When baking, I generally follow a recipe pretty much exactly as it’s written down and treat it like a science project, until such time as I know the recipe well and then begin experimenting. Each ingredient has a specific purpose and many are paired together in recipes because their properties need to interact and combine in a certain way to create the perfect end result.
But with cooking, I’m far more relaxed and although I can often be found with my nose in a new recipe book or latest edition of a foodie magazine, I tend to use “cooking” recipes as a guide only. Often there is a single ingredient that you might not have on hand or in sufficient quantities, but with a little improvisation and imagination, you can put your own twist on someone else’s creation, making it your own. Sometimes it works beautifully and other times the flavours may not gel completely, but I always think that’s the best way to learn by discovering textures and flavour combinations for yourself.
I had been looking at this recipe for a while before I tried it and when I finally got round to making it, my avocado had ripened beyond all help and the parsley had ceased to be recognisable, so a little creativity was called for. The end result was delicious.
400 g new potatoes, or 4 medium sized standard potatoes
200 g smoked fish
1 bunch fresh asparagus, blanched and chopped into 3 cm pieces (replaced the avocado)
a few slices of red onion finely chopped
handful salad greens (or parsley for garnishing)
For the dressing:
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp sour cream
1 Tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 Tbsp basil, parmesan and cashew nut pesto (or 1 Tbsp lemon juice as per the original recipe)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Peel, chop and boil the potatoes until cooked but firm.
- Blanche the asparagus and add to the potato along with the finely chopped onion, flaked smoked fish (making sure you have removed all the bones) and the salad greens.
- Combine all ingredients for the dressing and gently combine with the potato mixture, taking care not to break up the potatoes.
- If you prefer to leave out the pesto and sour cream (a strangely delicious combination, I know), the dressing works well with just mayonnaise, lemon juice and wholegrain mustard.
- Chill before serving.
My family enjoys this light meal with a few crackers on the side.