Smoked Salmon, Mango And Melon Salad
This beautiful dish is on our table again and again at this time of year. The only secret to it is to use ripe, sweet fruit and a sharp knife when you prepare it so everything is sliced thinly – it’s surprising just what a difference to the look and taste of the salad this little detail makes.
- 3/4 ripe rockmelon (cantaloupe), thinly sliced
- 3 large navel oranges, peeled and pith removed, sliced into segments
- 2 ripe mangoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
- 3 large celery stalks, sliced on the diagonal into long thin crescents
- 5 fillets hot-smoked (kiln-cooked) salmon, flaked into chunks
- Small mint leaves, to garnish
- 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup (125ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup (125ml) olive oil
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice, or more to taste
- Finely grated zest 1 orange
- 1/4 cup (60ml) freshly squeezed orange juice, or more to taste
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
For the orange mayonnaise, sit a medium-sized bowl on a damp cloth (this will help stop the bowl sliding around as you whisk the mayonnaise) and plop the egg yolks and Dijon mustard into it. Whisk them together with a balloon whisk until they’re thoroughly mixed. Now combine the two oils in a jug.
This next stage of proceedings is the only slightly tricky thing about making mayonnaise, and the secret to it is patience, for if the oil is added too rapidly the mixture will separate. Whisking constantly, start adding the oil, drop by drop – as the mixture starts to come together and thicken you can increase the flow of oil to a very, very fine thread. The mixture should become really thick and creamy. About halfway through adding the oil, add the lemon juice and orange zest and 1 tablespoon of the orange juice – this will thin the mayonnaise down a bit and make it easier to mix. Continue adding the remaining orange juice and oil in a fine stream until it is all incorporated. Whisk in the salt, then taste the mayonnaise and add a little more lemon juice, orange juice or salt, if necessary. Set the mayonnaise aside. (If you’re not using it straight away, scrape it into a container with a tight-fitting lid, and pop it in the fridge – it keeps well for 4 days.) It will seem a little thinner than regular mayonnaise but that’s fine, you want it that way.
Now I have to ‘fess up here that from time to time when I’ve been hurrying too much I have added the oil too quickly and the mayonnaise has split. If the same thing should happen to you, I’ve found that immediately adding a little lemon juice and a splash of hot water can quite often salvage it. However, it may need more of each than the recipe says, in which case you will need to adjust the final texture and flavour.
Have all the salad ingredients sliced and ready before start to put the salad together. Spoon a little mayonnaise into the middle of each plate then use the back of the spoon to swirl it a little. Layer the salad up on top of the mayonnaise, starting with a few slices of each of the fruits and celery. Top them with some salmon chunks and do it all again with another layer of fruit, celery and salmon. Drizzle a little of the mayonnaise over the top or dot it around the plate and serve the rest separately. Garnish with small mint leaves.