Aphro Cuisine Recipe: A Psalm for Salmon
APHRO CUISINE – AUGUST ’14 FEATURE
Oh delicate, fatty Salmon
How thy pink flashing flesh marks my cheek
Let my tongue be wrapped in thy silken sheets
Let your omega three fatty acid reduce the inflammation in my veins, make my eyes shine like thy sparkling river, and set my cognitive function alight
May the searing kiss of my thick-bottomed cast-iron pan crisp your skin to perfection
Okay, that’s enough, but if any fish deserves an infatuation-fuelled poem, it’s salmon. This simple recipe focuses on how to perfectly sear a fillet of this superb fish to give you that snap-crisp skin. Soft flavors of sweet peppers, fennel and dill make the perfect bed for such a worthy suitor.
You will need (for two)
2 fillets of skin-on salmon—not too thick or it will be difficult to cook through
high-smoke-point oil or preferably ghee
good thick-bottomed pan—cast iron or stainless steel
For the salad
some finely shaved fennel bulb
a handful of arugula/rocket
1 cup of cooked, salted quinoa (not overcooked—you want crunch in the salad)
handful of fresh dill sprigs
For the capsicum coulis
1 large red capsicum (bell pepper)
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
First, get your capsicum roasting on an open flame—just place that baby right over your stovetop and turn the flame up high. Turn the capsicum every few minutes until all the skin is blackened. Place in a pot with the lid on and let is steam itself to softness—about 5 minutes. Then remove all the skin and seeds, roughly chop and place the flesh in a saucepan on a low heat with the garlic and a good guzzle of olive oil. Fry for a couple minutes until garlic is soft. Remove from heat and blend with a hand blender until extremely smooth—season with salt and pepper.
For the salad
Toss everything together.
For the salmon
Prepare your fish 5 minutes before you are ready to fry. Salt the skin very liberally – this is just to draw any excess moisture from your fish before frying and will ensure the crispiest end result. Let sit for 5 minutes, and then wipe off excess salt and moisture with a paper towel. Meanwhile, heat your pan on a 6 to10 flame for about 4 minutes. Add your oil and let heat for another half a minute. Place your fillet skin-down on the pan and restrain your fish with a spatula, gently pressing down with a spatula to stop it shrinking in. Hold it just for 10 seconds or so. Cook for about 5-8 minutes skin-down—you want almost all the cooking to happen skin-down. Depending on how thick your fillet is, determine how long to cook for—I cooked the fillet shown in the pictures for about 7. Then, flip your salmon over and just ‘kiss’ the other side for half a minute, if that. Get that salmon atop your salad while it’s hot, and enjoy the crunch!
Recipe & photography by Megan McCulloch
APHRO CUISINE - Eating is a ritual. It enriches our daily lives, enlivens our body and mind, and when we savour and indulge, evokes our sensuality. Aphro Cuisine is not only a seductive culinary and sensory project, but a way of life. A way to benefit and enjoy more deeply the vital potent energy that food brings us every day, and I’m here to share this food philosophy with you!