Food fantasies

August 24, 2017

Marinated salmon with  avocado and roasted beets

“Surprise us,” is the only sacred condition we place before culinary maestros as we hand out our secret ingredient scroll each month. This is where imagination, fairytales and taste buds blend to create palate-popping magic


Theme: A mermaid’s farewell

Ingredients: Salmon & Avocado

August with its ample sunlight and pleasant temperature is a month when the sea is alluring. We thought it’s the perfect time to celebrate a ‘Mermaid’s Farewell’. This month, we asked Chef Adam Szczechura, executive chef, Grand Hyatt Muscat and Chef Shane O’Neill, executive Chef , Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa to prepare exclusive signature dishes with the ingredients we provided - salmon and avocado. “Fantasy is a necessary element in living,” said Dr Seuss. The chefs agreed and took on the challenge. Out of the vaults of their imagination, they created culinary delights fit for a mermaid’s farewell.

Developing a dish involves trial and error, and this is why it’s vital to work with flavours and ingredients that you have a passion for. Here, as the theme revolves around ‘A Mermaid’s Farewell’, we maintain this connection with the ocean using sea salt to cure the salmon. We presented the salmon in the shape of flowers as a tribute to our mermaid and also as a symbol and gesture of her natural beauty.This pretty presentation complements the contrasting taste and texture combo of marinated salmon with fresh avocado and beetroots.

Shane O'Neill - Shangri-La Executive Chef

Chef Shane o’Neill,

Executive chef, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa


Marinated salmon with  avocado and roasted beets


For the salmon

Castor sugar     85g

Flaky sea salt    70g

Freshly ground white pepper 2tsp

Centre-cut salmon fillet, skin on, bones removed 500g

For the avocado sauce

Fresh avocado   2 nos

Sea salt 1tsp

Castor sugar freshly ground 

white pepper     2tsp

Vinegar            1-2tbsp

2 small fresh beetroots (about 200g)

Olive oil           20ml

Thyme 10g


1.To cure the salmon, blend together sugar, salt, white pepper and dill in a food processor and make a paste.

2.Place half of the mixture into a container that will accommodate the fish snugly.

3.Lay the salmon on top of this mixture, flesh-side down and press it down.

4.Cover the other half with the remaining mixture, smearing it well over the surface of the fish.

5.Secure with a lid or cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 48 hours, turning the fish occasionally,

6.Peel and vac–pac the beetroot with a little olive oil and thyme. Gently steam in a steamer for 25 minutes.

7.Carefully rinse the fish under cold running water. Dry with kitchen paper.

8.Thinly slice the gravad lax at an angle and present on a large serving dish.

10.Serve alongside the avocado sauce and beets.


Chefs always use their imagination when it comes to creating a dish. Likewise, for this theme, I decided to go for something light that can be relished on a hot summer afternoon. The palate of this dish is very light and consists of different textures and combinations. I prefered to use cured salmon rather than the smoked one for this dish. Avocado with lime adds a bit of sour and at the same time the green peas I’ve used bring in a slight sweetness. All this put together makes the dish perfect for an afternoon appetiser.


Chef Adam Szczechura

Executive chef, Grand Hyatt Muscat

Lemon cured salmon


For the salmon

Fresh Scottish salmon   60g      

Sugar   5g       

Fresh chopped dill         30g

Lemon zest       10g

Salt      5g

Method of preparation

Mix all the ingredients, cover the salmon with the mixture  and leave overnight. Remove the coating and wash the salmon before using it.

Avocado chilled soup


Fresh avocado   100g

Greek yogurt    40g

Lemon juice salt           10g

Method of preparation

Peel the avocado, remove the seed, cut in to cubes. Put it in to the blender with the labneh, salt, and lemon juice, and blend it till it has a  smooth texture.

Lemon puree


Fresh lemon (for zest)   1.5kg

Sugar   200g

Water   1.5lt

Lemon juice     20g

Glucose liquid 10g

Method of preparation

1.Peel the yellow skin of the lemon to obtain the lemon zest from it (avoid the white part).

2. Prepare a sugar syrup, boil the lemon skin with half the quantity of the syrup for 20 minutes.

3.Then strain it, and add the other half quantity of the sugar syrup to boil again for 20 minutes, strain the skin and put it into the blender, add the glucose and the lemon juice and blend it till it is smooth.

Other ingredients

Cottage cheese 50g           

Blanched green peas     10g          

Pea shoots        2g                         

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