View Full Version : Pencil & Spoon - FABPOW! Hardknott Infra Red with Cajun Salmon, Rice and Peas

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18-08-2010, 20:12
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“What would you recommend to eat with Infra Red? I've got a bottle in the fridge and want it with dinner!” I asked @HardknottDave (http://twitter.com/HardKnottDave), figuring that I’d go to the man who made the beer and see what he suggested (the power and wonder of twitter at its best). Dave replied (http://twitter.com/HardKnottDave/status/21217570763): “personally I'd go for something rich and spicy like a chilli con carne or rogan josh, spicy red meat and tomato, beef bourginon.” I didn’t fancy any of them so I completely ignored Dave and did something else.

Hardknott (http://hardknott.com/) Infra Red (http://www.beermerchants.com/B6113) is a 6.5% oxymoronic IPA (kind of an Imperial Red, or something). In the bottle it pours a great looking amber-edged crimson with a dense layer of fresh custard-coloured foam. It’s fruity and floral straight off with orange blossom and pith, beneath that there’s a little maple syrup, toast and strawberry jam. It’s a glugger of a beer with sweetness at the beginning and a lasting dry kind of bitterness at the end, with orange pith and floral hops, some herby spices and toasted nuts along the way. It’s a really nice drinking beer, really delicious. But what food to have with it?

Step up Cajun (http://generalhorticulture.tamu.edu/prof/recipes/season/season.html) salmon with rice and peas (http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/riceandpeas_81543). The idea was that the rich salmon would be charred in a cloak of herbs and spices while the rice and peas would be a coconutty counterpart to the heat and hops. The pairing was a cracker! The beer’s inherent sweetness was spot-on with the salmon and spice, the fruity heat in the chilli provided a harmonious finish with the hops, the ‘redness’ of the beer provided a toasty depth which was enough to temper the blackened (read: burnt) spices and not leave an astringency, while the coconut rice had a bridging nuttiness to the beer which loved the hint of jammy sweetness and the fruity hops. FABPOW! (http://pencilandspoon.blogspot.com/search/label/FAB%20POW)

The seasoning was easy to make (although perhaps not strictly Cajun, I’m not sure – I didn’t want it too hot to crash into the hoppiness, so favoured the savoury pepper flavour over the heat...): fresh thyme, dried thyme, loads of black pepper, paprika, smoked paprika, a pinch of all spice, salt, bay leaf, garlic, chilli and cayenne pepper. I put it in a sandwich bag with a little oil and the salmon for 20 minutes before cooking. The rice and peas is also easy: onion, garlic and thyme in a pan, add long grain rice, red kidney beans and cook with equal parts water and coconut milk, plus seasoning.


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