A SPLASH OF WHISKY

Cel­e­brate Burns Night with Whisky-Cured Salmon on its own or along­side fluffy Scot­tish Tat­tie Scones.

Food & Drink - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - • BY JU­LIA AITKEN PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY VINCE NOGUCHI

WHISKY-CURED SALMON WITH MUS­TARD-LEMON CRÈME FRAÎCHE

Trust the Scots to know how to brighten up a win­ter’s evening. On Jan­uary 25, Scots the world over cel­e­brate Burns Night, the an­nual homage to Scot­land’s most fa­mous poet—and some­thing of a rab­bler­ouser—Robert Burns.

While hag­gis (re­ally just a sausage with at­ti­tude) is tra­di­tional fare at Burns’s birth­day bash, Scot­land of­fers less-chal­leng­ing gus­ta­tory plea­sures, two of which—malt whisky and salmon—are sur­pris­ing soul­mates. An­glers who know their stuff cite the Spey in north­east­ern Scot­land as one of the world’s best salmon rivers. And some of the most pres­ti­gious whisky dis­til­leries hug the banks of the same wa­ter course. So, in the true spirit of ter­roir, we team the pair in a Cale­do­nian take on gravlax, or cured salmon.

Glen­fid­dich Sin­gle Malt 15 Year Old (LCBO 605972, $80.95) pro­vides the mari­nade for the salmon, its notes of vanilla and spice echo­ing the sea­son­ings in the cure. This Spey­side malt, with its lighter, hon­eyed pro­file, does dou­ble duty as the per­fect tip­ple with the salmon. In ad­di­tion to honey, look for flavours of marzi­pan-topped fruit cake, sherry and oak. And, as with all Scot­tish whiskies, do like the Scots and skip the ice—it dulls the whisky’s aro­mas and flavours—adding just a touch of wa­ter to open up the bou­quet. Slàinte!

These tat­tie scones (a.k.a. potato pan­cakes) are at their fluffi­est best served straight from the grid­dle, but they do freeze well. Lay the cooked scones in a sin­gle layer on a parch­ment-pa­per­lined bak­ing sheet and let cool com­pletely. Freeze for 1 to 2 hours un­til firm, then trans­fer them to a large freezer bag and seal tightly. Re­heat scones straight from the freezer, ei­ther in a but­tered non­stick skil­let over medium-low heat for 4 to 6 min­utes, flip­ping once, or on a but­tered bak­ing sheet in a 300°F (150°C) oven for about 10 min­utes. Try the scones for break­fast too, in which case, in­crease the salt added in step 2 to ¾ tsp (4 mL).

1 lb (500 g) rus­set pota­toes, about 3 medium 1 tsp (5 mL) kosher salt, di­vided

¼ cup (60 mL) un­salted but­ter, cubed

½ tsp (2 mL) freshly ground black pep­per

1 cup (250 mL) all-pur­pose flour plus ad­di­tional flour, if nec­es­sary

¾ tsp (4 mL) bak­ing pow­der

3 tbsp (45 mL) finely chopped chives

Ad­di­tional un­salted but­ter for greas­ing

1 Peel pota­toes and cut into chunks. Put pota­toes in a medium saucepan with enough wa­ter to cover them by 1 inch (2.5 cm). Add ½ tsp (2 mL) salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Re­duce heat to medium-low and cook, cov­ered, un­til very ten­der, 20 to 25 min­utes.

2 Drain pota­toes and re­turn them to saucepan over low heat, shak­ing saucepan to dry out pota­toes. Re­move from heat. Add but­ter, pep­per and re­main­ing salt to pota­toes and mash roughly.

3 With a hand-held elec­tric mixer, beat pota­toes just un­til smooth and free of lumps. (Don’t over­beat or mashed potato will be­come gluey.) Let cool slightly.

4 In a medium bowl, whisk to­gether 1 cup (250 mL) flour and the bak­ing pow­der. Gen­tly stir flour mix­ture into warm pota­toes un­til well com­bined. Stir in chives.

5 Turn potato dough out onto a lightly floured sur­face and knead gen­tly un­til smooth. (Dough will be very soft; gen­tly knead in ad­di­tional flour if dough is too soft to roll out.) Pat out dough to a disc. With a floured rolling pin, roll out dough to ¼-inch (5-mm) thick­ness. Us­ing a 2-inch (5-cm) cut­ter, cut dough into rounds, re-rolling trim­mings once.

6 Heat a grid­dle or large non­stick skil­let over medium heat then brush with a lit­tle but­ter. Work­ing in batches, fry scones, flip­ping them once, un­til golden brown and slightly puffy, 6 to 8 min­utes, re­duc­ing heat to medium-low if scones brown too much. If serv­ing im­me­di­ately, keep each batch warm while you cook re­main­ing scones. If mak­ing ahead, let scones cool com­pletely on a wire rack. Makes about 30 scones

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