26 August 2010
Recipe For Wild Salmon With Pink Peppercorn Sauce
This recipe began as one of those serendipitous events when on holiday this July in Scotland. We had one of those small kitchens that has no equipment and a very temperamental cooker, plus we had brought almost no ingredients with us. Then around and about, you could find a few basic ingredients to work with but not much, so I was standing there with some wild caught salmon fillets from the Galloway Smokehouse and not much inspiration, with the family screaming the cottage down for some grub.
Sophie came in for a glass of rosé wine and then I knew what to do and off I went - I put the fillets into a large vegetable pot, sliced some lemons and put these between the fillets, then sprinkled some salt and pepper over the fillets, poured in about an inch of wine and gently poached the salmon with the lid on the pot; delicious and everyone finished their plates, so job done.
Back in Yorkshire and with more ingredients to work with, I thought that perhaps you could work that simple recipe up a bit more and finish it off with a sauce and felt that a rosé wine and pink peppercorn sauce would do the trick. I made it yesterday after getting some salmon from Carricks mobile fish truck at Ripon Market and it worked a treat. I reckon you could also serve cold cooked salmon with a pink peppercorn hollandaise sauce.
For the poaching stock:
250ml / 8 fl oz rosé wine
125ml / 4fl oz water
4 slices of lemon
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
½ vanilla pod, sliced down centre (optional)
For the wild salmon:
1tbsp sunflower oil
25g / 1oz finely chopped shallots
4 salmon fillets (about 200g / 7oz each)
¼ tsp Sea salt
100ml / 4 fl oz double cream
1tbsp pink peppercorns, lightly crushed
1. Put all the ingredients for the poaching stock in a pot and bring to the boil with the lid on the pot. When it starts boiling, reduce the heat and leave to simmer gently for 30 minutes with the lid on, so letting all the flavours infuse into the stock. You could skip this bit if you are pushed for time and go straight to the poaching of the salmon; in this case, I would replace the water-carrot-spice part with extra wine, i.e. just use 300ml / 10 fl oz rosé wine and the lemon slices and go straight to the next stage.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 100oC/ 210oF and put a plate or serving dish in the oven to warm up for later. Lightly oil a heavy bottomed, metal casserole dish and then sprinkle the chopped shallots over the base of the pan. Place the salmon fillets on top of this and then season with some sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Gently pour in the poaching stock (or rosé wine plus lemon slices) half way up the fillets, reserving any of the excess stock for later. Put the lid onto the casserole dish and gently poach in the stock for 8 - 10 minutes, depending on the size of the salmon, but try not to overcook. Lift out the poached salmon and place on a warm plate, cover in foil and keep warm in the pre-heated oven.
3. Pour the juices into a clean pan through a sieve to remove the bits and add any of the excess stock reserved earlier. Bring to the boil and reduce the liquid to about 150ml /¼ pint. Add the cream and simmer until the sauce has a thin feel to it, but would still coat a coat for a bit. Add the crushed pink peppercorns. Check and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, but do not add black pepper under any circumstances as it will ruin the effect.
4. Serve on warmed plates. Firstly arrange the salmon fillets onto the plates, then pour over the sauce. Serve with new potatoes, fresh green vegetables or salad - perhaps a watercress salad.