Savoury custard is just like sweet set custard, only savoury. Japan has its delicate, gossamer-light steamed chawanmushi (egg, soy and dashi stock, literally ''steamed in a teacup''), China has its silky baked egg custard, and contemporary chefs are now turning out savoury panna cotta from breakfast through to dinner. Do it as a pretty first course when entertaining, or just make it part of a light lunch or brunch, using leftover roast chicken, salmon, mushrooms or prawns.
20g instant dashi powder
1 tbsp miso paste
1 tbsp soy sauce (check gluten-free if required)
2 tbsp mirin
150g hot-smoked ocean trout
4 x 65g eggs
1 tbsp salmon caviar
1 spring onion green, finely sliced on diagonal
1. Set up a steamer that will take four 150ml ramekins, Chinese bowls or small mugs.
2. Bring 600ml water to the boil, add the instant dashi powder, miso paste, soy and mirin, and simmer for 30 seconds, whisking, until smooth. Allow to cool.
3. Roughly shred the trout flesh, discarding any skin or bones. Place ¾ of the trout in the ramekins.
4. Beat the eggs in a bowl, then stir in the miso/dashi broth with chopsticks, to avoid creating air bubbles. Strain through a sieve into the ramekins, and seal the tops with foil.
5. Steam for 8 to 9 minutes until smooth and creamy, but still lightly jiggly when moved.
6. Finely shred the remaining trout, pile on top with the salmon caviar and spring onions, and serve.