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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What To Do With... Salmon

Note: I just wanted to say "welcome" to Noble Pig readers - I received an honourable mention in the Superbowl recipe contest (over 1,000 submissions for the contest, so I am grateful for the mention. The recipe for the chili can be found here.)

I like fish a lot, I especially like it raw. In fact, sushi is one easily one of my favourite things. It’s the epitome of natural food: fresh, clean-tasting, and simple.

In this fine city, we have had an unfortunate proliferation of sushi restaurants which has lowered the quality of what passes for sushi around here. You can get sushi anywhere: at the grocery store and everyone and their brother has a sushi restaurant. But prepared in the traditional way,

sushi should be perfectly carved fish, delicately placed upon a petite mound of fresh moist sushi rice. By contrast, a fast food sushi restaurant or a sushi buffet seems like a contradiction. In Masaharu Morimoto's coffee table cookbook, The Art of Japanese Cooking, he discusses the long road to becoming a true sushi chef. Years of perfecting the art of making rice and honing knife skills before a sushi apprentice is allowed to even touch fish. This kind of patience and search for utter perfection is admirable, and is far from the fast food sushi that has become so prevasive. (I also wonder in this day of immediate gratification, how many people really embark on this long journey to sushi master.) This is one meal I never make at home because I really enjoy the pleasure of eating sushi prepared in a traditional way.

Since I don't make my own sushi I haven't presented sushi recipes for you, but here are three ways I like to eat salmon (both raw and cooked.) Enjoy!


1 side of salmon (the freshest possible) about 3 lbs, 1 bunch of dill, approximately 1/4c white sugar, 1/2c salt, 3 tbsp black pepper

1. Wash fish well. Pat dry
2. Mix sugar, salt, black pepper
3. Liberally apply to flesh of fish
4. Wash and chop dill. Spread on top of fish (again flesh side)
5. Wrap fish well (that means tightly) with Glad Wrap
6. Place in a shallow glass/ceramic baking dish. Place a plate and a weight (a brick, large can, etc.) on top
7. Refrigerate. Every 12 hours or so, flip the fish over and continue to weight it down. You’ll notice the fish exudes liquid. This is a good sign. This process should take about 3 days or so
8. Remove fish from fridge, gently scrap off dill and salt/sugar mixture. Do not rinse.
9. Thinly slice fish and serve
10. Keep wrapped in fresh Glad wrap if you’re not using it all at once. It should keep for another 3 days or so

I usually serve this with poached eggs and hollandaise or in a bagel with cream cheese. Or you anyway you would eat smoked salmon (tossed in pasta, canapes, etc.)

Salmon Tartare:

Serves 4 as appetizers

Finely dice 2 fillets of fresh salmon. Snip about 4 tiny stalks of chive (do not substitute green onion)over top and toss gently with a small amount of sea salt and black pepper. Finely dice 1 avocado, squeeze half a lemon over the avocado. Plate tartare starting with the salmon using a ring mold, followed by the avocado. Carefully remove the ring and serve immediately.

But salmon is something I also enjoy cooked. Salmon is a fish that is moist and tender and best served slightly under done. Trust me. I love the contrast in texture and flavour: crusty and golden on the outside with a moist coral-coloured interior.

One of the best ways to cook a fillet of salmon is to crust it with sesame seeds. But be warned, if you want salmon perfection, this does require your full attention. I am normally all for multi-tasking, but please don’t read your mail, answer the phone, or anything else you might do when you’re making dinner. A focused ten minutes on this. That’s all I ask. Bon Appetit!

Sesame Encrusted Salmon:

Serves 2

4-5 tbsp white sesame seeds
1 tbsp black sesame seeds (if you don’t have it, just add more white sesame seeds)
2 fillets of salmon – washed, and patted dry
2 tbsp vegetable oil/ light olive oil

1. Heat a large pan on medium heat. Add vegetable oil
2. Ensure the salmon is patted dry. Press the fish flesh-side down onto a plate of sesame seeds. Press firmly to ensure that the flesh is well covered
3. Drop 1 sesame seed into the heated pan. If it sizzles, place fillets sesame seed side down onto the pan.

Your fish should look like the picture above... Mostly cooked but with a cool center. In the photo above, I have served the salmon with a simple miso-umeboshi plum sauce.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great blog and recipes! Although I especially like grilled salmon, but your sesame salmon sure makes my mouth water :) Thanks for posting this recipe! I would also like to invite you to visit Foodista.com - the cooking encyclopedia everyone can edit - and share this recipe and/or link your blog to foodista-related pages using our small embeddable widgets. Check it out here.. This is a great way for you to build blog traffic and connect with other food lovers! Also feel free to share your recipes and tips with us!Thanks!

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