Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Salmon Duo - Salmon Tartare and Pan Fried Salmon with Wine Apples, A Special Lunar New Year Dish

A very happy Lunar New Year to everyone! Wow, 2011 has certainly passed by very fast, and this year, I decided to cook for my wife's family reunion dinner.

Pauline's mum has recently been very keen to taste my food, and usually she has always been the one doing all the heavy lifting during reunion dinner time.

This year, Pauline and I decided that she should take it easy and instead, enjoy an Oriental menu prepared by Pauline and myself. Still, she did insist on doing a shark's fin soup.

Incidentally, we have decided that this would be the last time we consume shark's fin, as we also want to get it on the act of preventing cruelty to animals. If you have the time, go youtube and see any of the videos on the cruelty to sharks and you would be inclined to agree.

On to our reunion dinner, we had a sumptuous 5 course of shark's fin, salmon tartare, crispy angel hair with king prawns, abalone and scallops in a superior broth and baked chicken drumsticks with a tomato and basil sauce.

And my mum-in-law's verdict? Well, she's biased and loved every dish, but she did single out the salmon tartare as her favorite, and what's more, she has never liked raw sashimi before, so this was indeed a surprise.

And so, I have decided to share with you this duo of salmon dish which you can whip up easily at home for your family.

For the pan fried salmon, simply season both sides of the fillet with salt and pepper, and fry it in a pan, turning only once. It should be around 2 minutes each side, or flip when the fish is cooked about 2 thirds up.

Set it aside. In a fresh pan, add a knob of butter to saute the sliced apples and once the apples start to get soft, add in white wine to let the apples bathe in. Once the wine is reduced by half, the sauce should get somewhat syrupy and remove from heat.

For the tartare, you can prepare way in advance as it involves no cooking at all. And for this, I prefer to use a skinless salmon fillet as it eases the problem of removing the skin at home.

Cut it into very short slices, about 1cm long and very thinly sliced. For one full fillet, use one whole shallot and dice the shallot very finely.

Next to, dice very finely some spring onion as well and half a lemon. You are ready to mix the tartare now.

In a bowl, add in the salmon, shallots and spring onion. Squeeze the half lemon, and be careful to remove any seeds that may fall into the mixture.

Add in some extra virgin olive oil, enough soy sauce to give it a savory balance and add enough black pepper for seasoning and taste.

Mix everything thoroughly and adjust the seasoning by having a taste or two. In a while, the salmon will start to change color as the acid from the lemon and the shallots will somewhat "cook" the fish.

To plate, simply use a flat dish and plate the tartare on one side and add in some additional spring onion for garnishing. Plate the wine apples on the other side and lay the pan cooked salmon on top.

This is a very suitable dish for an appetizer, or even a mains. But for me, the tartare is also my version of yu sheng, or raw fish salad that is usually eaten before the start of a Lunar New Year meal.

Pauline did comment that my tartare did have much more fish that the average yu sheng, and or it should. Try this at home as it is really very easy to do, and it is still yu sheng eating time!

Gong Xi Fa Cai! from the Silver Chef.