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The Caterer

Fresh salmon with bacon in a herb butter sauce

11 September 2006
Fresh salmon with bacon in a herb butter sauce

Ingredients

950g wild salmon fillet
250g smoked streaky bacon
90ml olive oil
½tsp fennel seed

For the herb butter sauce:
2 shallots
60g butter
1 sprig thyme
¼ bay leaf
½tsp crushed white peppercorns
60ml white wine vinegar
¼ clove garlic
20cl whipping cream
1tsp water
210g butter best unsalted
Salt
Lemon juice
Pinch of cayenne to taste
½tsp blanched chopped fresh tarragon
1tsp fresh chopped chervil
1tsp fresh chopped chives
1tsp parsley chopped

For the garnish: 2 tomatoes diced
1 sprig basil

Method

Skin the salmon remove any bones and cut out bloodlines or discoloured flesh as it is bitter and will spoil the flavour. Slice into six pieces.

Slice along the length of a whole piece of bacon - not rashers. If the bacon is as cold as possible you should be able to slice it so thinly you can see through it.

Wrap the salmon in the sliced bacon ensuring no flesh is visible. Sprinkle with fennel seed. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate overnight. The salmon needs to be in the bacon for a minimum of 12 hours preferably 24 to impart the smokiness of bacon into the fish.

Once you've allowed the flavours to mingle you can either serve the fish with or without the bacon "wrapping".

If you don't intend to serve the fish complete with the bacon moisten both sides of the salmon pieces into olive oil to create a film around the fish. This eases the removal of the bacon from the salmon flesh after cooking.

Herb butter sauce

Make a beurre blanc sauce in the traditional way. Add fresh herbs after straining the sauce.

The quantity and variety of herbs you use is a matter of personal preference. I like this combination because none of the herbs overpower the delicate flavour of the salmon.

For the garnish: Blanch peel and dice the tomato. Melt 20g of butter with 60ml water salt and pepper to taste a sprig of basil and half a garlic clove. Add the diced tomato. Keep warm for serving.

Cooking the salmon

This takes a mere 11 minutes in a Chinese bamboo steamer over a saucepan of continually boiling water. Steam the salmon on a plate until cooked. If you prefer serving the salmon without the bacon wrapping carefully peel off the bacon. Whisk in the cooking juices trapped on the plate into the prepared butter sauce.

A little steamed shredded spring cabbage underneath the salmon makes an ideal accompaniment as do steamed or boiled new potatoes.

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