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Sep 2 / JW

Salmon with Cloud Ear “Noodles”, Fennel Pollen and Blueberry Gastrique

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I found some amazing assorted mushrooms at the market, which became the inspiration for this dish. Growing up the the Pacific Northwest, salmon and mushrooms are abundant, and maybe that’s why they are also two of my favourite ingredients. Cloud Ear Fungus, also known as black fungus, is a thin, flat mushroom, typically seen in asian dishes. Here it is with some shitakes, porcini, and enoki mushrooms:

It doesnt have much flavour on its own so its easy to impart any flavour you like, and even after a lot of cooking, it retains its crunchiness. I think it’s a beautiful contrast to the soft, rich salmon.

First, season the salmon. Next add a bit of butter and olive oil to a hot pan and add the salmon skin side down. Press down gently with a spatula to keep the skin from curling up.

It’s very tempting to want to move the fish, or check to see if its sticking, but trust me, dont touch it! It will stick until it crispy and ready to release itself from the pan. This should take 5-7 minutes. Gently use a spatula and turn the fish over:

You can see my skin even came up a bit, so it can be tricky but just try to be patient. Move fish to the oven for 5 more minutes. While its cooking, thinly slice your mushrooms and start the gastrique.

You can see the fungus looks like thin little strips of pasta. Next heat a smashed garlic clove and some olive oil in a hot saucepan. Throw in the mushroms with some salt, and cover.

In another small saucepan, add champagne vinegar and sugar and gently heat until reduced by half. At the very end add your blueberry preserves, then set aside to cool. Be careful not to reduce too much or this will turn into a syrup.

After 3-4, add some butter to your mushrooms and cover again, shaking to coat. If the pan seems too dry, and some more oil, or even a bit of water or stock. when done, they look like this:

To serve, place the mushrooms on the plate, then add the salmon. Spoon some gastrique on the side, and sprinkle a bit of fennel pollen on the side of the plate( you can get this from the Herbies website, but if you leave it out, its not the end of the world). I also topped the fish with a few enoki mushrooms:

Here’s the Recipe:

Salmon with Cloud Ear \"Noodles\", Fennel Pollen, and Blueberry Gastrique

Quantities for salmon and mushrooms are per person. Gastrique will make more than enough for 4 people.

Ingredients

  • 1 Wild Caught Salmon Fillet(Per Person)
  • 1/3 Cup Champagne or White Wine Vinegar
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Tbl Blueberry Preserves
  • 1 Cup Cloud Ear Fungus, thinly sliced
  • 1 Garlic Clove, smashed
  • 2 Tbl Butter
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Olive Oil for cooking
  • 1 tsp Fennel Pollen, for garnish

Cooking Directions

  1. Season salmon fillets. Add oil to a hot skillet and place fish skin side down.
  2. Cook for 5-7 minutes, pressing gently with a spatula to prevent curling.
  3. Start to carefully turn the fish, but don\'t force the fish or it sill separate from the skin.
  4. Once turned, place in a 180 degree oven for 5 more minutes.
  5. Thinly slice mushrooms. Add olive oil and garlic to a hot saucepan and add mushrooms. cover.
  6. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add butter and salt at the last minute.
  7. To make gastrique, add vinegar and sugar and reduce on low by about 1/2.
  8. In the last few minutes, add blueberry preserves. Gastrique can be made ahead.
  9. Stir and set aside(this can be kept in the fridge for a few weeks)
  10. Place mushrooms on palate, add salmon and then some gastrique on the side.
  11. Sprinkle fennel pollen over salmon.

 

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