24 February, 2013

Irish Recipes for Salmon

Salmon is a versatile fish: you may serve it raw, poached, pan-grilled, fried,  roasted, smoked, or baked on its own or en croute. When wild salmon is not in season, Cooking Light suggests looking for fresh-frozen (labeled "fish frozen at sea" or FAS) fish in stores, or ordering online from SeaBear Wild Salmon (www.seabear.com).

Here are some simple Irish recipes for preparing salmon:
  • Poached Salmon with Irish Butter Sauce (or Hollandaise Sauce)
  • Roasted Wild Salmon and Dill
  • Salmon Steak

Gentle poaching in well-salted boiling water is the the time-honored way to cook salmon for maximum flavor. Darina says, 'Better still, use sea water if you are close to the coast.' To poach a whole salmon with head and tail on, you'll need a fish poacher (sometimes called a "fish kettle" and shown below).


The proportion of salt to water is very important. We use one rounded Tablespoon salt to every 5 cups (40-oz / 1.2 liters) water. Although the fish or piece of fish should be just covered with water, the aim is to use the minimum amount of water to preserve the maximum flavor, so therefore one should use a saucepan that will fit the fish exactly. An oval cast-iron saucepan is usually perfect. ~Darina Allen


Poached Salmon with Irish Butter Sauce
Darina Allen, Proprietor, Ballymaloe Cookery School
Makes 8 servings
Poached Salmon
1 (2.5-lbs / 1.1kg) center cut of fresh salmon
Water
Salt

Irish Butter Sauce
2 egg yolks
2 tsp cold water
1/2 cup (4-oz / 110g) butter, diced
About 1 tsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice to taste

Garnish
Sprigs of watercress or flat parsley

Notes:  You might choose to serve this salmon with Hollandaise Sauce made with Irish butter (Costco sells Kerrygold Butter).

Directions
Pour measured salted water to half-way fill selected saucepan; bring to a boil. Put in the piece of fish, just covering with water; bring back to a boil. Simmer gently for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat; then, allow the fish to sit in the water for 4 to 5 minutes and serve within 15–20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the Irish Butter Sauce: Put the egg yolks into a heavy-bottomed stainless-steel saucepan on very Low heat. Add the cold water and whisk thoroughly. Add the butter bit by bit, whisking all the time. As soon as one piece melts, add the next. The mixture will gradually thicken; however, if it shows signs of becoming too thick or 'scrambling' slightly, remove from the heat immediately and add a little cold water if necessary. Do not leave the pan or stop whisking until the sauce is made. Finally, add the lemon juice to taste. Pour into a bowl and keep warm over hot, but not boiling, water.

To serve: Carefully lift the cooked salmon from the poaching liquid. Gently peel off the skin. Plate and garnish with sprigs of parsley or watercress. Serve immediately with the Irish Butter Sauce.

The Poached Salmon recipe above is from Darina Allen, Irish Traditional Cooking: Over 300 Recipes from Ireland's Heritage (London: Kyle Books, 2012) 52.




Roasted Wild Salmon & Dill
Darina Allen, Proprietor, Ballymaloe Cookery School
Makes 6 (4.5-oz) servings
1 (2.25-lbs) wild salmon fillet
Cooking spray
2 tsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 Tbsp grated lemon rind
8 (1/8-inch-thick) lemon slices

Notes: View Menu.

Directions
Preheat oven to 450°F.

Place fish, skin side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Brush fish with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle dill and rind over fish; arrange lemon slices over fish.

Bake at 450°F until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, about 10 minutes, or until desired degree of doneness is reached.

This Roasted Wild Salmon and Dill recipe is from Darina Allen, via Cooking Light (March 2007).




Salmon Steak
Makes 4 servings
4 salmon steaks
Black pepper
4 Tbsp finely-chopped shallots
Rind and juice of half lemon
10-oz white wine
1 cup seeded green grapes (4-oz)
1 rounded tsp cornflour blended in 1 Tbsp milk

Garnish
4 lemon wedges

Notes: "To economize and vary," use a good stock instead of the wine.

Directions
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Arrange salmon in a buttered casserole; season with black pepper.  Add the shallots, lemon rind and juice, and wine. Cover with a buttered sheet of greaseproof or brown paper; bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Put the grapes in the casserole and bake for 5 minutes more; remove from oven. Place salmon a serving platter and keep warm.

Pour blended cornflour into the casserole dish and bring to a boil over a fast heat, stirring constantly; cook for 1 minute.

Spoon a little sauce over the salmon and garnish with the lemon wedges. Serve remaining sauce in a gravy boat.

This recipe is from Mary Kinsella, The Irish Country Kitchen (Belfast: The Appletree Press, Ltd, 1999 as revamped in 2001), 79.


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