Smoked Salmon Sashimi with Watermelon & Wasabi Sorbet

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Published on: October 7, 2013

This was the first dish from my tasting menu.  The key feature of this recipe is the watermelon and wasabi sorbet.  It is something I have wanted to do for a long time, ever since having wasabi ice cream a couple of years ago at Whatley Manor (probably the best meal I’ve ever had).  With that as my inspiration I felt that this would make for an excellent amuse bouche.  I love sashimi but it is difficult to properly incorporate into a western style tasting menu.  As an amuse bouche I felt it would be a nice and tasty way to begin.  It is something unexpected and refreshing and a good palate cleanser.

The watermelon and wasabi sorbet should be very subtle, it builds like a fine wine.  It starts off as a watermelon sorbet, watery and refreshing (the nose), slightly sweet but with a hint of wasabi (mid-palate) before the wasabi really kicks in and then lingers (the finish).  The rest of the amuse bouche is built around that experience… the smoked salmon enhances the sweetness, combines well with the wasabi and adds a little complexity with the smoke, the sake glaze with the rice wine vinegar helps to balance it out by providing a little acidity and the pickled ginger helps to ensure you are not left with a strong wasabi aftertaste that lingers until the next dish.

What I love about an amuse bouche, is that it is a planned mouthful of food.  You know that in a couple of bites that guest will have eaten the entire dish, so everything will be combined.  In a bigger dish like my Ox Cheek Confit, you can’t be sure that someone will combine a forkful of cheek with fondant potato, carrots and tomato essence.  It is very difficult to construct a dish in that way, even with starters, it has to be small.  An amuse bouche is a great way to make a statement about your own food, to say to your guest “this is what I am capable of…”

My mistake with this dish was to serve it in tiny bowls, the portion is a little too big for a one-bite.  I should have served it on something bigger.  If I am being picky it could use a little more colour but I was happy with how the dish turned out and it seemed like a good start.  Lastly, this dish uses a hand smoker to smoke the fresh salmon – you get the freshness of the fish and the smoky flavour but without it being dry.  However if you don’t have a hand smoker you can substitute with regular smoked salmon.




Ingredients (Serves 4 as a starter or 8 as an Amuse):

2 Salmon Fillets (cut to 4/8)

Cherry Wood Chips

Pickled Ginger


Watermelon & Wasabi Sorbet:

1/2 Watermelon

1 Tin (25g) Wasabi Powder

1/2 Lemon (juice)

125g Sugar

1 tsp Guar Gum


Sake Glaze:

50ml Sake

1 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar

120g Sugar




Smoked Salmon Sashimi

1.  Slice Salmon fillets and place on a plate, have a bowl or other dish ready to place over the top (you need a good seal)

2.  Ready your smoking gun with the rubber hose, add cherry wood chips, light it and fill the bowl with smoke.

3.  Leave the smoke filled bowl for a few minutes, repeating smoking if a stronger flavour is required.


Watermelon & Wasabi Sorbet:

1.  Slice watermelon and remove seeds.

2.  Blitz the watermelon into a puree, add the lemon juice and sugar and blend until combined.

3.  Add one teaspoon of wasabi powder and mix well – check the flavour, add another teaspoon and repeat until you have reached your desired strength.

4.  Add the guar gum and give the sorbet base one final mix to properly disperse the guar gum.

5.  Freeze for about an hour then stir and re-freeze.  Repeat this again after another hour.

6.  To serve, take the sorbet out 30mins to 1 hour before service and break up with a fork.


Sake Glaze:

1.  Using a small saucepan on a medium heat, add the sugar.2.  As the sugar begins to melt, add in the sake and rice wine vinegar.

3.  Reduce until it becomes a thick syrup



1.  In a small bowl, place one or two tablespoons of sorbet.

2.  Now place a slice of salmon on top of the sorbet.

3.  Drizzle a small amount of glaze on the salmon before finally topping with a piece of pickled ginger.

4.  Serve immediately.



–  The dish could do with a bit of green for garnish, maybe a sprig of chive or parsley.

–  Avoid letting the glaze run into the sorbet, it will go solid.

–  Plate this dish quickly, the sorbet will immediately start to melt, you don’t want to be serving puddles of watermelon soup.  For best results freeze or chill the bowls before service.

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