Blog - fish
Hang out with us long enough and you will no doubt taste our whisky-cured gravlax at some point. We make this simple delicacy at least once per week and use it in a number of ways: on bread with avocado puree and a dash of flax seed oil, on mini savory olive oil scones as an apéro item, inside wraps using lavash or tortillas with plenty of avocado and sprouts, on whole wheat Irish soda bread, on buckwheat blinis (pancakes), on salads…or simply sliced and enjoyed naked (not us…just the food).
The juicy texture and fresh aromas coming from the orange and herbs marry with that unmistakable hint of smoky whisky to create a taste sensation which has, quite frankly, replaced our fondness for smoked salmon.
I really enjoy eating salmon. It remains one of my favorite foods because it tastes good, it’s healthy and you can prepare it a number of different ways. Salmon, however, is often over-cooked and tastes very dry. This method of slow-roasting salmon produces a succulent and tender fish…perfect for warm summer evenings. It is delicious served at room temperature with a lemon vinaigrette…or simply scented with a few herbs and a drizzle of very good olive oil. The velvety salmon will pair well with crunchy vegetables such as sautéed celery.
One other interesting alternative is to wrap the salmon filet in a fig leaf or banana leaf before slow-roasting…the leaf will impart a coconut-like flavor to the salmon.
fresh herbs (use thyme, wild fennel or tarragon)
500 gr. salmon filet, with skin-on
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Oil a baking dish and cover the bottom with a layer of fresh herbs. Place the seasoned salmon skin side down on the herbs. Oil the top of the salmon, lightly season and bake at 120 degrees C for about 30-40 minutes. The salmon should be just set. If the salmon starts to bleed white fat, it is done…in fact probably a bit too done!
The first dish I made while working for Angelo Cabani in his highly acclaimed Locanda Miranda restaurant was his special Ligurian-style fish soup. What a magical culinary experience – being taught by a great chef who opened his restaurant in the same year I was born…and I’m not so young. It is also a recipe which continues to touch my inner soul in surprising ways.
Angelo’s soup recipe I made that day is actually a variation on the famous Cacciucco alla Livornese, a Tuscan town about an hour south of my Ligurian base. The classic cacciucco is more a stew than a soup. It is filled with various types of seafood and fish and flavored with an intense fish broth, tomato concentrate, onions, garlic and a bay leaf. The traditional presentation also includes a large chunk of garlic bread at the bottom of the soup bowl, which soaks up the tasty juices.
I ate cacciucco during my first visit to Livorno last year in a modern restaurant located in the canal zone of the city. I was excited to finally taste the soup which defines Livornese cooking and reminded me so much of my working days with Angelo. But I was very surprised when the ‘soup’ arrived served on a large plate and piled over a mound of couscous.
Couscous…what was the connection?