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CLS Cooks: Salmon & Leek Potato Gratin

I love to cook. It’s one of my favorite things to do, and it’s quite possibly the only domestic task that gives me pleasure. I have a great relationship with food, and it gives me passion and inspires me to try out new tasty treats. One of my fall-back comfort dishes has always been ‘Potato au Gratin’, which I’ve been making since I was twelve. However, on a lazy Sunday, I decided to put a bit of a twist on a classic.

Now before, I start… I’m sorry to say that I’m not usually a healthy cook. I have never been on a diet, and I don’t tend to count any calories – very rarely, anyway. If you’re looking for something which will make you lose weight or whatever, I’d look away now! However, if you want something indulgent or you fancy a treat, this is the PERFECT dish. Plus, I’ve been sort of good – it’s home-made, after all, I used half-fat alternatives where possible, AND I didn’t use salt.

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When I did Food Technology back in school, the highlight was the classic Gratin dish. Oozing with milk, cream, butter and potatoes and of course cheese, it was literally a dream come true. We used to layer ours with bacon and mushrooms, and it’s honestly the nicest thing in the world. It’s great for a long winter night, or a day when you’re feeling a bit sad or have nothing else to do.

I decided that putting salmon and leeks together in this dish might work pretty well. Fish is a little healthier than bacon, and leeks are a good way of adding much-needed vegetables into your regime. I don’t weigh any ingredients when I cook, typically, so I’m sorry – if you want to recreate this, you’ll have to use your imagination. Here’s a rough idea…

You’ll Need…

  • 1 x Salmon Fillet
  • 1 x Large Leek
  • 5 or 6 Large Potatoes
  • 1 Tub Elmlea Cream Substitute / Single Cream
  • Butter/ Butter Substitute
  • Milk
  • Grated Cheese
  • Lemon Juice
  • Garlic
  • Seasoning

How It’s Made…

Pop your salmon in the oven as you normally would for 20 minutes, with a little milk over the top and whatever seasoning you’d like. Peel your potatoes, and then finely chop them into thin slices. Start to lay them out in a casserole dish, until there’s one layer covering the bottom. Chop your leek and garlic and pop pieces of each across the top of the potatoes. Once the salmon is cooked, flake it out, and dot salmon flakes across the top of the potatoes, and add some grated cheese on top. Keep the oven on, as it’ll preheat it for your meal!

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You just need to keep repeating this step, and layering your potatoes over the top. Then you add the filling yet again over it. After a couple of layers, depending on the size of your dish, you’ll want to make the final layer with the topping. Put one last lot of potatoes over the fillings, and top generously with cheese. You can add herbs and seasoning on top if you like, too.

Finally, put some cubes of butter randomly over the top, spread across the entire dish. Then mix your milk and the Elmlea (or cream) together, with a bit of lemon juice added into the mix. Pour over the entire dish, and then pop foil over it.

You’ll want to put it in the oven at about 180 degrees or gas mark 5. Check on it after an hour, to see how soft the potatoes are. You may need to leave it in there for up to two hours, depending on how many potatoes you used! 10 minutes before you take it out, take the foil off, and sprinkle on a little more cheese. The top will now go crispy, which makes the gratin extra tasty!

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I served mine with peas, but you can do whatever you like. It’s not too expensive to make, not if you know how to get good deals. This dish would fill about 4 people I reckon, although if you’re like me, you’ll eat it all in one go!