Sunday, 14 August 2011

Poached salmon with horseradish aioli and broad bean salad

It has really not been a great summer in the UK this year. As a result I've been mostly cooking quite heavy comfort food in the last couple of weeks, food I would normally cook during the autumn or winter, like lasagna. Well, not sure actually that you can say that what I cooked was a lasagna as I forgot to buy lasagna pasta sheets and therefore made it with layered zucchini instead. Still nice, but not exactly a lasagna...

This Sunday has been quite warm and sunny, so I decided to make something light and with a summer feeling. I don't often poach salmon, and every time I do I wonder why I don't do it more often. It is so easy! Talk about no effort cooking, and still resulting in delicious food. I poached it using rose pepper and lemon, for a light and fresh taste. Fennel seeds instead of rose pepper is also great for poaching salmon, or chili, lime, and lemongrass for a more Asian flavour.

Another thing I almost never do is aioli or mayonnaise. Everyone who knows me know that I hate mayonnaise. This is a real problem living in a country where it's almost impossible to buy a ready-made sandwich without mayo... However, I do love homemade aioli, especially with some crispy bread to mop it up from the plate. Aioli can be flavoured in so many ways, just with garlic and a bit of mustard, or with chili and lime, or smoked paprika and tomato for example. Here I used fresh grated horseradish, a classic combination with salmon. I bought the horseradish on Borough market, as I have so far never seen it fresh at any of the grocery stores.

Poached salmon with horseradish aioli and broad bean salad (4 portions)
4 salmon fillets a'150 g each, skin and bone free (or leave the skin, without scales, on, it's much easier to remove once the salmon is cooked)
Poaching liquid:
2 dl water
1 lemon, juice and zest
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp pink peppercorns, lightly broken using a pestle and mortar
1 pinch chili flakes

Horseradish aioli:
2 egg yolks
2 dl neutral oil, like sunflower oil, or mild olive oil
0.5 tbsp lemon juice or white wine vinegaer
1 garlic clove, pressed
1-2 tbsp grated fresh horse radish
0.5 tsp Dijon or hot English mustard
1 pinch salt
1 pinch black pepper

300 g broad beans, fresh or frozen (I usually use frozen as I think it's difficult to find nice fresh ones)
300 g haricot vertes
1 bag of pea shoots (50 g)
olive oil
1/2 lemon, juice and zest
salt and black pepper

Heat the oven to 100C.

Add the ingredients of the poaching liquid to a pot and bring to the boil.

Place the salmon fillets in a small oven tray, pour over the poaching liquid and place in the oven. Cook for 20-25 min, until the inner temperature is 50C. Leave to cool in the poaching liquid. This can be done the night before serving.

For the aioli, use all ingredients at room temperature to decrease the chance of the aioli splitting.

Add the egg yolks and the lemon juice/vinegaer to a tall narrow beaker.

Using a stick mixer (or whip by hand in a bowl, but it's so much quicker using a stick mixer or blender), start by mixing the egg yolks and then slowly add the oil while running the mixer. When all the oil has been added and the mayonnaise is light and creamy (add a 1 tbsp water if it is very thick), add the garlic, mustard and horseradish. Add salt and pepper to taste. The aioli will last in a clean jar in the fridge for up to a week.

Lightly boil the broad beans for 1-2 min, then rinse with plenty of cold water and remove the pods.

Also lightly boil the haricot vertes for a couple of minutes and then rinse with cold water to keep the crunchy texture.

Drain of the water from the broad beans and haricot vertes, and transfer the vegetables to a bowl.

Add the pea shoots, juice and zest from the lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the poached salmon with the salad, aioli and crusty bread.

I'm eagerly waiting for the new album by Norwegian singer Ane Brun (and seeing her play at Scala in November!). This is the first single.

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