Alex Mackay's Baked Salmon with Apples, Grapefruit, Crème Fraiche & Watercress
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This recipe was inspired by a Raymond Blanc dish and he loved my version that he tasted in my garden on an evening in spring.
Salmon and apples are a cheerful couple that combine in everything from curry to a dry cure and this dressing takes their relationship to new heights. I boil apple juice to concentrate its flavour and acidity; I then whisk in extra virgin olive oil and the reward is a taste like apple honey, both a luscious coating and tangy dressing for the salmon. The watercress gives the apple some bite and the crème fraiche smoothes and soothes. John Griffin (The North Norfolk Fish Company ) and I discussed this one and we agree that mackerel would be an excellent substitute for the salmon, just take 5 minutes off the cooking time
From Delia's Food and Wine Workshop, recipe by Alex Mackay Serves 2
Prep ahead: The dressing can be made up to 2 days ahead. The apples can sit in the dressing for up to an hour, they will go brown if they’re left any longer.
1. Pre-heat your oven to 140c/Gas 1/ Rack Position /Middle Shelf. Boil your kettle.
2. Start with the apple glaze. Get a medium saucepan. Add the apple juice. Put the pan onto a high heat. Bring to the boil. Boil until it has reduced to 4-5 tbsp, this takes about 10 minutes and the juice should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Watch carefully, if you reduce the juice too far it will caramelise. Pour the reduced juice into a shallow bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste.
3. While it boils, prepare the grapefruit. Cut the top and bottom off the grapefruit. Cut away the peel and pith in strips. Cut the grapefruit segments out of their white membranes.
4. Get a small bowl. Add the crème fraiche and 2 tbsp of sliced basil. Mix. Season to taste.
5. Next, get a baking tray. Put the salmon on top. Season each filet with salt and pepper. Spoon 1 tsp of apple dressing onto each filet. Brush the dressing into the flesh. Bake for 14 minutes.
6. While the salmon bakes, cut the apple in half. Cut out its core. Slice the apple thinly. Add the slices to the apple dressing. Add 2 tbsp of the sliced basil. Gently turn and coat the apples in the dressing.
7. Get a large pot. Fill it with boiling water. Add salt. Bring back to the boil. Put a colander in your sink. Boil the mangetout for 3 minutes or until tender. Drain. Return them to the pan. Sauté over a high heat for 30 seconds to remove their excess water. (Alternatively, feel free to serve the mangetout raw for even more crunch)
8. Serve the salmon with the crème fraiche, surround with the grapefruit, apple, mangetout and a little watercress. Spoon the apple dressing over everything. Serve the remaining watercress on the side to soak up any dressing you have left on your plates.
Serve with; Nothing is needed. Olive oil glazed potatoes, or plain grains like quinoa or spelt for bulk.