The fish counter at the local market to us in Providence is incredible, the variety, quality and size (as with most things in America!) is outstanding.
I’m desperate to start experimenting with cooking live lobster and sampling some of the local clams and seafood but the plump, pink salmon caught my eye on this trip and I just couldn’t resist.
Ingredients: To serve two people
For the salmon-
1 portion of salmon fillet per person- the size of which depends on personal preference, the ones I was presented with when asking the fishmonger for an individual portion we’re huge as you can see! Also ask the fishmonger to skin the fish unless you’re happy to do it yourself.
2 teaspoons of creamed horseradish
3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Spray olive oil
For the herby potato salad-
10 new potatoes
1 tablespoon of butter
4 heaped tablespoons of sour cream
1 handful sized bunch of fresh dill
½ handful sized bunch fresh parsley
10 spring onions/scallions
Salt and pepper
Start by getting the new potatoes on to boil, chop each potato in half and tumble into salted water. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down to simmer- leave them to cook whilst you prepare the salmon.
If your fishmonger has not skinned your fish or you’ve bought pre-packed skin on fillets you need to take this off. Place the fish on a steady board skin side down, using a very sharp (non-serrated) knife stroke the fillet very gentle with the blade where the flesh meets the skin on one side. When there is enough skin separated from the fillet for you to grasp a good hold of it (about half an inch) hold the skin very firmly and continue to stroke the knife between the flesh and skin using the skin to guide your knife. As long as you hold the knife blade flat against the skin you will not lose any flesh of the fillet- the skin is quite tough so use it as a guide for the knife until you reach the end.
When you have your skinless fillets, cover the skinned side with a teaspoon of horseradish, but just on this skinned top side. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs onto a plate and season them well, then lay the fillets of salmon, horseradish side down, into the breadcrumbs and gentle pat them into the crumbs to ensure they stick. Lift and replace the fillet a few times to ensure it’s well covered with the breadcrumbs. Spray a little oil over the breadcrumbs (it’s easier to use a spray than a drizzle of a bottle as it gives a very light coating) this will ensure the fillets have a lovely golden crumb when baked. Place the fillets onto a non-stick baking tray or one lined with baking paper pop into a preheated oven at 180c for about 15 minutes for a regular sized portion of salmon- less for a smaller size or a little longer for the mammoth American sized fillets I used.
Check the potatoes by skewering them with a fork, they need to be yielding but not completely soft as you would cook them for mashed potato. When they are soft enough for a fork to stab them but still firm, remove them from the heat and drain. Let them steam in the colander whilst you chop the herbs.
Finley chop the dill and parley and finely slice the spring onions up to where the leaves turn dark green and dry- discard these top parts. Tumble the cooked potatoes into a large mixing bowl with the butter, use a fork to crush but not mash the potatoes, you want a consistency that is lumpy and uneven with some whole chunks of potato and some smooth mash. Dollop in the sour cream and sprinkle over the herbs then mix well, taste and season.
You can check the fish is cooked by using a dinner knife to cut into the thickest part of the fillet, if the flesh flakes and is a light opaque pink then it is done. Be careful not to overcook the fish though, as soon as it is pale pink and not translucent it is ready.
To serve, pile a portion of the potato salad onto a plate then place the salmon on top, aside from looking nice this means the juice form the salmon runs into the salad and warms it with its heat making the flavours of the herbs really come alive.
This goes down particularly well with a really crisp white wine on a sunny summer’s evening!