The good-size tranche of salmon required for this recipe is something to splash out on and to savour for a special occasion. Fish bought from a sustainable source is pricey – buy it with due environmental care, especially so given the grave situation of certain fish stocks. Wild salmon can be extremely expensive.
If you would rather use farmed salmon, buy fish that have been organically farmed. Here, the cooked salmon is delicate and very delicious – softly, softly – a tribute to the fish.
- 1 centre-cut (the thickest section) salmon or large trout fillet (about 600g/1lb 5oz)
- good olive oil
- 2 large shallots, finely chopped
- zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
- 1 big bunch of soft herbs (such as tarragon, chervil or flatleaf parsley), leaves and stalks separated and roughly chopped
- 100ml (3½fl oz) white wine
- 200g (7oz) unsalted butter, diced and chilled
- 250g (9oz) green beans
- 100g (3½oz) asparagus tips
- 150g (5½oz) sugar-snap peas, trimmed
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- cooked new potatoes, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 80°C/60°C fan/175°F/Gas Mark ¼ (or as low as your oven will go) and place a baking dish half filled with boiling water in the bottom of the oven.
2. Brush the salmon fillet all over with a little olive oil and lay it on a baking tray. Season generously with salt and pepper, then top with half the shallots, the lemon zest and the roughly chopped herb stalks.
3. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, until the fish feels just firm to the touch and the white juices are just starting to break through the surface. Rest for 10 minutes and serve straight away, or let the salmon rest covered in foil for up to two hours.
4. While the salmon is resting, make a butter sauce. Boil the remaining shallots and white wine together over a moderate–high heat in a small saucepan until there is only about two tablespoons of liquid left.
5. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cold butter, a little at a time, waiting until most of the butter has melted before incorporating any more.
6. When you’re ready to serve, boil the beans in salted water for three minutes, then add the asparagus tips and sugar-snap peas and cook for two minutes more. Drain the vegetables, check the seasoning and keep warm.
7. Gently brush the herbs and shallots off the cooked salmon and sprinkle with a little lemon juice. Tear the fish into big flakes and arrange on a large platter.
8. Spoon over the vegetables, herb leaves and butter sauce. Serve with any extra butter sauce and the potatoes on the side.
Extracted from Home Cookery Year: Four Seasons, Over 200 Recipes by Claire Thomson, published by Quadrille Publishing, priced £30 (hardback)
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