Melt-in-your-mouth salmon is topped with those explode-in-your-mouth salmon eggs. The clean tasting yet intense tomato consommé is a perfect compliment. Crisp fresh vegetables add some sweet, sour, and bitter notes.
While the vegetables look awesome, the stars of this dish are the salmon confit and the tomato consommé. To confit an ingredient, one cooks it in oil at a low temperature for an extended period of time. For this dish, I used my Anova sous vide device, cooking the salmon in a little good quality extra virgin olive oil at 52 deg Celsius for 30 minutes. This has become my favourite method for cooking salmon. The texture and taste are amazing. And if you are wondering, it is not at all oily. At least not any more than salmon normally is. And since the natural oils in salmon, and the extra virgin olive oil, are both considered very healthy, then you are doing yourself a favour.
The consommé takes some preparation, but it’s so worth it. The kimchi consommé I used in this crispy pork belly dishwas a revelation. Such an intense flavour from a deceptively clear both. I was looking forward to another opportunity to incorporate a consommé in a dish. This is the result. While the salmon is an oily fish, and the confit cooking method doesn’t make it any less so, the tomato consommé has the acid to perfectly balance those oils.
While the salmon and consommé are the stars, the vegetables are far from insignificant players. Charring the asparagus added some bitter notes, while retaining that wonderful crisp freshness that minimally cooked asparagus possesses.
The zucchini was boiled whole, in order not to dilute its wonderful flavour. And as soon as the zucchini was sufficiently cooked, it was sliced and tossed in a chilli infused olive oil. The zucchini absorbs the complex chilli infused olive oil flavours much better when it is still very hot. So immediately after removing from the boiling water, slice and toss in the olive oil.
The cherry tomatoes obviously complement the tomato consommé, and don’t they also look beautiful?
Salmon confit with tomato consommé, zucchini, and charred asparagus
- 500 g salmon fillets in 4 portions skin and pin bones removed
- 4 cups water
- 150 g sea salt
- 80 g sugar
- 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 fennel bulb
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 carrot
- 1 onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup water
- 2 kg ripe tomatoes
- 6 egg whites, chilled
- 1/4 cup parsley coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup basil coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
Asparagus, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes
- 1 bunch asparagus white asparagus is visually interesting if you can get some
- 2 medium zucchinis
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved a mix of red and yellow looks good
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil
- 2 Tbsp chilli infused olive oil
- 1/2 cup salmon eggs
- Radish sprouts or similar
- Dissolve the salt and sugar in the water, then reduce the water temperature to less than 5 degC. Add some ice to reduce it quickly.
- Put the salmon into the salt water and store in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
- Pat the salmon dry and place each portion in a plastic bag suitable for sous vide. Two portions per bag is OK if the size it right.
- Add a Tbsp of oil to each bag, expel the air, then seal.
- Cook using a sous vide machine at 52 degC for 30 minutes. If you don’t have a sous vide machine, you can accomplish the same thing using a saucepan, a digital thermometer, and very careful control of the heat applied.
- On completion of the 30 minutes, plunge the salmon bags into an ice bath.
- Refrigerate for 5 hours before using. This is essential to get the right texture.
- Wash and dice the fennel, onion, carrot, celery, and garlic.
- Coarsely chop the tomatoes.
- Put a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the oil.
- Add the diced vegetables and sauté until the onion and fennel has softened.
- Add the water, diced tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper to the saucepan.
- Bring up to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes are starting to disintegrate.
- Use a hand blender to blend the tomatoes and vegetables until fairly smooth.
- Allow to cool.
- Pour the mixture through a sieve into another saucepan. Press down on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. The remaining solids still have a lot of flavor to give. Add to another saucepan together with a litre of so of water. Bring to simmer, and simmer for 30 minutes. Allow to cool, bag, and freeze for another time.
- Lightly whisk the egg whites and add to the saucepan with the tomato broth.
- Use the hand blender to whisk the egg whites into the tomato broth.
- Add the chopped basil.
- Put the saucepan over a low medium heat and bring up to a simmer.
- Reduce heat and cook at a low simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
- The egg whites will form a “raft”. Carefully make a ladle sized hole in the raft and ladle out any froth that collects.
- When the consommé is clear, remove from the heat.
- Without disturbing the raft too much, ladle out or pour out the consommé into another container. Discard the raft.
- Strain the consommé one more time through muslin.
- Check and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Serve warm, or refrigerate until ready then re-heat.
Asparagus, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes
- Boil the zucchini’s in salted water for 7 minutes. Keep whole.
- Remove from the water and cut into 30 mm lengths.
- Toss the zucchini in the chilli infused olive oil while they are still hot, as they will absorb the flavours better.
- Coat the asparagus in olive oil.
- Bring a skillet up to a medium high heat.
- Lay the asparagus in the skillet. Once they start to char, turn over. Try to get some charring right around the asparagus.
- Wash and cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
- Remove the salmon from the refrigerator 20 minutes before serving.
- Remove from the sous vide bags and pat with oil absorbing paper to remove excess oil. Avoid using paper towels as they will likely stick to the salmon.
- Place the salmon pieces on high sided plates.
- Top the salmon with salmon eggs.
- Place a piece of zucchini (upright), halved cherry tomatoes, and some asparagus.
- Pour in some tomato consommé.