I’m always working on new menu ideas, but I would say that only 10% of my ideas actually make it onto the menu here at The French. However, there’s always room in the memory bank and let’s face it, I like playing around with different flavours and combinations.
I find that sometimes I’m slapped in the face with inspiration and other times it’s a work in progress. If I need that extra push in the right direction, the big green egg usually offers a helping hand. If not, I’ll either look to my Mancunian routes for ideas or think about how I can bring back some of those old school foods like the arctic roll, flan, tinned food and spam and make them cool again. I like a challenge.
Take tinned food for example – what was once a staple store cupboard ingredient for the older generations has become a ‘has been’ for younger folk opting for fresh produce. I would be a hypocrite if I said that I wasn’t that way inclined, but my work with Alaska Seafood has made me realise that we are missing out on some super great flavours because of what? Packaging?
Quality is key for me – I think it is for all of us – but following my trip out there and visiting a canning plant, I don’t consider canned salmon to be a lesser product than fresh fillets – more of an equal product with a different purpose and of course it depends what you do with it. The canning process is so slick and quick – caught and canned in the same day – that it actually captures and preserves the freshness of the fish. You can’t argue with that, CAN you?
Canned salmon is very ‘in’ at the moment in the Reid household. I’m not sure it’s right for The French but what I am sure of is that it makes for a mean fish pie that has become my ‘recipe-du-jour’ after a long day in the kitchen.
It’s simple. All I do is boil potatoes until failing, strain off and add some shredded leeks (which have been cooked in plenty of butter), the tinned salmon, and if you really want to, some sliced boiled eggs.
Mix it all together well and pour in a little single cream and some egg yolks then give it another mix. Pop it into your tray and cover with plenty of cheese (cheddar) then bake at 160˚C for about 45 minutes. You can also keep it in the fridge before baking as a pre-prepared meal.
What’s not to love?
I think what I’m trying to say is that old school can be world-class, cool and contemporary. And most importantly, delicious.