I said I like the taste of halloumi, but the squeak on my teeth meant I didn’t eat much of it.
Sugar snap peas
Heat the oven to about 200 °C.
Pat the surfaces of the salmon dry with absorbent kitchen paper.
Season the salmon with salt.
Cook the salmon in the oven for 15 minutes.
Allow the salmon to rest for a few minutes and then flake the salmon into pieces.
Boil some salted water in a saucepan.
Cook the green beans in the water for about four minutes and then plunge them into iced water (Note, I haven’t removed the ends of the beans. I know it’s traditional to do this and I remember it was a job Mum would give me as a kid when I’d help her cook dinner. The reason why I don’t do it is pure laziness.).
Cook the sugar snap peas in the boiling water for a few minutes and then plunge them into iced water.
Cook the mini asparagus in the boiling water for a few minutes and then drop them into iced water.
When the beans, peas, and asparagus are cool, remove them from the iced water and place them in a bowl lined with some absorbent kitchen paper to remove the excess water. Then season with salt and splash on some olive oil and lime juice.
Slice the avocado and put it into the bowl with the beans, peas, and asparagus, and gently mix it through to exploit the antioxidation effects of the lime juice.
Heat a skillet and add a little neutral oil (I use Queensland nut oil because it has a high vapour point and because it’s Queensland!).
Wash the halloumi with tap water to remove the brine. Dry the halloumi with absorbent paper.
Fry the halloumi until it forms a caramelised crust on both sides (GC mentioned the frying time might influence the amount of squeakiness on my teeth. I had planned on running an experiment with varying cooking times, but I may leave that for another day.)
Crumble some goat cheese and add that to the salad bowl.
Toast some pecan nuts in the oven for about 5 minutes at 200 °C. Once toasted, crack the nuts in half length-ways and then add the nuts to the salad.
Cut the cooked halloumi into bite-sized pieces and add it along with the salmon to the salad bowl.
Season the salad to taste and serve everything together in a bowl.
How did the salad taste?
This summer salad tasted great. It had crunch and creaminess as well as the deliciousness of the baked salmon.
I’m guessing you’re wondering what am I doing combining salmon with sauerkraut and apple sauce.
On the weekend I bought a jar of sauerkraut and a bottle of apple sauce for a pork knuckle meal. The instructions on the sauerkraut jar read, “eat within a week of opening” so here I am eating salmon and sauerkraut.
Sweet potato chips
Cook the sweet potato chips at 200 °C for 30 minutes.
Cook the salmon in an oven at 200 °C for 15 minutes.
Add a spoonful of sauerkraut and a spoonful of apple sauce to the dinner plate.
The last couple of weeks I’ve been buying two pieces of salmon with the skin on from Coles. I’ve been eating salmon on Sunday and Monday evenings and I’ve been cooking them under vacuum (sous vide).
As much as I like a quick cook on a cast-iron skillet and getting a really crispy skin, the texture of sous vide salmon is sublime. The flesh just flakes with the slightest pressure. The cooking time is relatively short and the temperature is very gentle. I usually set my precision cooker for 50 °C for 40 minutes.
A feature of sous vide salmon is wet brining the salmon. This is an optional step but if you don’t brine, it will mean you will have a film of coagulated albumin over the surface of the salmon when it’s cooked.
Wet brining the salmon is dead easy. A few hours before cooking, put the pieces of salmon into a container. Add a handful of iodised salt and then add the iced water. Put the lid on the container and then refrigerate it for a few hours.
After removing the salmon from the refrigerator and removing the lid you’ll see a wispy slimy film over the salmon. This needs to be washed off using tap water. Once the albumin has been removed, dry the salmon gently with a towel or kitchen paper.
Put the salmon into a vacuum bag or a ziplock bag. If you have a vacuum extractor use the vacuum bag. If you prefer the water displacement method, use the ziplock bag.
Your salmon is now ready for cooking in the water bath. I always set up my water bath fresh for each cook so I fill it with cold tap water and attach the precision cooker. If you don’t know what a precision cooker is, it’s a water heater and circulator. It keeps the water at a set temperature and I know some people who will keep it running for many hours and in some situations, days depending on what they’re trying to cook.
Salmon is delicate, so as I wrote in a preceding paragraph, I set the precision cooker for 50 °C for 40 minutes.
Once the salmon is cooked, I will put one piece in the refrigerator for tomorrow night and I’ll keep the other piece warm sitting on the water bath while I go about finishing off the other elements of the meal.
At this point, I remove the salmon from the vacuum bag and carefully dry the skin. I then peel the skin off and put it on a lined baking tray. I cover the salmon flesh with aluminium foil and put the plate on top of the water bath to keep it warm. The aluminium foil is to keep the flesh moist and preventing it from drying out. No one likes dry fish flesh.
At about this time I toss some kale sprouts into a large mixing bowl and squirt in some Queensland nut oil plus some freshly ground iodised salt and black whole peppercorns (I do this in a mortar with a pestle). With my hands, I toss the kale sprouts in the bowl and try to get good coverage of the leaves with the oil, salt, and pepper.
I then spread the seasoned and oiled kale sprouts onto a lined baking sheet (next to the salmon skin) and put the tray into a hot oven which has been set to about 180 °C for about 15 minutes. The aim is to get the leaves of the kale sprouts crispy like chips without burning.
While the kale sprouts are in the oven I get out of the refrigerator three eggs, some butter, and some dijon mustard and hot sauce. I also get a lime and some hot sauce plus a red onion and a fennel bulb.
With a mandolin, I shred into fine pieces the red onion and fennel. These raw aromatic vegetables will give the hollandaise some added bite and kick.
I melt the butter, about 125 grams will do, using microwave radiation. I then separate the yolks of three eggs and out them into the bottom of a tall plastic cup. After squeezing the juice from the lime I mix it with a teaspoon of the dijon mustard plus a teaspoon of hot sauce.
It’s now a matter of getting everything together because making hollandaise sauce requires some focus and dexterity. I use a stick blender because I have spindly arms and thin wrists with poor muscle power for a whisk. Begin blending the egg yolks and then add the mixture of dijon mustard, lime juice, and hot sauce. While still blending, slowly pour in the melted heavenly goodness which is melted butter. As you pour in the butter which has been enhanced with microwave radiation, marvel at how it forms a thick unctuous sauce.
Once the hollandaise sauce is made, add in the bits of red onion and fennel. At this stage, you could wonder why you didn’t crispy up some streaky bacon bits and add them too. Stir through the red onion and fennel knowing the flavours and mouthfeel will be amazing with the salmon.
By now the kale sprouts and salmon skin should be done and it’s time to make a plate of food.
Uncover the moist and tender salmon flesh and gently transfer it to a dinner plate. You need to be careful because it will easily flake and fall apart. If it does, then one option would be to create rough flakes with a fork and mix the flakes into the hollandaise sauce you’ve made.
If you can keep the salmon altogether, put it on the dinner plate and then spoon over the hollandaise sauce with the bitey red onion and fennel in it.
If the salmon skin hasn’t burnt to a crisp, place it atop the salmon in some artistic fashion.
Place the kale sprouts next to the salmon and then with a teaspoon you might like to dribble a little hollandaise sauce on the kale sprouts.
Alternatively, put the remaining hollandaise sauce in a ramekin and use it as a dipping sauce for the crispy kale sprouts.
This meal is indulgent and decadent. You will have consumed more butter than you should. You’ll be impressed with the texture and mouthfeel of the sous vide salmon. You’ll love the crispy kale sprouts. Most of all, the tangy spicy hollandaise sauce will draw everything together.
I hope you enjoyed this. If you decide to make this for yourself, I’d love to hear from you and hear how it went.
Have a good week and stay safe from COVID-19. If you’re one of those conspiracy people who don’t believe SARS-COV-2 exists, then out of respect for others, please keep your views to yourself and don’t go out in public and please don’t share your nonsense on-line. That’s just as annoying as the way I’ve prattled on about this recipe.
I’m using a tomato sauce recipe I used for steak pizzaiola. This is a fusion meal. The sauce is Italian and the noodles are Japanese. The salmon is cooked sous vide and so it could be regarded as French in the sense that sous vide is a French word.
It was delicious. There was probably enough for two people, but you know me.
Salmon with the skin on
Black whole peppercorns
Brine the salmon with ice-cold water and salt for a few hours.
Dry the salmon and season with salt and pepper.
Vacuum bag the salmon.
Cook in a water bath for 40 minutes at 50 °C.
Remove the salmon from the bag and pat the salmon dry.
Peel the skin off and put it into the oven for 15 minutes at 200 °C.
Flake the salmon.
Heat up a non-stick (PFOA-free) skillet to a low to moderate heat and add in some olive oil.
Sauté some garlic and onion in the oil until the garlic begins to take on some colour.
Add the tin of tomatoes which took me five full minutes to select at the supermarket because I was bewildered by the selection.
Add in the capers, kalamata olives, dried oregano, dried basil leaves, and red chilli flakes.
Season with freshly ground iodised rock salt and black whole peppercorns (ground in a mortar with a pestle).
Allow the sauce to simmer for about 15 minutes so it reduces a little.
Boil some water in a saucepan.
Cook the udon noodles for 10 minutes.
Rinse the noodles in cold water.
Toss the noodles to ensure they are separated.
Heat some oil in a non-stick (PFOA-free) skillet.
Sauté some garlic in the hot oil.
Heat up the noodles in the skillet and some basil, oregano, and hot chilli flakes.
Mix in the pizza sauce.
At the end combine the flaked salmon with the noodles and fold them together.
Transfer the pizza sauce noodles and salmon to a bowl.
Add the salmon skin on top with some fresh basil leaves.