“Don’t hide your smoked salmon in a sandwich!” says the owner of East Yorkshire’s Staal Smokehouse, as he gives his tasty recipe tips on making smoked food the star of your spring picnic.

“People often don’t look beyond cold platters or sandwiches when they use smoked meat and fish, but this kind of food has a myriad of uses beyond sandwiches and cold platters,” says Justin Staal, who runs Staal Smokehouse with wife Georgina from their cottage in Riston Grange, Long Riston. “Their aromatic flavour adds another dimension to salads, pastas and pates, which are perfect for packing in the hamper with a hot thermos!”

Justin, who has won a Great Taste, Deliciously Yorkshire and a ‘Remarkable Fayre’ award for his delicious smoked products is urging people to “think beyond the sarnie” and shake off the winter blues with summer barbecue flavour without the fuss, using Staal’s Cold Smoked Salmon, Hot Smoked Trout, Smoked Mackerel and Hot Smoked Chicken for alfresco get together.

Staal’s Spring Picnic Tips

Asparagus with Smoked Salmon Heat a knob of butter and a little oil in a heavy based frying pan. Toss in 450g of asparagus tips and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring to coat with the oil and butter, season with black pepper and salt. Then drop in 250g of our cold smoked salmon, cut into strips, cooking for a further 2 minutes until the smoked salmon changes colour very slightly. Tip the asparagus and salmon into one large dish or into individual bowls. Garnish generously with 150g of pecorino or parmesan cheese shavings.

Smokey Caesar Cut some two or three slices of bread into cubes and bake until crispy in the oven. Blend 1 soft-boiled egg with 1 clove crushed garlic, 2tsp Dijon mustard, a glug of oil, 2 drops Tabasco and 4tbsp yoghurt until smooth and season with salt and black pepper. Toss strips of cos lettuce and around 200g smoked chicken in the dressing and add the croutons. Pop in your tupperware, keep cool, and eat the same day.

Zesty Salad Pop 2 good glugs of oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, 1 crushed clove garlic and a handful of chopped tarragon in a jug and season generously. Pour it over 400g rinsed puy lentils, 1 small chopped red onion and 150g hot-smoked salmon and pop in a tub. While you’re enjoying the spring air, the flavours will mingle! Pack a chopped, deseeded pomegranate and some parsley in your picnic bag and add this to the salad just before eating.

Pronto pate This tasty but super-fast pate can be put together if your guests are imminent or you want to grab the fleeting spring sunshine quickly. Simply place skinned smoked mackerel fillets in the blender and whiz up with some soft cheese, lemon juice and horseradish sauce. Taste to check you’re happy and add more cheese or more sauce if you feel it’s needed.

Chilled Conchiglie People often overlook trout in favour of salmon but it has a lovely delicate texture with a mild flavour that’s really beautiful when smoked. Cook around 400g pasta according to the packet instructions and then sauté 1 sliced onion and 1 clove crushed garlic until tender. Add 1 bunch trimmed and chopped asparagus and sauté for a further minute, and add a glug of white wine and simmer until reduced. Pop in 1tsp Dijon mustard and 300ml single cream before bringing to the boil. Reduce the heat and add your smoked trout slices. Cool completely before adding to your serving box and sealing.

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