of any local producers nearby like this or other and often you’ll find many other interesting ingredients in there than you would otherwise in a local supermarket. Often the mackerel strait from the smokehouse will come as a whole fish and this is my personal favorite. The bones and head are great to use for the base of any fish stock ore even decoration if you aren’t too squeamish. Mackerel is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids which is something our own bodies don’t produce naturally and we need to acquire from food sources. Being a smaller fish compared to many means that by law of nature mackerel has less toxic build up within its flesh then other bigger fish on the market, something which is great to know as we are all becoming more aware of the dangers of eating fish from the sea due to pollution. It is also a sustainable fish and caught by line leaves the sea bed intact.
1/2 a mackerel -smoked & flaked/ seared
1 beetroot, cooked + sliced (1/2 cm thick)
100g creme fraiche/ coconut yoghurt
6-8 fresh wasabi leaves
1 banana shallot
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp maple syrup
Cool the beetroot whole, with the skin on. This retains the vibrant colour which can leak into the water especially with the heritage varieties