A much-loved family favourite. Just pile these high with the fresh herb sauce alongside and watch them disappear. If you prefer not to fry the little choux balls in hot oil then just pop them in the oven until golden instead.
Serves 6-8 as a starter (makes about 30)
For the fresh herb sauce
- 55g (2 oz) mixed fresh herb leaves (eg basil, dill, coriander, parsley)
- 8 tablespoons good quality mayonnaise
- finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
- fresh lemon juice, to taste
For the choux pastry
- 85g (3¼ oz) butter, cubed
- 125g (4 oz) plain flour, sifted
- 3 medium eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 100g (3½ oz) smoked salmon, finely chopped
- sweet paprika, to dust
- a pinch of salt
- First make the herb sauce. Throw the herbs into the boiling water for about 10 seconds, then drain and refresh in a bowl of cold water. Drain the herbs, pat dry on kitchen paper and put into a bowl with the grated lemon zest, mayonnaise and a dash of lemon juice. Blitz until smooth using a hand blender. Cover and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes for the flavours to infuse. Season with salt, pepper and extra lemon juice if necessary before serving.
- To make the puffs, put the butter and 225ml (8 fl oz) water together in a heavy saucepan. Bring slowly to the boil so that by the time the water boils, the butter is completed melted. Immediately the mixture is boiling really fast, tip in the flour, remove from the heat and working quickly beat the mixture hard with a wooden spoon - it will soon become thick and smooth and leave the sides of the pan.
- When the mixture has cooled slightly (a couple of minutes), beat in the eggs a little at a time, until it is soft, shiny and smooth. It should be of dropping consistency - not too runny. ('Dropping consistency' means that the mixture will fall of a spoon reluctantly and all in a blob. If it runs off, it is too soft.) Beat in the Parmesan then the chopped smoked salmon.
- Place heaped teaspoons of the mixture onto a well-oiled baking sheet. Heaet a deap fat fryer to 170°C (340°F). Lift the teaspoons of choux paste one at a time with the end of a metal palette knife or metal spoon dipped into the hot oil to prevent it sticking. Slide the choux mounds gently into the hot oil. Don't fill too full - cook 6 - 8 at a time, allowing them to puff up.
- Cook for 4 - 6 minutes until golden, puffed up and firm, stirring once or twice. Drain well on kitchen paper and dust with paprika and salt. Keep warm in a low oven with the door ajar to prevent them becoming soft while you cook the others. Serve with the herb sauce for dipping into.