Salmon Fish Balls

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These fish balls are very light and creamy as they contain no potato and instead have a base of béchamel sauce. They are sophisticated enough to serve at a dinner party either as a hot first course or as a main course, accompanied by a mixed green salad. Prepare the mixture well in advance as it must chill thoroughly so you can form the fish balls easily. A mixture of salmon and smoked haddock is also delicious.

Ingredients

  • 75 g (3 oz) butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 75 g (3 oz) plain four, sifted
  • 300 ml (½ pint) milk
  • 500 g (1 lb) lightly poached salmon
  • 3–4 pinches cayenne pepper
  • Bunch of fresh watercress leaves, chopped finely
  • About 5 tablespoons fresh white breadcrumbs
  • Groundnut oil for frying
  • Salt

Method

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the chopped garlic. Remove from the heat and stir in the sifted flour. Gradually stir in the milk. Put the pan back on the heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon. Bubble gently, still stirring, for about 4 minutes until very thick. This also cooks the flour so it does not taste raw in the fish balls.

Remove the pan from the heat and flake in the poached salmon flesh. Season well with salt and the cayenne pepper and stir in the chopped watercress. Turn the mixture into a shallow dish or roasting tin and leave until cold. Cover with clingfilm and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Put the breadcrumbs in a bowl, and flour your hands. Take up small amounts of the chilled salmon mixture and lightly roll into round shapes, a little bigger than ping-pong balls. Dip the balls in the breadcrumbs, one by one, and set aside until all are coated.

Heat groundnut oil in a deep frying pan until very hot and fry the balls, a few at a time, over a high heat for a short time, until golden brown all over. Take out using a fish slice and drain well on kitchen paper. Arrange the cooked fish balls on a serving dish and keep warm in a low oven, until ready to serve.

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