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Salmon & Turnip Gratin

Here is a delicious dish for a chilly day - Salmon and Turnip Gratin. Turnips are used in many ways in Japan - eaten raw in salads, cooked in stews and soups and fermented into pickles. Equally, salmon has a long history and was historically a staple of the Ainu people of Hokkaido, although today, much of the salmon consumed in Japan is of the farmed variety imported from Scandinavia. You might be surprised that gratin, originally French, is also very popular in Japan and on the menu of many Japanese restaurants and a mainstay of Japanese home cooking.

Combining salmon and turnip in a gratin may be a little bit unusual but I think the mild, nutty and sweet flavour of the turnip complements the taste of salmon without overwhelming it. In terms of nutrition, turnip is high in fibre and Vitamin C. Salmon is high in Vitamin B6 and B12 and very high in the essential mineral, selenium. Much of the fat found in salmon is of the beneficial Omega-3 fatty acid variety.

All of the ingredients in this gratin dish are cut to bite size - this makes for a quick bake and also makes it an easy dish to eat. The dish is seasoned with a little salt and pepper and mustard in the white sauce - the seasoning acts - in the Japanese way - as a "kakushi agi" or hidden flavour - it's subtle enough to complement the flavours of the salmon and turnip without dominating your taste buds. I use salted butter for the sauce. You can use unsalted butter too, in which case you might want to add just a little more salt to the sauce. The two keys to making a perfect, creamy white sauce are 1/. to add the milk a little at a time and 2/. to keep stirring as you add the milk to get a smooth, lump-free result.

What else is in the mix? Some broccoli and tomatoes along with the white sauce and some grated cheese over the top. It takes about 30 minutes to prepare and about the same time in the oven. When it is ready, serve it piping hot at the table - you'll have a delicious, richly flavoured gratin full of good things and bound to satisfy!

If you think you would like to try this dish out, you can watch the Youtube tutorial by clicking Salmon and Turnip Gratin or by scrolling to the bottom of the page. The written recipe is just below.

Happy baking! Kurumi XXXX.



(makes 2 servings)

3-4 florets of broccoli

350g / 12oz turnip

5 baby tomatoes

2 salmon fillets

salt & pepper

1/2 tsp vegetable oil

for the white sauce;

50g / 1.8 oz salted butter

50g / 1.8 oz plain flour

600ml / 2 1fl oz milk

1 tsp mustard or mustard powder

1/2 - 1 tsp salt


50g / 1.8 oz cheddar cheese

an ovenproof dish


how to:

cut the florets of broccoli in half to get bite sized pieces

remove the stem of the turnip. peeland then cut into quarters. next, slice the quarters into bite sized pieces. place the pieces in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. bring to the boil, then simmer for 3 minutes. drain and set a side

while the turnip is simmering, cut the baby tomatoes in half

next, sprinkle some salt & pepper over the salmon fillets. heat a 1/2 tsp of vegetable oil in a small frying pan. add the salmon fillets and fry for about 3 minutes over a medium heat wth the lid on. after 3 minutes, turn over the salmon fillets and fry for another 2 - 3 minutes (lid on)

when the salmon is done, remove the fillets to a plate or a chopping board. gently remove the skin and discard. cut the salmon fillets into bite sized chunks

place the turnip pieces into a medium gratin dish. add the salmon chunks, broccoli & baby tomatoes. set aside

to make your bechemel sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. add the plain flour and quickly stir until the butter and flour are combined into a smooth roux

next, add the milk a little at a time while stirring constantly to blend the milk and roux into a smooth, creamy sauce. take your time to add the milk and mix well to avoid any lumps. (I use a wooden spoon to start and then as the roux dissolves, I use a whisk to get a smooth, lump- free texture)

when you've added all the milk, add the mustard (or mustard powder), a 1/2 tsp of salt and a sprinkling of pepper. check the sauce and add more salt according to your taste

turn your oven on to 220 C / 430 F setting

gently pour the white sauce over the salmon and vegetables the gratin dish in an even layer. top with grated cheese

bake it in the oven at 220 C / 430 F for 18 -20 minutes.  serve immediately


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