Poached Salmon with Lemongrass and Sauvignon

Given the insipid colour poached food usually turns it had never appealed to me, but I was happy to discover that this dish is most certainly the fastest for fish I have ever used or created, and it is light, healthy and delicious.  A little homage to my homeland is in the Sauvignon, and an homage to my childhood living in Asia in the lemongrass.

What I particularly love about poaching fish (speaking like an old pro now) is that it won’t stink out your house, and when it comes to cooking salmon, that earns huge brownie points in my household.

  •  2 Salmon Fillets
  • 2/3 Cup Sauvignon Blanc (or any white wine)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs chopped lemongrass
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh basil for serving

In a small saucepan heat the wine, garlic, lemongrass, salt and spring onions until just simmering. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and lay the fillets snugly in the pan. Cover with a lid and leave for 5 minutes.

Slide the salmon fillets on to a plate and spoon over with some of the lemongrass and spring onion pieces. Season well with more salt and pepper and sprinkle the fresh basil over the top of the fish.

You can serve this on it’s own and then serve a large salad to follow, or serve with green vegetables, roast vegetables, or on a bed of kale.

 

Stories of Salmon

Last week alone I ate salmon four times. One new recipe for dinner (coming soon), wild tinned red salmon for lunch and plenty of Salmon at Sushi Samba London! It did get me pondering ways to reinvent and re-inspire recipes for this favourite fish.

I have been quite into the Great British Chef’s Website lately. They promote some of the UK’s top culinary talent and their chef’s have parted with some incredible recipes which are listed on the site. They also list recipes by collection, and here I point you to their Collection on Salmon.

It provides a wide range of salmon recipes with everything from utterly gourmet and fine-dining fancy to entirely mid-week manageable. The photography on their site is beautiful in itself, and we all know how much I love a good dose of Food Porn.

From the collection my picks would be the Salmon en Papillote from Josh Eggleton, it looks so quick and light but the flavours would be perfect together. The Boullibasse from Tom Aikens, which would require more attention but particularly in these colder months would make a wonderful weekend meal for entertaining. And for all my readers in warmer climates, the Lemon & Herb Marinated Salmon Skewers from Marcello Tully would be perfect on the BBQ. Oh to be in a BBQ climate!!

While many of the recipes in this collection look michellin-star worthy (and if that is what you are after this is a pretty amazing resource for elegant recipes) but as always for my palate, I prefer the clean and simpler flavours like the recipes mentioned above. The other dish that caught my attention was for poached salmon, because it made me realise I had never poached fish…WOAH! Immediate rectification necessary.

If you haven’t read it previously, you may like to see the article I wrote on Wild versus Farmed salmon. The difference in flavour, texture and nutritional value is enormous…and yes while we are at it, so is the cost. It is better to be armed with the facts so we can make an informed decision though no?

Sesame Crusted Salmon with Red Curry Sauce

I was trying out a new Thai restaurant with husbando recently, and although we ordered enough food to feed a small army, or even a large army for that matter, I suffered a serious case of food envy. A dish was delivered to the next table that looked like sesame crusted salmon of sorts, and it was oozing with red curry sauce. I considered ordering it right then and there but given how full I already was I decided I would simply have to make it for myself at home.

So here it is, my version of ‘food envy’ salmon. Made it last night and it was super tasty. Such a quick and easy dish too, about 15 minutes from start to finish.

Serves 2

  • 1.5 tablespoons black sesame seeds (any asian food store should sell them, Japanese ones defiantly will)
  • 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
  • 2 salmon fillets (wild if possible)
  • 1 teaspoon red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 small can (160ml) coconut cream
  • kaffir lime leaf (if you have it, I didn’t last night but it would have given it a nice edge)
Preheat the grill to 200 degrees celcius. Lightly toast your sesame seeds together in a pan. Heat the coconut oil so it becomes a liquid. Lay the salmon on an oven tray lined with tinfoil. Using the coconut oil lightly baste your salmon. Sprinkle the seeds on top of this to cover it. Salt and pepper. If using salmon pieces/steaks (mine you will see were tail fillets), also coat the sides of the fish with the coconut oil and sesame seeds.
Put in the oven under the grill for 12 minutes. This gives you salmon cooked through, if you like it a little rarer, take it out sooner.
In the meantime, heat the red curry paste in a pan with the coconut cream until well combined and heated through. If you have a kaffir lime leaf throw it in while you are heating the sauce.
Remove the salmon from the foil (this usually leaves the skin behind, so grease the foil with coconut oil if you want to keep it) and pour over the curry sauce. I served this on a bed of sauteed green beans, but it would go nicely on asparagus, kale or other green vegetables too. I lightly salted the fish once on the plate which really brought out its flavor.

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Go Wild!

You are not what you eat, you are what your food eats.

I love salmon and eat it often…for lunch, for dinner and yes folks, for breakfast. Why? Because salmon not only tastes good, but is also an amazing source of protein and clean, healthy fat. Basically this fish is a superfood.  It has an outstanding natural ratio of quality omega 3s (good fats!), each bite is packed full of highly absorbable fatty acids (DHA and EPA) and there is really nothing bad for you about it, so eat away with impunity….unless of course, it is farm produced and fed (drum-roll please) corn.

CORN? Yes really…corn!

You may be thinking, ‘but I don’t mind corn myself’…fair call…but salmon (much like cows) don’t eat corn naturally. They never eat corn in nature, and the result when they are force-fed an unnatural food is that instead of nature’s “super-fish” you get a very unhealthy animal with a totally different nutritional profile.

That ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 gets reversed from wonderful to not wonderful (you want a higher ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6), and you get the side effects of eating an unhappy and unhealthy animal…poorer nutrition.

So what is a good ratio of ‘good fat’ (Omega 3 vs Omega 6) or ‘essential fatty acids’ and why are they so important anyway?  Well, they control a myriad of things not least of which are aspects of cancer, fertility, hormonal balance, and anything where inflammation might play a role.

To generalize, Omega 3 are considered ‘anti-inflammatory’ and omega 6 are considered ‘inflammatory’. These essential fats need to be in the right balance (because yes you also need Omega 6). Way back, our ancestral diets had a ratio of about 1:1 or 1:2 Omega3:Omega6. But given modern practice of farming fish and livestock and feeding them things they aren’t designed to eat, most modern diets have a ratio of about 1:10-20!! This causes some problems.

So without getting in to TOO much detail (there is SO much writing about this available online, google it if you want geek-speak) what you want is to try and get your Omega balance a bit healthier. Eating grass-fed beef, wild salmon, sardines, herring, trout, anchovies, pasture raised meats and free-range organic Omega 3 enriched eggs will all help you out here a lot!

Back to salmon…when the poor things get fed pellets containing soy and corn and all types of fish mushed in together, instead of being an amazing source of fat and protein, they become unhealthy, inflamed, and have a much higher ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 than is natural. Much like what will happen to you if you eat a diet that has the wrong balance of Omega 3’s to 6’s.

Ever wondered why wild salmon is a much deeper red and leaner than the softer pink and fattier looking farmed salmon? It is a result of their wonderful natural diet and because they get a lot of exercise swimming around in the wild looking for their dinner. Industrial farmed salmon are force-fed dye so that they still look pink because given their dreadful diet they would actually be a greyish colour without it!

So if you want a diet with a great balance of Omega 3’s, feel free to eat Salmon as often as you like, however, go for wild salmon wherever possible. Yes it is more expensive, and if this is not an option, you are still much better to eat salmon than to not. If you are going for tinned salmon (I get through a lot of it) choose Wild Red Salmon instead of pink as the price difference in tins is marginal, and in my humble opinion, I think that pink tinned salmon tastes like catfood anyway. Meow!

Go Wild! In life, not just in food…I mean have you seen my hair!?


Grilled Salmon with Fresh Pesto

I had never made pesto before, but this recipe had been buzzing around in my head for a while. So, on a sunny Saturday in London just gone, this is what I had for lunch sitting in my little garden with my husband and catching up over a glass of chilled New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. This dish is great for lunch, dinner, and for anyone following a paleo diet (more on this later), perfect for breakfast. The pesto stores well if kept in a small airtight container, so you can use it on tinned salmon in salads or for other meats throughout the week. I have said 4 pieces of salmon, but the pesto makes enough for about 10-12 servings, so just cook as many pieces of salmon as you have people dining.

  • 4 Fillets of Wild Salmon*
  • 6Tbs Olive Oil
  • Bunch Basil
  • Bunch Flat Leaf Parsley
  • 2 tablespoons pinenuts
  • 4 Tablespoons pistachios(shelled)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, grushed
  • Salt to taste
In a small frying pan lightly toast your pinenuts and pistachios. Shake the pan often to turn them over. They should be lightly coloured. Set aside to cool. Trim the stalks from the ends of the bunches of basil and parsley and stuff it all into a little food processor (if you don’t have one a hand held blender stick should work fine too). Add the olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice and cooled nuts and blend. Taste and add salt as desired. Add more olive oil if the consistency is still too thick (although it should be like a paste).

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Preheat the grill to 220 degrees celcius. Lay your salmon skin down on some tinfoil(aluminum foil), season with cracked pepper and grill for 12 minutes. (I don’t like salmon to be in pink in the middle, it is one fish/meat I like cooked through, but if you want it slightly undercooked in the middle, take it out after 8-10 minutes instead).
Slide the salmon off the oven tray and plate it, adding a dollop of the fresh pesto to the top of each piece. Serve with a fresh green salad (and wash down with a great wine!). Bon Appetite!
*Wild salmon is so much better for you than farmed, the nutritional profile changes with farmed fish due to their enforced diet. More on this soon!