SALMON is a brilliantly versatile fish and one of the most popular in this country. It’s just as likely to be found on a restaurant menu as it is on the dinner table at home and, unlike many other types of fish, suits a variety of cooking methods. Poaching or grilling is one of the easiest ways to cook salmon and a healthier alternative to frying.
Salmon steaks work really well on a barbeque, and of course, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs is a real breakfast treat!
Fish (and especially salmon) consumption in the UK has increased greatly over the past few years, mainly due to a desire to eat more healthily and more awareness of quality, fresh produce in general.
Because of this, salmon is now widely available almost all year round - but try to be a little bit conscious of where and how it’s been caught when you buy. In the UK, the main source of salmon is from Scotland.
You’ll generally only find farmed salmon on the supermarkets shelves, but if you can get hold of wild salmon then give it a try – ask your fishmonger for advice.
Being an oil-rich, robust fish means that salmon can handle bold flavours and a variety of spices, herbs and sauces. It pairs especially well with Oriental and Mediterranean flavours so try it topped with pesto or served up with some spicy noodles. I personally prefer it with a simple squeeze of lemon and twist of pepper to let the flavour really speak for itself.
Nutritionally, salmon is an excellent source of high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals (including potassium, selenium and vitamin B12) and omega-3 fatty acids, making it a great addition to your diet. When buying salmon look for smooth, moist skin and, if buying whole, it should have bright clear eyes. It should smell fresh not fishy.
This week’s recipe is a lovely, fresh Spring dish that can be served with a few buttered new potatoes and some spring greens or fresh leaves. By allowing the salmon to steam in the foil parcel, the result is a really moist and flavoursome piece of fish.
Ingredients (serves 2)
2 fresh salmon fillets
1 small leek, sliced
50ml white wine
2 bay leaves
Half a lemon
Pre-heat the oven to 200c.
Firstly, prepare the parcel by cutting two large sheets of foil and folding them in half to form a strong double layer that is still big enough to create a roomy parcel around the fish. The parcel will expand with the steam once in the oven.
Divide the leeks between the foil and sit a fillet of salmon on top. Add the bayleaf, a splash of wine and a good squeeze of lemon to each parcel. Season with salt and pepper.
Carefully fold the sides of the foil around the salmon, leaving enough room for the steam to circulate in the parcel. Squeeze the sides of the foil together to create a tight seal.
Cook in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the foil for a further 5 minutes.
Remove from the foil and serve immediately with the leeks and a wedge of lemon.