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Letters to our Friends

This dish was created at Wharekauhau Country Estate and crafted to showcase the best of Marlborough, and the Wairarapa regions. It was selected as the top dish at the 2016 Ora King Salmon awards. The dish has a number of components, however we urge you to try this one at home!


This is a true summer classic, and best enjoyed with friends, in the sun, with a glass of Lighthouse Gin & tonic on the side!


Happy cooking - Bon appetite!



Chilean guava poached Ora King salmon, Manuka bark smoked salmon mousse, local garden fruits and vegetables

Serves 4 People


Chilean guava fruit and brown sugar poached Ora King salmon Ingredients

300g trimmed Ora King salmon, skin off, pin bones removed

Olive oil for drizzling


Spice mix

  • 2g star anise

5g Chilean guava berries, dried powder (from the garden, has been dehydrated in the summer)

2g ground coriander

14g soft brown sugar

2g Marlborough flaky sea salt



1.    Blend the spice mix ingredients together and pass through a sieve to remove any large pieces. Drizzle the salmon fillet with oil before rubbing with the spice mix.

2.    Wrap the salmon tightly with cling film and lightly poach to set the shape and cook to medium. Remove salmon from poaching pan, cool and allow to rest in the fridge.

3.    When ready to serve, carefully remove cooked salmon from cling film and portion. Lay on a tray and bring to room temperature 30 minutes prior to serving.


Grapefruit syrup Ingredients

125ml grapefruit juice

5g root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

25g Manuka honey

1 pinch of NZ saffron threads



1.    Place all ingredients in a pan and bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat and simmer until a syrup is obtained.

2.    Season syrup to taste before straining through fine muslin.

3.    Store in the fridge until required.


Manuka smoked Ora King salmon mousse Ingredients

90g Marlborough King salmon belly, skin on

4g caster sugar

Pinch of Marlborough flaky sea salt

Manuka bark

60g soft goat’s feta

30g mascarpone cheese

25g natural yoghurt

2g lemon zest, fine

10ml Lighthouse Gin

3g fennel fronds and chives, chopped

Marlborough flaky sea salt

10ml cream

½ leaf gelatine, softened



1.    Sprinkle sugar and salt on salmon, place the Manuka bark in a pan with a rack over, heat the pan and place the salmon on the rack skin side down. Cover with a second pan of the same size. Using a high smoke, cook for 5 – 10 minutes or until salmon is cooked through.

2.    Remove smoked salmon from pan and allow to cool slightly.

3.    In the meantime, place the goat’s cheese, mascarpone and yogurt in a blender and mix until smooth. Add the cooled smoked salmon, lemon zest, gin and herbs. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated.

4.    Heat the cream and add the softened gelatine, allow gelatine to dissolve fully before adding to the mousse. Taste and adjust the seasoning as required.

5.    Roll mousse mix in cling film to create a small thin log, or place into a container and set in the fridge for 20 minutes. Upon serving, portion mousse as required and remove cling film.


To serve

¼ apple, thinly sliced thin

40g fennel bulb, thinly sliced

1 radish, thinly sliced

1 Grapefruit, segmented

Micro herbs and edible flowers

Ora King salmon caviar

Sweet soy sauce


Just prior to serving, finely slice the fennel, radish and apple. Arrange a portion of poached salmon and mousse on each plate, place the finely sliced apple, radish and fennel along with the segmented grapefruit on and around the salmon. Drizzle with a small amount of grapefruit syrup and sweet soy sauce.

Decorate with Ora King salmon caviar, fresh micro herbs and edible flowers




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