Yesterday was St David’s Day and I just happened to have an abundance of leeks needing eaten, but wasn’t entirely sure what to do with them…I happened to have spend Sunday debating the perfect scone recipe with some friends and it didn’t take much to draw my eye to this recipe for Leek and Ham Cobbler.
I made a major change and substituted a piece of salmon fillet for the ham, as I happened to have a bit needing eaten. I therefore left out the extra vegetables and the grated apple in the recipe, but pretty much stuck to it otherwise. I thought the recipe was probably fiddly enough with it.
I chopped the leeks and sauteed them with some butter and oil and added into a chopped anchovy fillet for a bit of umami oomph. While they were cooking I turned my attention to the cobbler dough. I had used about a teaspoon of oil for the leeks, so it was difficult to tell how much oil I should be using for the dough as it suggested the leftovers. I decided to add the yoghurt and flour and simply loosen the dough if needed with the oil.
Yoghurt had been mentioned as the magic ingredient in scone making. I usually use buttermilk, but that’s hard to come by in England, so I was keen to see how yoghurt would work. I mixed the flour and yoghurt together and was pleased to see it combine easily and aerate beautifully into a slick dough. I added about a teaspoon of oil and the dough looked a bit wet so I added a handful more flour to firm it up and added in the fresh thyme. The dough was soft and malleable and didn’t seem to need rolled out.
I placed the chopped raw salmon in the base of the dish, added the sauteed leeks and a splash of stock made with Marigold Bouillon and then laid the dough over the top and squished it down well to cover any leeks round the edge and stop them from burning in a 200˚C oven. In total this had taken less than 15 minutes and I was pleased to see it had all been much easier than I thought!
20 minutes later I was greeted by a gorgeous golden crust and a heavenly smell upon opening the oven. The cobbler topping had puffed up and crisped around the edges like a nectar dipped cloud. Once opened it was meltingly soft and yielding, giving way to soft sweet leeks and perfectly cooked salmon. I decided to serve this with some leftover celeriac mash to make sure it was a meal rather than a snack.
I needn’t have bothered. The cobbler topping was rib-stickingly soft and filling and the individual dish was more than enough with the generous amount of leeks and salmon. Yet it was so delicious, I could have eaten it all over again straightaway. The yoghurt in the cobbler crust added just enough tang to counter the natural sweetness of the filling and the thyme added a depth I wouldn’t have expected with fish. It was warming and hearty but with a fresh healthy flavour stodge doesn’t usually offer.
This dish exceeded all my expectations. Easy and quick to make (with barely any washing up) and utterly delicious while looking extremely impressive! I will certainly be experimenting with cobbler toppings again as I think they are an excellent way to give a new lease of life to leftovers in the future. In the meantime, this dish will be becoming a staple supper for me. Nothing at all about it could be described as cobblers…