Saturday, 18 July 2009

Fishy wisdom

We Irish have a special relationship with salmon; it is probably the only fish that is full accepted in the Irish diet (despite being an island). There isn't a house in Ireland that doesn't whip out the smoked salmon and brown bread at Christmas, weddings, funerals and christenings! Maybe it's Fionn's blood in us all.

Here in Spain, there isn't as much furor for salmon, sadly being over looked for other more meaty fish like monkfish and cod. Having been here 6 years now, I'm beginning to understand their liking for cod. In Ireland, I tended to avoid it like the plague, as it was insipid and bland. The cod here is different, probably because it's
salted, which is good in some ways as it gives more flavour to an otherwise unappetising fish. The downside is if you don't soak it enough, you'll end up drinking water for the rest of the afternoon, so we've discovered on numerous occasions.. 48h hours is just not enough!

Shopping today I came across some lovely looking whole salmon, at only 5.95€ a kg - not bad. Despite being farmed, which usually means that it's rather fatty, it wasn't the case this time; it turned out a lovely fish. Rather than having the supermarket butcher it (and I mean mutilate it with a knife), I decided to take it home whole and wrestle with ourselves. E wasn't too enamored with the idea, as he says it's a great way of blunting knives, but then again, isn't that what they're for? Personally I always prefer to buy a full fish, having always seen mum and dad filleting fish at the kitchen sink, rather just asking for cuts to be cooked the same day - it's a fish that freezes well and is rather versatile.

The fish came in under 3 Kg, so there was plenty of fish to work with. In the end we took one full side and pan-fried it whole for a recipe I found in Arabesque (Barbecued Salmon and Aubergine Terrine). It starts off by lining a terrine with oven-roasted, ruby-red peppers, then sprinkling some crumbled, salty feta. On top of that, along one side, it layers poached leeks and on the other, some peeled, roasted aubergine. We placed half of the fillet (which had been panfried with a little garlic) in the centre and sprinkled it with some crushed coriander seeds. Then another layer of feta, more aubergine and leeks and the remaining salmon. Finally we topped it off with the rest of the peppers, and a layer of clingfilm. We've put some TetraBrics of stock on top to weight it. E was a bit skeptical about whether it would compact, but so far, the liquid seems to be dripping out. We'll have to wait until tomorrow to see the result.

The trimings along the backbone are going to be used for E's salmon tartare, a real treat where he mixes roughly diced fresh and smoked salmon with minced onion, gherkins, capers, hard-boiled egg and a dash of mustard and oil. A great temptié or a meal in itself (it's rather rich, so best to share - no worries here!).

I cut the other side into smallish darns and popped them in the freezer, to be salvaged another day when I'm homesick. Nothing like some panfried salmon and spuds to reminisce about moist lush Ireland!

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails