Sunday, September 12, 2010

You say salmon, I say salmon

I'm not the most confident fish cooker. I always get freaked out and either end up over cooking or under cooking it, which always seems such a loss because to me, fish is a luxury.
One time I tried to make what I was hoping to be a lovely grilled tuna steak but ended up cooking the crap out of it which resulted in a chewy bit of rubber. Other times I timidly fry a salmon steak, only to get a burnt outside and stone cold inside.

Then I discovered cooking en papillote, meaning 'in parchment'. Basically you get your fish, whack it on some alfoil or baking paper, chuck in some aromatics and wrap it up into a little bundle. As it cooks in the oven, the fish steams inside the bag and you end up with a wonderfully juicy piece of perfectly cooked fish. It seriously works, every single time.

The sauce recipe here, adapted from Karen Martini's Cooking at Home is like a healthy tartare because it has a base of natural yoghurt. It is so addictive that I may or may not have eaten half of it by using it as a dip for rice crackers as I impatiently waited for my salmon to cook. Add a side of beautiful lemon drenched grilled zucchini and you have heaven on a plate.


Salmon en papillote -
with lemon zucchini and caper yoghurt sauce

for the salmon:
4 salmon steaks about 200g each
salt and pepper
olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
4 spring onions, cut in half
1 lemon, sliced thickly
4 garlic cloves, lightly bashed
1/2 a bulb of fennel, sliced into 4 pieces

Lay out a long piece of aluminium foil and fold in half to form a big sqaure shape. Place the salmon steak in the middle of the foil. Rub salt, pepper and olive oil on the skin. Lay the spring onion, garlic clove and fennel next to the salmon. Place a slice of lemon on top and pour a tablespoon or so of white wine over the fish. Fold the sides of the foil up on all 4 sides and then srunch all sides together so that it forms a neat little parcel with out any air holes. Repeat with the other salmon steaks. Place on a tray and bake in a moderate oven for about 15-20 minutes. Once cooked, open up the parcels and remove the salmon piece and discard the fennel etc.

for the zucchini:
5 green zucchinis
50ml olive oil
juice from 1 lemon
big handful of parsley
a few sprigs of oregano
salt and pepper

Slice the zucchini lenthways into strips and saute over medium to high heat in a pan with the olive oil for about 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. The zucchini needs to cook long enough to get nice colouring and caramelisation. Just before serving chuck in the parsley and oregano. Serve warm with the salmon.

for the sauce (this makes a fair bit of sauce so just half it if you're only making dinner for a few people):
3 slices of stale bread, crusts removed then soaked in water and squeezed out (I used 2 stale tortillas because that's what I had floating around)
100g baby capers, drained
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley
a few sprigs of mint
1 clove of garlic
200ml extra virgin olive oil
200g plain yoghurt
sea salt and pepper

Combine bread, half of the capers, parsley, mint, garlic, olive oil and yoghurt in a food processor and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and the rest of the capers (because I like there to be whole capers in the sauce). Serve dolloped on top of the salmon.



  1. Hey, love your blog! Would you be able to tell me where I can get tuna steaks? I've looked in the usual places like Coles, Woolies etc and they never have it (atleast not the ones where I go) - I also live in Sydney if that's any help?
    Thanks x

  2. Hey thanks, that's really nice of you!
    The fish markets down in pyrmont are really really good. If I can, I go there. I bought tuna once just from a local fish shop which was nice, but i tend to steer clear of fish shops in shopping centres only because you run the risk of buying fish thats cheaper, from other countries and therefore frozen for awhile.

    But tuna is pretty common so it shouldn't be too hard to find but definitely the fish markets have it. Hope that helps!

  3. ohh of course! How did I not think of the good old fish markets?! haha I go there now and then to buy The best sashimi, and it's soo much cheaper!
    Thanks for you help -- I really want to try this salmon recipe as well (as you can tell I am a fan of fish :) xx