Yoghurt: Not just for lashing over granola

We lack vision when it comes to using yoghurt in cooking: use it as a summer sauce or smoke it over hay

Smoking the yoghurt might seem adventurous, but in truth it is simple. Photograph: Getty

Smoking the yoghurt might seem adventurous, but in truth it is simple. Photograph: Getty

 

Every year I love wandering around the food village at the Bloom garden festival, saying hello to the many Irish artisan producers who create wonderful products that showcase the depth of our food heritage on this island.

Velvet Cloud is by no means a new producer, but every year they’re up there showcasing the food from their dairy. I love their silky smooth sheep’s yoghurt and we use it in all three of our restaurants.

We often lack imagination when it comes to yoghurt, either eating it straight out of the pot, or lashing it over granola (though nothing wrong with that). But what about using it as a summer sauce for fish? We use it a lot with shellfish. Sometimes it is lightly seasoned with rapeseed oil and sea salt to match some grilled langoustines or gently smoked to pair with some Moorish couscous as a tapa. 

Smoking yoghurt might seem to be only for the adventurous, but in truth it is simple. Using a little camp smoker (I bought mine online), place the yoghurt in a bowl and smoke over hay or wood chips for a few minutes. Of course, you can always just season your yoghurt with smoked sea salt. It won’t give the same depth of flavour, but it will do if you’re stuck! 

Interestingly, smoked salt also works well with langoustines. Shell them, brush with oil and season with the smoked salt, then leave them at room temperature for 15 minutes to allow the salt to penetrate into the flesh of the prawn. Grill or barbecue them for a few minutes and serve with the yoghurt sauce. 

Yoghurt and herbs work well together, so why not try adding some chopped fennel or dill to the yoghurt and serving it with some grilled lamb chops. A diced cucumber will also give the sauce a refreshing zing. 

Finally, how about frozen yoghurt? Take 500g of yoghurt, 100ml of whipped cream and 125g honey. Fold all the ingredients together and freeze, whisking the mixture every hour until it is smooth and frozen. You could also churn it in an ice-cream machine, if you have one.

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