Posts Tagged “salmon”

Cured Salmon and Jersey Royals Everyone knows that fish is best enjoyed as fresh as possible, so if you've bought some fresh fish on your weekly shopping trip, you ought to eat it within the first two days, ideally. There's another solution though, which may not seem obvious. You can easily salt the fish to cure it, which extends its shelf life considerably. As a bonus, it also improves the texture and flavour. In my opinion, salting fish is a no-brainer. An old chef friend of mine, Hearty, is also a firm advocate of salting fish before cooking it. Often, he's not salting it for as much as a day or more to properly "cure" it, but completely covering it in salt for just 20 or 30 minutes, which has the effect of firming up the fish and makes the skin extra crisp when fried in a hot pan. Curing it for longer, though, will preserve the fish for longer and allow you to continue enjoying it for several days. Here I have made a herb-cured salmon, sort of a simple version of Swedish gravlax. The recipe combines the salmon with a wonderful combination of Jersey Royal potatoes (for me, one of the seasonal highlights of the year), basil and lemon. It's a lovely light summer meal. The curing takes between 48 and 72 hours, and will then store in the fridge happily for up to a week. This process works better with large pieces of fish rather than small fillets, so you will end up with more than you need for the dish. You can keep the extra in the fridge for another meal, or freeze it. --- * 700 g salmon, in one large piece * 50 g sea salt * 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper * 10 juniper berries, crushed * 1 large handful dill * 1 large handful coriander * 1 large handful parsley * 250 g Jersey Royal potatoes * 1 large handful baby spinach * 2 handful fresh basil leaves * 0.5 lemon * 2 spoonfuls creme fraiche * sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper * good quality extra virgin olive oil 1. Cut the salmon in half across the fillet to create two square-ish pieces. Place the salt, cracked black pepper, juniper berries, dill, coriander and parsley into a blender and blend to a paste. Spread the over the flesh of both pieces of salmon, making sure it is all covered. Spread a little onto the skin side, too. Place the pieces of salmon together with the flesh sides touching, then tightly wrap in cling film. Place in a tray, and put a heavy weight on top. Refrigerate for between 48 and 72 hours, depending on how cured you want it. The longer you leave it, the saltier (and more flavoursome) it will be. Turn the salmon over every 24 hours. 2. When the salmon is ready, remove the cling film and rinse off the cure mix briefly with cold water. Don't rinse it too much as you will lose some flavour. Dry with kitchen paper, then cut off enough for the dish, about 80g per person. Cut into approx. 1cm chunks, then set aside. 3. Place the potatoes in a pan and cover with cold water. Add a generous pinch of salt, then bring to the boil. Simmer gently for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. 4. Saute the spinach, season lightly with salt. Squeeze out any excess liquid from the spinach, then place in a mixing bowl. Cut some 5mm slices (1 slice per serving) from the lemon, cut into dice and add to the bowl. Add the basil, the diced salmon and a generous glug of olive oil, then mix together whilst still warm. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Serve in wide bowls with a dollop of creme fraiche alongside. Finally, garnish with some basil leaves and small segments of lemon.

Salmon and Hollandaise This is another classic combination: it’s also an enduring favourite of mine. I’m a confessed fanatic of hollandaise sauce so I think this recipe was bound to find it’s way up here sooner or later! I’ve told you already about my love of of the best to crisp up, it colours quite easily and also has a delicious layer of fat underneath which melts in your mouth alongside the crunchy skin. The sumptuous oily flesh is offset perfectly by the vinegary tang of the sauce. I like to sit the salmon fillet on a bed of spinach sautéed with a little garlic, it complements the other strong flavours in the dish, and adds a nice bit of colour too. --- * 500ml of white wine vinegar * 5 black peppercorns * 1 bunch of tarragon stalks * 2 blades of mace * 250g of unsalted butter * 3 egg yolks * 1 lemon * 4 salmon fillets, skin on * 200g of baby spinach leaves * 1 clove of garlic * sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper * vegetable oil, for frying * unsalted butter 1. Firstly, take the salmon fillets out of the fridge and sit them skin side up on a board. Heat the oven to 200C 2. Make the hollandaise: Make some reduced vinegar by boiling the white wine vinegar with the peppercorns, tarragon and mace, and reduce by half. Strain and pour back into the bottle. You’ll only need 1 tablespoon for the hollandaise but you will have a supply for next time! Melt the butter over a gentle heat. Separate the milk solids from the clear stuff and set aside in a warm place. Whisk the yolks in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of your reduced vinegar over a large pan of simmering water until it's very thick, but be careful not to scramble the eggs. Now take it off the heat and gradually whisk in the clarified butter. Finally, add some salt to taste along with some freshly squeezed lemon juice, and more vinegar reduction if needed. 3. Get a pan smoking hot and add about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Season the skin of the salmon generously with salt, then place skin side down in the hot pan, pressing down to set it flat. Turn the heat to low and cook like this until almost half cooked. Place in the oven for about 2 minutes, until it's almost cooked through. 4. Meanwhile sauté the spinach and garlic in butter. Now place the salmon back over a high flame and add a knob of butter. Allow the butter to brown slightly, add a squeeze of lemon juice and baste. Place the salmon on the spinach, pour the sauce over and enjoy.

Salmon Tartare I haven’t got one single post about fish on this blog yet, which is a shame because I’ve been living in Edinburgh for a while now and, being in Scotland and situated right next to the sea, it’s obviously a great place for eating seafood. I admit that I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to fish as I don’t often cook it, although I do love eating it. I recently invested in a copy of the River Cottage Fish Book which has provided a good bit of inspiration. Flicking through it the other day, a photo of salmon tartare grabbed my attention. Since making steak tartare recently and appreciating it’s beautiful simplicity, salmon tartare obviously appealed to me. Steak tartare is a celebration of well-aged, tender beef that is full of flavour. Salmon tartare is much the same: the piece of fish used must be top quality and as fresh as possible. Finding such a piece of fish was not going to be a problem in Edinburgh, and was particularly easy for me asArmstrong’s fishmongers, recognized by many as the best in the city, happens to be just down the road from my flat. “All of this was fresh this morning” he assured me when I told him I needed a piece of salmon as fresh as possible. On slicing it was clearly very fresh, the orange-pink flesh glossy and firm. Tasting it as it was, pure and unadorned, it already had excellent flavour. Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall uses Tabasco and Worcester sauce in his recipe which I chose to omit here as I think the amazing flavour of the fish shouldn’t be masked too much by additives. My version of the dish, I believe, includes enough extra ingredients to compliment and enhance the natural flavour of the fish without overpowering it. One of my favourite things about this dish is the magic worked by the lemon juice. As well as imparting sharp fresh flavour, the acid in the lemon juice affects the protein in the fish, causing a “cooked” texture on the surface of the meat. The acid denatures the protein molecules just as heat does when cooking, and as the brine did in my pig’s cheeks recipe. Pickling things in vinegar, again, has the same denaturing effect. All of these in a sense are just different ways of cooking meat. The advantage of using a method like this is that the fresh flavour of the raw meat does not change nearly as much as if you cooked it. The salmon will continue to “cook” for as long as it is left to marinate in the lemon juice. I would recommend no more than 5 minutes; this will result in a fairly thin layer of cooked-texture meat surrounding a lovely soft rare centre. --- * 1 teaspoon of shallots, finely chopped * 1 teaspoon of parsley, finely chopped * 1 teaspoon of chives, finely chopped * 1 teaspoon of gherkins, finely chopped * 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, freshly squeezed * sea salt * freshly cracked black pepper 1. Remove the skin from the salmon and cut out the grey coloured blood line so you have only the shiny pink flesh. Cut into approximate 1cm dice and place in a bowl. Add shallots, parsley, chives, gherkins and lemon juice, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Mix well, taste and adjust the quantities and seasoning if need be. There are no exact quantities for this, just experiment and find out what works best for you. Leave to