Friday, January 7, 2011

Blackened salmon with orange yoghurt sauce


Dinner the other night was just this simple; a piece of salmon purposely blackened to within an inch of its poor mistaken life, yoghurt and lemon rice. A plate of sliced cured sausage, and a piece of brie split in half with a bit of truffle and mascarpone stuffed inside. A couple of home made pickles chucked in for good measure, and eating at home has never been quite so rewarding indeed.

Our poor salmon is much maligned, and doesn't really deserve the negativity it gets, but will reward you with a bit of work and creative effort. It was not so long ago really when poaching was the only method we turned to for this fish, but the delicate flavour of salmon really comes through when it is charred brutaly on the outside, all the while protecting the centre to cook effectively with its own steam.

This recipe serves 4 as part of a selection of tapas or 2 as a main course

300g salmon fillet, skinned and boned
2 tblsp vegetable oil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp Spanish sweet smoked paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds, lightly toasted
1 tsp fine salt

For the citrus yoghurt
300ml Greek yoghurt
zest and juice of one orange
60ml extra virgin olive oil

Cut the prepared salmon fillet into 2.5cm cubes. Coat the salmon in one tablespoon of the vegetable oil and then set aside in a large dish.

Combine the thyme, rosemary, oregano, paprika, cayenne, garlic, cumin seeds and salt in a small bowl. Generously coat the salmon cubes in the spice mixture and leave to sit while you prepare the citrus yoghurt.

Put the yoghurt, orange zest and juice and the olive oil in a bowl and, using a small whisk, combine, then set aside. Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a large, non-stick frying pan and cook the salmon for 3-4 minutes, turning frequently until it's golden all over.

Serve warm with cocktail sticks and the yoghurt sauce for dipping as a canape.