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salmon stack
Owing to the inherent compatibility of salmon and beetroot there are probably lots of versions of this recipe kicking around. I mean, we are talking of a Rogers and Astaire-type partnership; each making the other look fabulous. I haven’t dared to do a Google search, as I am sure to find the exact duplicate, only prettier and better lit (but not dancing backwards, in heels). The ingredients and method are just too simple for me not to have been beaten to the punch/keyboard. Maybe after I press ‘send’, and this is fired out there into the Internet whateverosphere, I may just have a wee poke around. And have a little cry at my unoriginality.

beetroot stack
Anyway, I first had something like this as a light lunch option at the really rather excellent Edinburgh deli-bistro, Porto & Fi. Theirs was more elegantly presented, had a scrummy but calorific (and spice-free) sauce, and was all smoked salmon, but I think this is a pretty decent riff. And a bit healthier, too.

It is ultra-easy to assemble, especially if you have a cooking ring, which you can get from any cookware shop, or sometimes it hangs out with the scone/biscuit cutters in less rarefied retailers. Or you could use a large scone cutter. If not, or you are just making it for yourself, mix the two salmons with the lemon, cardamom and coriander-spiked creme fraiche (or sour cream), lay a little mound on your rocket and top with tiny jewels of cubed beetroot, and a flourish of toasted pumpkin seeds. Either way, you can have lunch in less than fifteen minutes if you are cooking the salmon from scratch: two minutes if the salmon is already poached and waiting. As I have wittered on about before, it is always a clever idea to cook up extras of any protein, be it salmon, chicken, beef, marinated tofu, whatever, for just such a quick meal. It is usually no bother to poach an extra piece of salmon at dinner for the next day’s lunch. Well, in theory. Of course it isn’t a bother, but remembering to buy enough/defrost enough to do so can take up far more brain-power than I can reasonably relinquish to the task.

Although, as a greedy so and so I often make this just for myself, it positively screams – or rather, trills – ladies who lunch. If one is good with presentation (not I) this certainly makes an impressive, low-carbohydrate repast of the most decadent kind. The pseudo-Nordic coriander and cardamom affectation is crucial in my book, but if these aren’t in your cupboard please don’t rush out and get it thinking this will be rubbish without it. Just squeeze in the lemon and give the crème fraiche a stir and you’ll be happy. A dash of fresh horseradish would also be welcome.

You could even push the boat out and serve this with rounds of best rye crispbread. Peters Yard artisan crispbreads are perfect for just such a light lunch; the rye sourdough tang is indescribably more-ish. I sometimes have a couple for breakfast with chopped hard-boiled egg, slivers of cucumber and a schmear of soft cheese. I have a feeling that Mr A thinks the tin housing them still contains the original breads, and that I am eking them out in the manner of a war-time housewife. Afraid not. I have a stash of packets for refilling as and when required.

And a great stash of salmon, piled like so many planks of wood, in my freezer. I get my supply from the Pittenweem fish van that comes around to our little cul-de-sac every Thursday. Even if we are having something else I almost always purchase a few fillets, if only to have a gossip in the street with my fish-loving neighbours. Graeme our fish guy is a real gem, and picture-postcard Scottish with his copper hair and piercing sea-blue eyes. He sells all the ‘normal’ fish but also smokes his own fish and sells homemade fish cakes. And his wife makes delicious jams, curds and cakes to tempt us. Her blackcurrant jam makes me want to give up jam-making forever; the same with her lemon curd. These are gorgeous on the Peters Yard crispbreads, making a lovely marriage of baked grains and mouth-puckering fruit. But don’t worry that I may engage in a little lateral thinking. Although I like to be original, I don’t think even I would try to make fish and lemon curd work. That is definitely one partnership that I won’t find in a Google search. But as for the blackcurrant jam…
beetroot stack
Double Salmon and Beetroot Stack with Cardamom-Lemon Crème Fraiche

Miss R’s Track of the Week: Two Door Cinema Club ” Something Good Can Work” – sorry about the buffering, but stick with it!

Pretty quick, pretty impressive, pretty tasty. Or at least I hope you think so…

1 fillet salmon (about 90-100 grams), steamed or poached for five minutes; cooled
1 fillet hot-smoked salmon
½ pack (about 100g) marinated beetroot, diced into tiny cubes – I like Waitrose’s lime zest-infused baby beetroot, but sometimes I do my own marinating with cardamom, coriander and chilli
100 ml low-fat crème fraiche OR sour cream
1 lemon (half is for garnishing)
1/8 – ¼ tsp ground cardamom (depends on the pungency and your own taste)
¼ tsp ground coriander
white pepper
two handfuls of rocket/arugula leaves
40g pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted in a dry pan until one pops

In a small bowl mix together the crème fraiche, cardamom, coriander and juice of nearly half a lemon; add white pepper to taste and adjust the other spices if needed. Keep handy.

Remove the skin from the fillets, then flake each of the salmon fillets separately. Set aside.

Take two serving plates and place a cooking ring on each (or do one at a time like I do). Lightly press half of the steamed or poached salmon into each ring and season with a little salt and a few drops of lemon juice from the nearly-used up half. Now press on the beetroot cubes followed by the hot smoked salmon. Pour over the lemon-slaked crème fraiche and top with a flurry of rocket leaves and pumpkin seeds. Grind over some black pepper if you like and serve immediately with the remaining lemon. This is lovely as a light lunch, or as a starter course.

Leftovers? If you are making this up for one person, use the leftovers mixed in with cooked pasta for a superior brown bag lunch the next day. Tuck in an extra slice of lemon and a few more leaves.

More calories: Use full-fat crème fraiche and drizzle with a little lemon-infused olive oil.

Less calories: Use two-thirds poached salmon and one-third smoked; use Quark or other skimmed milk soft cheese instead of the crème fraiche.

Soft food diet: Forgo the pumpkin seeds, but perhaps drizzle on some pumpkin seed oil if available.pittenweem hot smoked and fresh salmonsalmon stack

salmon and beetroot pasta

lunch the next day


did someone say ‘salmon’?

38 thoughts on “Double Salmon and Beetroot Stack with Cardamom-Lemon Creme Fraiche

  1. Desi Chick says:

    what an awesome idea to add cardamom to the creme fraiche. BTW, wanted to let you know that I made your pizza the other day on the grill (the cauliflower crust, I modified with soy and pine nuts because of the allergies) I heated a pizza stone on the grill and used that. It was great. Added some smokiness that was lovely!

    1. What a fantastic tweak! I will do that next time. Like the smoky bit. Just glimpsed your blog title & will read later as I love all your food. If you are ever in Edinburgh I would love a lesson!

      1. Desi Chick says:

        Well my son & daughter-in-law are moving to England in October, that means vacations in your part of the world….

  2. itsahiit says:

    This all looks incredible, I will be sure to follow the recipes.

  3. jackie armstrong says:

    this looks a lush dish right up my street salmon ,beetroot n lemon, my dogs would not say no either the love there fish

    1. Well, my cat Max *was* licking his lips suspiciously. Hope you make it Jackie. Maybe give your pooch the salmon skin for a shiny coat 😀

  4. CathyZab says:

    Great recipe but think our cat is leading a double life. Always wondered where he went at night!

    1. So, we share the worlds cutest cat??

  5. CathyZab says:

    Guess we must! Will send you a photo.

  6. This looks great – I’m going to put it on next week’s menu!

    1. Thanks so much, Linda. I really hope you like it.

  7. Rebecca says:

    This looks incredible! I’ve been craving salmon all week… This would be perfect!

    1. That’s so nice of you to say. We love salmon in our house. It’s like our version of fast food 😀

  8. connermid says:

    OMG Kellie, this looks AMAZING! As it happens, I have a fillet of poached salmon left over from yesterday, some rocket idling about my vegetable drawer for no good reason and I bought two of those shrivelly wood-fire-baked beets at my farmer’s last night; plus a jar of horseradish lurking somehwere in the back of my fridge and some of that deliciously tangy IKEA lingonberry jam, so I think I’ll be doing a slightly Scandiwegian take on your amazing recipe today. Thank you, as ever. I feel a Ladies’ Lunch coming on (wd love to share one with you one day!).

    1. I’m super bummed not to have hooked up with you in April if you’ve got wood-fired beets at your market. I hope Boulder doesn’t disappoint. And I love your great tweak idea. Ikea lingonberry. Mmm

    2. PS ladies who lunch – over Skype???

  9. connermid says:

    Funnily enough, your recipe reminds me of an article I read yersterday about the — wait for it…. — Viking Diet! ( It involves, among others, salmon, greens and berries. Not too shabby. But what did those poor Vikings eat during the 6 dark and frosty months of the year? Seal blubbber? Mmmmmm.
    Perhaps time for you to devise a “Scottish Diet” health cookbook? I’m only half joking — before the advent of deep-fried-everything, I bet the Scots had a vast array of healthy, tasty and frugal stews, soups, roasts, porridges and oodles of deliciously fishy dishes.

    1. What are you like?! I’m sure it would be a best seller. Lol! Not quite a Mediterranean diet, huh. But you are right about the pre-processed scots diet – lots of fish, berries, greens & game. Basically Scandinavian minus the schnapps!

  10. Kellie, this looks and sounds absolutely delicious and definitely something I would love to make!

    1. Thanks Lizzy. Maybe a bit summery for you now??

  11. eastofedencook says:

    Prefect recipe! It’s now salmon season here in California. I am enamored of the healthy and yet to prepare recipes you share with us! Great post!

    1. Well I hope this one makes its way into your cooking schedule. I am positive you will like it, but even more positive that you will do a better stacking and scattering job than I!

  12. thespicyrd says:

    Just gorgeous Kellie, and I have not seen anything like this before, so you get an A+ for creativity too!! I need to track down some cooking rings to make this along with some crab, avocado, and mango stacks I’ve been dying to make. Fabulous job!

    1. Yay! Thanks EA, that’s high praise indeed and very appreciated from such a fab cook and health guru as yourself.

  13. Hi Kellie

    Just spotted your lovely looking recipe, definitely going to have the try this. And thanks for the lovely mention of our crispbreads, we promise not to let your husband know you are secretly replenishing the tin 😉

    Linda (Peters Yard)

    1. Thanks so much Linda. I really appreciate you taking the time to have a look and then to leave such a thoughtful comment. We really love your crispbreads. But when I am up your way I try and get there before the cardamom buns run out! And you have the best coffee in Edinburgh. Hands down. Actually I’ve mentioned you all before in that context, but can’t remember which post!

  14. I think the idea of lemon cardamom creme fraiche just changed my life–thanks for sharing this–I will be making it soon, very soon.

    1. That’s brilliant- love your sweet comment! Don’t know if it’s life-changing but I love cardamom so just thought – why not? Let me know if you try this. PS blueberries & cardamom are a great combo too 😀

  15. Reblogged this on Seattle Foodshed.

  16. emmaorussell says:

    I’ve never paired salmon with beetroot – thanks for the idea – sounds delicious!

    1. It’s a Nordic thing, but quite popular with the British as well. But I think my cardamom-lemon twist might be vaguely original. Glad you like the look of it.

  17. I know of this recipe but I have NEVER seen it look so elegant Kellie! That is MY kind of food, as I LOVE salmon, as you probably know! Bookmarked to make very soon…….Karen

    1. Thanks Karen.I hope the cardamom-lemon creme fraiche is new to you, as is the addition of poached salmon. i was trying to keep the salt and smoked stuff down while still imparting its delectable flavour. Love your kind comment both here and about the tart (and not thinking I’m boring)

  18. Wow Kellie, what can I say? This is a real show-stopper! This would be so amazing for a posh Jubilee picnic or lunch, in fact, it is positively on my menu! I love the lime beetroot twist and the cardamon-lemon sauce. A-MA-ZING!

    1. What a fantastic thumbs up! Thank you so, so much Ren. I would lovet to think that this might one day grace your table. For those of you who don’t know Ren, she is a fantastic writer and cook who opens up her blog, fabulicious food, to all and sundry with contests, round-ups and her insightful writing style. She majors on British seasonal, so if you need to know what do do with asparagus just now, Ren’s your woman.

  19. Great presentation!

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