From Garden to Table - Spinach and Basil Smoked Salmon Roll



I cook a lot lately with basil and I love it. Here is a little history lesson from The Spice Book, 1964.

BASIL Cut with a Golden Sickle

"Cooks gifted with a flair for seasoning have ever treasured basil as one of the most savory of culinary herbs. More delicate than some of the lustier herbs, like oregano, it may be used generously in a variety of vegetables to lend a subtle, if entirely distinctive, flavor.

The word basil stems from two possible origins. One is from the Greek for "royal" or "kingly"; the other, from a tongue-twister, also Greek, meaning "lizard". In Greek mythology this was indeed a very special lizard, a basilisk, which needed only to look at or breathe upon his victim to kill him.

The Greeks believed that only the sovereign himself should be allowed to cut the basil, using a golden sickle. Yet, according to history, basil was a symbol of hate; why this was so is open to conjecture.

On the other hand, in Italy, basil has always been a token of love, and is called "kiss-me-Nicholas" in some of its regions. Any girl who wears a sprig of basil is suggesting to hear beau, and not too subtly, that there is no need for him to keep his distance. In Romania, however, things are some-what more definite: hewn a boy accepts a sprig of basil from his girl, it means he is engaged!

In its native India, basil, called tulasi, is considered a holy herb and grown in pots near every temple and dwelling of devout Hindus. Though especially sacred to Vishnu, Krishna, and Lakshmi, all the other gods esteem it. too.

Throughout the ages, doctors and herbalists have basil in medicine and magic, although there seems to have been a happy lack of agreement as to its merits for either. "This is the herb which all authors are to-gether by the ears about, and rail at one another like lawyers," wrote herbalist Nicholas Culpeper in 1652. "Galen and Dioscorides hold it not fit to be taken inwardly, and Chrysippus rails at it with downright Billingsgate rhetoric. Pliny and the Arabian Physicians defend it."

That this fragrant herb aroused controversy add to its interest. John Gerard, Shakespeare's contemporary, was enthusiastic, saying: "A smell of Basil is good for the heart and head-cureth the infirmities of the heart, taketh away sorrowfulness which cometh of melancholia and maketh a man merry and glad."

Whatever its merits or failures may be as a remedy for physical ailments, basil is a delightful contribution to a variety of dishes. Since, as mentioned earlier, it is one of the most delicate herbs, it may be used more generously than lustier ones. Basil blends tastily with tomatoes, but also enhances vegetables such as eggplant, green beans, zucchini, peas, or cooked cucumber dishes. Basil is often used with, or as a substitute for, oregano in pizza topping, spaghetti sauce, or a macaroni and cheese casserole".

Garden 01 Garden 03 Garden 02 Salmon Roll 3

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 cup fresh basil 
  • 3 eggs, separated  
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped 
  • 1/3 pound light cream cheese   
  • grated zest and juice of one 1/2 lemon
  • 2-3 Tbsp. capers 
  • 1/2 pound smoked salmon 
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Put the spinach into a pan with a little of water, cover and bring to boil and cook for two minutes, then drain and refresh under cold water. Squeeze spinach dry.

Place spinach, egg yolks, basil, salt and pepper into a food processor. Pulse to a smooth paste.
Whisk egg whites until they hold soft peaks then fold into the basil-spinach mixture. Spread this mixture on a baking tray lined with buttered parchment and bake for 15 minutes or until set.Turn baked roulade out onto another sheet of parchment and leave to cool.

For the filling combine cream cheese, dill, lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place the spinach roulade onto a piece of plastic wrap. Spread the filling evenly over the spinach leaving a side border of 1 cm. Sprinkle with capers, more dill if you like and black pepper. Cover the filling with the salmon slices. Roll up with the help of the plastic wrap. Twist the ends to secure.


Refrigerate for few hours or overnight.

Salmon Roll 1

9 comments:

Marina said...
August 17, 2012 at 11:46 PM  

My sister sent me this recipe for Christmas along with photos, and I still didn't make it! :) It looks beautiful! And your garden is amazing!

marla {Family Fresh Cooking} said...
August 18, 2012 at 8:23 PM  

I would love this roll ~ smoked salmon is my favorite!

sandra said...
August 20, 2012 at 8:08 PM  

Yelena, the roll looks absolutely amazing, and the photographs are spectacular as well. Beautiful appetizer ;)

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...
August 21, 2012 at 3:50 AM  

Such a gorgeous roll! I've never had it like this but smoked salmon, capers, basil, dill, cream cheese... gosh every flavor is my favorite! Initially I thought you used the premade wrap, but it's all homemade. How wonderful!!

Peter Block said...
August 24, 2012 at 9:58 AM  

I thought these were absolutely beautiful. I am featuring them today on my Friday Five. stop by Feed Your Soul later today to see the post
http://chefpeterskitchen.blogspot.com/

Yoon Ah said...
September 16, 2013 at 3:48 PM  

Wow, this Looks amazing and I love salmon ...and spinach +.+
Is there a possibility to serve this hot? Like, after chilling, putting it in the oven for a few minutes or smth like that? My family dislikes cold food at the table for lunch T-T

Yelena Strokin said...
September 16, 2013 at 3:51 PM  

I never served it hot, I think the cream cheese will run in a oven. But if you try it please let me know!

Zuzana De Jonghe said...
January 6, 2014 at 2:24 PM  

May I post your recipe on my blog www.povvi.com once I'll make it myself? Would you might?

Yelena Strokin said...
January 6, 2014 at 2:35 PM  

Zuzana, I am glad that you like my recipe, please share it with your readers. Please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you. I hope you like the dish!

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...