Friday, 10 August 2007

Saumon, Sauvage, So Great

Alaskan wild salmon, photographed from licking distance
I'm told you can achieve this sort of effect using Photo Shop, Photo Impact or Paint Shop Pro. I don't have any of these. I just buy fresh, wild, Alaskan salmon and it looks like this. No touch-ups, I swear. At risk of being accused of being on the payroll of my favourite supermarket and damned for not using my local fishmonger enough, I admit that this piece of salmon was bought in Waitrose. I took one look at that colour and fell in love. And after I'd cooked and consumed it there were no regrets. Actually, the ironic truth is that I did once visit Waitrose and ask if I could take photos for a food blog posting. They were very polite, but informed me that I'd need written permission from Head Office and could only shoot early on a Tuesday morning when the store was empty of customers, so I called the whole idea off.

But back to my fish. A few minutes research on the Waitrose website turned up this interesting page on their "Best of British" in-season offerings for summer. When it comes to many fish species, of course, sourcing is inevitably from outside of UK territorial waters. The Alaskan wild salmon is described as having "a natural seafood diet that produces deep red fillets with a wonderfully sweet flavour" and being "fished by small boats in carefully managed waters, certified to Marine Stewardship Council standards". Unless someone knows to the contrary and wants to correct this, I presume that Waitrose is providing an ethically sound product here.

I chose to fry my wild salmon fillets and serve them on a vinaigrette-based potato salad made with Anya potatoes (from supermarket rivals Sainsbury's) and a selection of fresh leaves.
Fried salmon fillets with an Anya potato and mixed leaf salad
You can see from the photo that the salmon stayed very rigid when laid across the base of potatoes. Often fillets of fish tend to droop down after only a few seconds on the plate, and the skin will sometimes go soft. That's not the texture you're looking for and you don't have to put up with it. You'll find that if you press the skin side down into seasoned flour (gluten-free in this case) before frying, you'll end up with a piece of fish that stays wonderfully rigid and maintains a perfectly crispy skin until the very last bite.


ros said...

That's a very useful tip for the fish skin. Thanks for that!

To be fair, Waitrose seem to be better for ethically produced food than my local butcher and fishmonger. They stock British veal whereas even the Q Guild Butchers sometimes haveDutch imports. And, when the Atlantic salmon in some fishmingers is £100 per kilo, of course I'd go to Waitrose!

Richard said...

I've been buying similar (the same?) from Sainsburys recently - and loving it. In fact, I've got a blog coming up when I get time on the piece I did at the weekend, with a chive, lemon and cream sauce.

Great photo btw!

Trig said...

Ros - don't overdo the flour, because you don't really want to taste it. The lightest coating will work fine. As you know, I'm not someone who believes all local shopping is good and all supermarkets are evil. Do I detect a Freudian slip in your word "fishmingers"?

Richard - makes my salad vinaigrette sound positively boring. I look forward to seeing your efforts.

Anonymous said...

A little bit more about the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which you mention. The MSC is an international non-profit that provides a solution to the problem of overfishing. It has a blue eco-label that goes on fish and seafood from fisheries that meet the MSC standard for 'sustainable'. Look for the label when you're shopping, and if you can't see it, ask for it.
Find out more at

Trig said...

Thanks, anon. That's really useful information that I'll remember to pass on in future. I've added a link to the MSC in my sidebar.

tschoerda said...

cool trick with the flour + skin, thank you! i am pretty lame when it comes to cooking fish, but i will definitely try that out!

Julia said...

That's a gorgous photo there Trig. Good tip about the skin too.

Jeanne said...

Wow - check out the colour on that fish! I am sad to say that I seldom get to Waitrose, but Sainsbury's sometimes has the wild stuff too and it's great. I love the crispy skin tip & will definitely try that. Usually I do my salmon quickly under the grill basted with a little soy sauce mixed with sweet chilli sauce.

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