Monday, September 24, 2012

Fine Dining At Home 2/3 - Pan-fried Scottish Salmon

 Here's Recipe 2 from Chef Lee Bennett of Equinox Restaurant at Swissotel Stamford in Singapore:

Pan-fried Scottish Salmon with Warm Salad of Beetroot

I got my friends to plate their own dishes - you can tell none of us will make it to Masterchef, but it sure added much more fun to the evening.

If you think the list of ingredients for the first dish was too long, wait till you see this one, with an even longer list in the method. Ready?

Ingredients for citrus powder and olive dust
5 oranges
2 lemons
200g pitted black olives

Ingredients for pan fried Scottish salmon and warm salad of beetroot
2 Charlotte potatoes, large
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 garlic cloves
2 beetroot, large (note to self: just need one)
1 fennel, small
3 radish
1 bunch of wild rocket and frisee
4 x 150g salmon, centre cut

Ingredients for basil pesto
2 bunches of fresh basil
2 garlic cloves (I used 4)
150ml olive oil
100g toasted pine kernels
100g grated parmesan

Method for citrus powder and olive dust
1. Peel orange and lemon skin onto a metal tray.
2. Place in the oven at max 80C and leave overnight. (Totally dehydrate for maximum flavour)
3. Cut the olives into half on to a separate tray and leave to dry with the oranges.
4. Use a clean blender to blend the olives into coarse bits.

Old world charm vs new world food processor

Method for panfried Scottish salmon and warm salad of beetroot
1. Place potatoes to cook in gentle simmering salted water
2. Add some garlic and rosemary. (Optional: Leave in water for up to 2 days for flavour)
3. Once cooked, refresh in cold water and peel the skin off, then dice into 1cm cubes

4. Pour some rock salt on a baking tray, pierce the beetroot and place onto the salt.
5. Cover the tray with a layer of tin foil and cook in the oven at 150C for around 90 minutes. (I cooked for 120 min and they were still too crunchy. Note to self: will increase temp to 200 next time or boil to soften before putting into oven.)
6. Once cooked, remove skin and dice into 1cm cubes. (Store separately from potatoes as they stain.)

7. Thinly shave the fennel and radish into ice cold water using a mandolin.
8. Pick through the wild rocket and frisee, wash and pass through a salad spinner.
9. Put the beetroot and potato into a bowl together and season lightly, dress with olive oil, a pinch of the citrus powder and olive dust.
10. Mix the greens with the fennel and radish, then add a drizzle of olive oil.
11. Season the salmon with salt. (Oops, just realised I didn't do this and it tasted fine!)
12. Add a drizzle of oil into a hot non-stick pan.
13. When hot, place salmon on the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Turn it over and cook for another 2 minutes. (I did one minute on each side to avoid flaky salmon which I don't enjoy. At one minute, I got just past the sashimi stage.)
14. Remove salmon from the pan.

As a side tip, Chef suggested you can add crisp and crunch to the dish by grilling the salmon skin. 60C in the oven overnight. 

Method for basil pesto (key to this dish)
1. Pick the basil.
2. Blanch in boiling water for 30 secs then refresh in ice water.
3. Once cold, remove and squeeze water out completely
4. Place into blender with minced garlic, olive oil, pine kernels and parmesan
5. Blend to a smooth paste. (I blended to rather coarse so I could still bite on the little chunks of nuts which I love)

My pesto was a big hit that night. We ended up eating everything with the pesto, and my friend even placed an order with me! Expensive but oh so very healthy and delish.

The beauty of toasted pine kernels

My big hit that night - home-made pesto with fresh basil from the garden

1. Spread the basil pesto on a plate in a circular movement.
2. Add 2 Tbsp of the beetroot and ptoato onto the plate followed by a handful of the salad.
3. Top with the salmon then sprinkle the citrus powder and olive dust around the plate.
4. Ready to serve.

So, have I tired you out just reading the ingredient list? For me, I was inspired to try it and found it worth the colossal effort and every minute of my time, and highly rewarding to be feeding my friends good food, real food. Sick as it sounds, I would do this all over again.

Up Next: Recipe 3 Sage-scented Pork Tenderloins


  1. I can imagine how satisified and rewarded you were. How I wish I was one of the invited guests!? :)

    Looking forward to post 3/3.

  2. Luan, I salute you! I will never ever complain again for the high prices at these glitzy restaurants. We are paying more for the blood, sweat and tears. This is hard labor to me :) Agree with that Wine guy, wish I were there too :)

  3. Thanks, guys. It felt like I had attended a 3-day training course, and this has given me more confidence to experiment with more recipes. Cooking is not about saving lives, so it's ok to experiment!


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