I got back in the kitchen this week as The Student’s Chef to create a dish for special occasions. After being inspired last week at Slighhouse, I decided to try out their method for seared salmon, but with a little twist. This will test your skills in plating up; there are no less than 5 elements on the plate! The trick to this is to keep calm and heat the plates up before starting! Feel free to swap in/out ingredients. You can replace pak choi with green beans and cook in the same way, or you can swap parsnip with potatoes. And all for only£3 a portion.
Ingredients (per person): One salmon fillet, thumb sized piece of ginger (peeled, chopped), balsamic vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, splash of white wine, white wine vinegar, clove of garlic chopped, one parsnip, ½ pak choi (root chopped off, leaves separated), a handful of chopped chives, dill or parsley, two knobs of butter, two large glugs of cream, one egg.
Before you begin…
Get two big pans of water onto boil. Set out a frying pan and two chopping boards (or wash one up quickly).
First, prepare the salmon: Slice it thinly into 1cm slices and cut off the skin. Place on a plate and drizzle with soy sauce, chopped ginger and a splash of balsamic vinegar. The soy sauce acts as a seasoning; the ginger gives sweetness, and the balsamic will caramelise in the pan giving the salmon a wonderfully sweet crust. Leave this in the fridge until you’re ready to start cooking the salmon.
Take the skin and any other trimmings from the salmon, and place in a pan with a mug full of water, a splash of white wine, and some garlic to prepare your sauce. Bring to the boil and let it reduce.
Peel the parsnips and chop into small chunks. Boil in salted water until they are tender and a knife can easily go through them. Whilst they are cooking, place a steaming basket or sieve over the pan and steam the pak choi.
When the parsnips are ready, drain them and set the pak choi aside on a plate. Return the parsnips to the pan with half of the cream, butter and chopped herbs. Mash with a potato masher or blend with a stick blender if you have one. Make sure you are careful with the stick blender as if you over-blend it can become gloopy and starchy. Put on the lid and keep warm till serving.
Place the frying pan on a high heat. Add a glug of oil and when it is smoking add the salmon and carefully fry. Add some white wine vinegar to the other pan of water and crack in one egg per person to poach. (See below for top tip). Place the pak choi in a saucepan with some butter and stir whilst it heats up and sautés on a medium heat.
Using a spoon, get rid of all the salmon and garlic in the sauce. Add the rest of the cream to the sauce and bring to the boil, adding the rest of the chopped herbs.
On a plate, dollop two spoonfuls of purée and drag them into lines. Layer up the pak choi on one of the lines of purée and layer up the fish on the other. Place the poached egg on top of the fish and spoon the sauce all around the plate. Serve immediately.
Chef’s top tip: Poaching eggs still scares me as a concept! I used to have to poach them to order in the restaurant and so learnt some helpful tips. Firstly, the water should just be simmering, not boiling. Add a splash of white wine vinegar just before the egg. Always crack the egg into a bowl/mug before putting in the water. Fresh eggs will hold their shape much better than older ones. When ready, it will have a satisfying squidginess to it and wobble ever so slightly. Always sprinkle with lots of salt and pepper before serving.
Featured image: Will Briant