Soft-cured Salmon with Fresh Fennel and Smoked Yoghurt

It is very rare these days to go out for lunch or dinner at your favourite restaurant and not have some kind of micro herb, flower or dehydrated fruit or vegetable adorning your plate.

These often dainty additions, when chosen well, add colour visually but are also petite parcels of flavour that can truly compliment and enhance a meal.

This beautiful recipe by chef Brad Farmerie features in the book At Home with Sous Vide by Dale Prentice. It is a perfect example of how herb and edible flowers can be used as a simple complimentary garnish.  Its three major components can be prepared in advance and then easily plated at the last minute for an impressive starter.

Dehydrated onion powder

  • 2 white onions, peeled
  • 500ml water

Place the onions in blender with 100ml water, and purée. Place the purée in a pot on the stove with the remaining 400ml water, and simmer gently over low heat until translucent and cooked through with no colour. Spread the purée out on to dehydrator mats and dry in a dehydrating machine for 24 hours or in a 82⁰C/180°F oven until completely dry. Place the dehydrated onion in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.

Salmon

  • 250 grams sugar
  • 250 grams kosher salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1 side of a 5kg Atlantic salmon, cleaned of all pin bones and belly fat, skin removed, fillet cut in half, neatly trimmed

Preheat your sous vide water bath 45⁰C/113⁰F.

Place the sugar, salt, lemon zest and lime zest in a mixing bowl, and stir well to combine. Rub a thin layer of the mix over the salmon.

Neatly pack the seasoned fish into a vacuum pouch and seal on high. Cook in the preheated circulating water bath for 30 minutes.

When cooked, gently take the pouch out of the water and place in an ice bath for at least 4 hours (this reduces the temperature of the fish as quickly as possible and keeps the texture firm).

Smoked lemon yoghurt

  • 500 grams Greek yoghurt
  • 2 grams mesquite smoke powder
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon fennel pollen (optional)
  • Salt, to taste

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Transfer to a piping bag.

To serve (per portion)

  • 2 grams dehydrated onion powder
  • 10 grams smoked lemon yoghurt
  • 5 grams hackleback caviar
  • 3 thin slices Granny Smith apple, shaved on a mandoline
  • 5 thin slices breakfast radish, shaved on a mandoline
  • 10 grams fresh fennel, shaved on a mandoline
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt flakes
  • Edible flower petals
  • Dill sprigs

When ready to serve, remove the vacuum pouch from the ice water and carefully take out the salmon.
Slice the fish into 15g slices (there should be 2 per person).

Sprinkle a line of onion powder in the centre of each plate. Use a piping bag to pipe the yoghurt into a neat pile in the middle of the line, and arrange 2 slices of salmon on top. Strategically spoon a few dollops of the caviar on and around the salmon, then decorate with the apple and radish slices.

Dress the fennel with a good quality extra virgin olive oil and sea salt, then place neatly on top of the salmon. Garnish with flower petals and dill sprigs.

Recipe and Image – At Home with Sous Vide