Devon 20 November 1997
Salmon, it seems, once an occasional luxury, is now so prevalent due
to farming methods that it has become almost an everyday staple. In
the summer, admittedly, there is nothing that can beat our own Exe
salmon, netted by a handful of intrepid fishermen who still go out
in row boats to fish the estuary with seine nets, shooting them across
the narrow channel as the tide ebbs then standing thigh deep in the
mud to gather the nets in. Such wild Exe salmon, its flesh pale in
colour, lean in texture and with an intriguing and distinctive flavour
that is almost earthy, is certainly one of the finest foods on earth.
There is nothing that can beat a whole fish, freshly caught and delivered
to the door by the fishermen, simply poached and served cold with
Scotch salmon, admittedly, is another kettle of fish altogether and
clearly not in the same league. Yet it can be very good nonetheless,
always fattier than Exe, the flesh a more lurid shade of pinky-red.
We regularly purchase and enjoy either steaks or fillets from Derek,
our mobile fishmonger or from Richard, who sells good fish alongside
fruit and vegetables. Quickly seared and cooked over our char-grill,
the bars making an attractive black criss-cross pattern on the red
flesh, the fish is delicious served with a simple and fresh salsa
such as this one made from prawn, avocado and cilantro.
Salmon with Prawn, Avocado and Cilantro Salsa
Scotch salmon steaks
tbsp virgin olive oil
of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 oz cooked and peeled prawns, roughly chopped
ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
grated rind and juice of 1 lime
tbsp pickled jalapeño chilies, chopped
shallot, finely chopped
tbsp sundried tomato paste
tbsp sherry vinegar
of fresh cilantro (coriander), finely chopped
and freshly ground black pepper
the salmon steaks in a flat dish, baste with the olive oil, and sprinkle
over the chopped rosemary. To make the salsa, combine all the
ingredients and allow the flavours to infuse for at least a couple
a char-grill (or use a ribbed cast iron pan). Cook the salmon steaks
for about 3-4 minutes a side (depending on thickness -- they should
still be a little underdone inside, to our taste), turning once to
create the criss-cross patterns.
the cooked salmon steaks on warmed plates and serve with the salsa
half over and beside the fish. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro.
Suggestion: A soft, juicy red wine goes well with this dish so
what better way to celebrate the release, yes just today, of the new
year's wine than with a good bottle of grapy Beaujolais Nouveau 1997!