I eat salmon about once a week; I love its flavour but also know it’s good for me, being rich in Omega-3s. Sadly a lot of farmed salmon lacks the health benefits and is pretty tasteless. So I always buy organic (which of course must be farmed but I’m counting on it being healthier) or, when in season (roughly April-Sept/Oct), I like to treat myself occasionally to some wild salmon from my local fishmonger. Wild salmon is expensive but if you’re a salmon fan, then it really is superb and very special.
I took a fillet of organic salmon from my freezer for supper today. Usually, to be honest, I don’t do anything very imaginative with it midweek but after the success of the gorgeous bulgur wheat recipe from Ottolenghi’s Simple book a few days ago, I thought it worth taking a look to see if there were any salmon recipes. And in the index I found just one recipe – and it did sound very good. Apparently it featured in one of the Bridget Jones films, but I wasn’t really interested in its glamorous film outing, only that it did indeed sound pretty simple and not too much of a challenge at the end of a busy day.
It’s simple in the sense that there’s nothing difficult about it, but there’s quite a bit of chopping to do and I think it’s essential to do that and have everything ready before you start the actual cooking. It can all be done pretty quickly though. I didn’t actually time myself but it couldn’t have taken more than half an hour from start to eating.
Ottolenghi’s recipe is for 4; he talks of halving it for 2; I roughly quartered it for just me! He also names it after Bridget … but I gave that a miss.
Salmon with Celery, Pine Nuts & Green Olive Salsa – Serves One
- 25g currants, soaked for 20 minutes in hot water
- 1 salmon fillet
- extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 celery stick, cut into small dices
- 10g pine nuts, roughly chopped
- 10g capers, plus 1 teaspoon of their brine
- 10g large green olives, cut into small dices
- 1 pinch saffron mixed with a little hot water
- 5g parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 lemon
Soak the currants in the hot water. Drizzle a little olive oil over the salmon fillet and rub gently with your fingers to cover. Sprinkle over a pinch of salt and grind over some pepper. Set aside while you make the salsa.
Add the celery and pine nuts to a frying pan with about 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Cook over a high heat for about 5 minutes, watching and turning constantly so it doesn’t burn, until the nuts are turning a nice golden brown. Remove from the heat to a bowl.
Stir in the capers and their brine, olives, saffron and its water, the drained currants and parsley.
Finely grate in some lemon zest and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Mix all together. Taste. Ottolenghi adds some salt but if your capers and olives are quite salty, I don’t think you’ll need it; I didn’t. But check.
Set the salsa aside and cook the salmon. Heat about ½ tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-hot heat. Lay the salmon skin-side down in the hot oil and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the skin is brown and crisp. Turn over and cook for about 2-4 minutes or until the salmon is cooked as you prefer it – I like mine still slightly pink-rare in the middle. Timing will also depend on your salmon cut. Mine was a thick slice but a fillet from the tail end would be quite thin and need less cooking time.
When the salmon is ready, lay on a serving plate. Spoon the salsa over the top. (Despite making a quarter of the given ingredients there was still quite a lot; enough really for two and I have some left over despite a generous serving.)
I served the salmon with some lovely little new potatoes tossed in butter and a green salad. Oh … and a glass of chilled white wine! Well, it may be midweek but it did seem quite a special meal.
It was really gorgeous. I loved the salsa. It was quite a crunchy salsa but fabulous, fresh flavours that went perfectly with the fish. It was definitely worth just a little more effort than my usual midweek salmon supper and I’m sure I’ll be doing it again.