Fresh Spice Recipe: Salmon with Cardamom Sauce
Fresh Spice Cookbook: Anglo-Indian aficionado of spice Arun Kapil shares a fresh summer fish recipe bursting with flavour.
Roast Herbed Salmon with Cardamom Sauce
I use green cardamom in this recipe to cut through the rich fish and creamy sauce, while at the same time adding a gentle perfume to brighten up the whole, delicious experience.
4 × 175g (6oz) centre-cut salmon fillets, nice and thick and evenly sized
Dijon mustard, for brushing
For the crust
A little light olive oil
40g (1½oz) shallots, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely diced
40g (1½oz) fresh breadcrumbs
15g (½oz) Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp black peppercorns, finely ground
50g (1¾oz) soft herbs, a mix of parsley, chives, dill and chervil, finely chopped
For the sauce
6 green cardamom pods
100ml (3½fl oz) double cream
200ml (7fl oz) chicken stock
50g (1¾oz) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
½ tsp white peppercorns, finely ground
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (gas mark 6). Put a little olive oil in a sauté pan over a medium heat and cook the shallots for 3 minutes or until they become translucent. Add the garlic, breadcrumbs and a little more olive oil so that the crumbs are moist but not wet. Cook gently for 2 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the heat, then tip into a bowl to cool. Add the Parmesan, 1 teaspoon of the black pepper and the herbs, and mix well.
2. Put the fish fillets on a plate, skin-side down. Season with a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon of the black pepper, brush with a little Dijon mustard, then apply the breadcrumb crust until about 5mm (1⁄4in) thick, gently pressing the edges with a palette knife so that they’re even, tidy and tight. (Any leftover herb crust can be frozen for another day.)
3. Put a sheet of greaseproof paper on a baking tray. Brush it with a little olive oil, season with sea salt and 2 teaspoons of the black pepper and put the fillets on it so that they are evenly spaced. Cook on the middle shelf of the oven for 8 minutes or until the crust is only just golden.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Gently smash four of the cardamom pods. Put the cream and smashed cardamom pods in a small pan over a medium heat and bring to a gentle bubble. Cook for 2 minutes, then take off the heat and leave to cool. Strain through a sieve. Remove the seeds from the other two pods and grind to a fine powder.
5. Pour the chicken stock into a saucepan, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer to reduce by half. Add the strained cream and bring to a simmer. Whisking constantly, add the cold butter and bring to a brisk boil. As the sauce starts to thicken, whisk in the white pepper and check the seasoning. Serve the salmon fillets on warmed plates, with the sauce drizzled around the fillets, sprinkled with the cardamom powder.
Recipe extracted from Fresh Spice by Arun Kapil (Pavilion Books, Hardback £25)