Salmon steak: a culinary delight
Updated: 2011-02-21 10:00
By Maggie Beale (HK Edition) (China Daily)
Whether you are a "fish on Fridays" person or you just fancy having a change from meats, one of the prime types of fish, salmon, haddock, cod or such, will invariably find its way onto your menu. Considered as the king of fishes, wild salmon is seen by many as a major delicacy and for the busy person it has an added plus; it's full of flavour, simple and quick to prepare.
Health reports tell us that salmon is a great source of easily digestible proteins, vitamin A, B and D, minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc and phosphorous as well as omega-3 essential fatty acids. Wow! How can you not benefit from eating this lovely fish?
Salmonaidae is the common name for several fish that are born in fresh water, migrate to the ocean then return to fresh water to spawn and reproduce. There are also some species that remain in freshwater always.
Most readily available all year long in Hong Kong, frozen or fresh, the best are salmon from Scotland, Norway, and Chile. The two major types are Pacific and Atlantic fish; unlike their Pacific cousins, Atlantic salmon do not automatically die following spawning, some survive and make their way back to sea, where they repeat their spawning migration.
Wherever your favorite comes from, there's nothing quite like a pan-fried or grilled salmon steak with a good butter-herb sauce along with boiled potatoes and broccoli florets.
Dining on the terrace of the Bordeaux Wine Cellar on Food Street (you can order there from the menus of several restaurants along that street in Causeway Bay) recently I had a salmon steak beautifully prepared by Chef Ah Wai.
He used farmed salmon and he pan-fried the steaks very quickly before adding parsley sauce, broccoli and some chickpeas with herbs.
To get the best results at home, buy salmon steaks of around 1 inch thick. Do check that the fishmonger has de-scaled the fish, if not, then scrape the scales off by running the back of a knife down the skin going against the grain. Wash carefully then rub all over with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and a touch of white pepper and dip into plain flour - shaking off most of it before frying the fish.
Heat the grill, or add a knob of salt-free butter to a frying pan to shallow fry the fish.
First, hold the fish skin down to get it nice and crispy, then lay the steaks flat and fry gently for 3 minutes either side. Lift with a large fish slice or a spatula to keep the steak from breaking up.
In the meantime, open a can of chickpeas and heat gently with a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and a little butter or light oil. And steam a few broccoli pieces.
If you prefer potatoes to chickpeas they will need around 20 minutes to boil after being scraped clean so it's wise to start this first before the rest of the meal.
Plate the vegetables and the salmon and add the butter-herb sauce.
My favorite sauces with salmon steak are quick to make. Take 1oz unsalted butter, 1 oz plain (all-purpose) flour, 1/2 pint milk, pinch white pepper; melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and let cook for 1 minute over low heat, slowly add the milk stirring all the while until it boils and thickens, add 4oz finely chopped parsley, check for taste and add salt if necessary. You can vary this sauce by omitting the parsley and substituting crushed avocado or chopped watercress or finely chopped spinach.
To make this extra special, open a bottle of dry white wine such as a Spanish Blanc de Blanc, a Semillon from Australia or a lightly oaked Chardonnay from France. The wine should be fresh, not sweet and not too heavily textured.
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