To say that opposites attract stretches far beyond the dynamics of human interaction. Finding a common thread between people and the ties that bond us makes our juxtaposed lives fun, exciting, and unpredictable. The same can be said about food.
Sometimes flavors – just like people – come together as unlikely duos in a match-made-in-heaven kind of bliss. Slow roasted cured salmon with a ginger maple glaze – cooked low and slow until the flesh is buttery and sweet, somehow acts as the perfect partner in crime to my warm potato salad, bathed in Prosecco and a luscious dijon vinaigrette that’s been kissed with dill, parsley and spring onions. Unlikely culinary pair? Maybe. But together, they work.
The salmon, cured in a mixture of salt and sugar overnight, is baked on its skin at low temperature to maintain moisture and succulence. The ginger maple glaze adds a touch of sweetness to the slightly crusted exterior of the fish. The warm potato salad, tossed in sparkling white grape and chicken stock are equally as lovely.
Our wine pairing from the Tasting Class ties our meal together beautifully. Resident wine expert Lindsay Trivers suggests a Viognier. “Viognier is a grape variety that can be quite full bodied, which will be able to stand up to the richness of the salmon. This wine can have a slightly creamy quality to it too, which will nicely mirror the texture of salmon and the emulsified dressing on the potatoes. It’s a rather perfumed grape variety with notes of tangerine, apricot and honey suckle, so it will play nicely off the subtly sweet and herbal notes in the dish from ginger to dill. This grape variety thrives in hot climates so there are some tasty bottles coming out of Australia and South Africa at the moment. If you’re in the mood to treat yourself to a really special wine try a bottle of Condrieu, which is French, Rhône Valley wine region that specializes in 100% viognier wines, even though they don’t write the grape variety on the bottle.”
Serve the salmon warm or at room temperature. I typically use a whole side of salmon for this dish and present it on a large serving platter to portion à table. Feel free to use individual salmon filets if you prefer, however take note that the baking time may decrease slightly. This dish makes great leftovers the next day – pull the salmon apart and toss with thinly sliced red onions, dill, parsley and spring onions. Serve over lettuce with leftover potatoes and extra ginger maple glaze or dijon vinaigrette.
- 1.2 to 1.5 KG salmon on it’s skin
- 2 to 3 cups brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill (optional)
For the Glaze:
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 drop sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon or lime juice
- Place sugar, salt, and dill in a bowl and combine.
Place the salmon in a deep serving dish, skin side down. Pat the sugar mixture all over the flesh of the salmon. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for six hours or overnight. Note that the sugar will dissolve and turn into a thick liquid while the fish is curing. You will need to keep the salmon in a dish that can accommodate the extra liquid.
Remove salmon from the refrigerator. Carefully wipe the excess sugar off the salmon by hand, with a rubber spatula, or with paper towels. Place salmon, skin side down, on a baking sheet that has been lightly brushed with olive oil.
Bake in the center of your oven at 110-120 degrees celsius (230-250 Fahrenheit) for twenty-five to thirty minutes (if you prefer your salmon slightly less done, cook at the lower temp for the shorter period of time).
The salmon is ready when a knife can be easily pushed through the flesh and the salmon is firm to the touch with a buttery center.
Combine all the ingredients for the glaze together. Brush or pour half the glaze over the salmon, and reserve the rest to serve beside it.
For the Potato Salad:
- 500 grams baby new or fingerling potatoes
- 2 tablespoons prosecco or white wine
- 2 tablespoons chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 2 spring onions (white and green parts) finely sliced
Steam or boil the potatoes until cooked through.
Cut potatoes half. If they are very small you can keep them whole. Place them in a large bowl and toss with the vino and chicken stock. Cover with a tea towel and let the potatoes sit in their liquid for 15 minutes.
Remove the tea towel. If there is a lot of liquid left at the bottom of the bowl (ie they are swimming in it), take out a little bit and set aside in case you need to moisten the potatoes later.
Whisk the olive oil into the dijon until it’s emulsified. Add the vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour over the Potatoes and toss. Add the dill, parsley and spring onion. Toss again.
Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. If the potatoes are dry, add the reserved potato, vino, stock liquid.
Serve immediately with the salmon.
*Special thanks to the Tasting Class for our grape pairing. Tune in to their Virtual Wine Tasting on Instagram or Facebook or head on to their website to check out everything you’ll need to know about wine, WSET courses and more in the UAE.