Fish dishes are a great entertaining menu and if you are able to serve a whole wild salmon – as I did here- then it is worth doing a little bit of a show about it. Salmon is such a good looking fish that I would advise to serve it intact and without cutting up its head – plus this will give more taste to the sauce eventually.
- One whole salmon or 6 salmon steaks
- Water 500ml
- Bouquet garni made with bay leaves, tarragon or basil and mint
- Star anis 2 to 4 heads
- Turmeric 1 Tbsp
- Saffron 2 strands
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the glaze:
- Shiro Miso paste 100 g
- Mirin vinegar 1 tsp (sweet Japanese vinegar)
- Soy sauce 2 tbsp
- Olive or sesame oil 4 Tbsp
First clean the fish or cut it up into steaks.
Put it into a deep roasting dish and cover with water about half-way up. I line my dish with foil because it is easier to clean afterwards but you do not have to and it is probably not very “macrobiotic” to use foil… But practical!
Chuck in the “bouquet garni” and the spices. Do try to get fresh tarragon because combined with the star anis it will give the flesh a very subtle and sweet flavour that I find irresistible.
Warm the saffron strands into some hot water and chuck that in too. The saffron and turmeric give this dish its warm colour.
Put the fish in a hot oven and bake until you can insert a knife into the flesh all the way to the bone. I prefer to slightly undercook it to allow for the second grilling.
When it is baked, reserve until your guests arrive and prepare the glaze by mixing the miso with a bit of Japanese vinegar, some sesame oil and soy sauce.
If doing a whole fish, cut up the skin in the middle and push it back to uncover the flesh.
Then spread the miso marinade abundantly over it- Or just on one side of the steaks if doing individual portions.
Put the dish back in the oven at the last minute and grill for 5 to 8 minutes, watching over it carefully so it does not burn!
Serve with ladle-full of the very fragrant sauce and some rice salad or quinoa.
Baked in the juice, the salmon remains very moist. Best to baste it from time to time during the cooking, though. For the flavours need to penetrate the flesh.
The other plus point is you can also prepare most of this dish in advance, which makes for a great entertaining plan. We served a Chablis over this but a Sancerre would have been lovely too ; and in the summer I would serve it with a good rosé! My winemaker mother reckons anything pink is greatly enhanced by rosé and she should know… Do try because it is a fantastic idea and it works: from shrimps to pork, from ham to strawberries - and smoked salmon. If you can’t source my favourite at Chateau de la Tuilerie, then try the delicious “English rose” from Chapel Down in Kent. Both world-class!