I hope you enjoy the food!!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Salmon with Mushroom and Fennel Ragout

Since reading The Salt Book I have been much more aware of how, and with what type of salt, I salt my food.  I have in my possession a small amount of Fleur de Sel, and have been anxious to try it out to see if it is the miraculous seasoning it is claimed to be.  I gave it a road test on two totally different dishes this weekend.

The first road test was the humble boiled egg.  Now I am not usually a big fan of the boiled egg - I like my eggs poached in salty, vinegary water (no glad wrap pouch for poaching for this girl!!)  Actually this was a double test - they had been banging on at Thermomix training about making boiled eggs in the Thermomix.  They kept going on about how wonderful they were - they were virtually steamed eggs - the yolks were perfectly centred, yadayadayada!!  OK let's test this out.  Yes, they were good - yes the yolks were perfectly centred - but they did not sing in my humble opinion until I added the Fleur de Sel.  It made the humble boiled egg a delightful, rich yolky wonder!!!

Now the second test was on the salmon dish that I made for dinner.

Whenever I see a beautiful photo of a salmon dish I just have to give it a try.  This was a Curtis Stone recipe, and he didn't steer me wrong with the last seafood dish of his that I tried.  This meal was though, perhaps a little bit of a let down compared to that last one.  It was lacking in those oopmhy flavours that the last one had - but even so, it was a lovely winter's night meal.  Kind of soupy, yet the salmon gave it a main meal feel.

As I have learned reading The Salt Book, you should layer your salting, tasting after each addition.  I layered the salt within the ragout, and achieved a good flavour.  I salted the piece of salmon with the Fleur de Sel and freshly ground black pepper.  It all came together really nicely, however, when I added the Fleur de Sel to the meal at the table the salt seemed to make the meal sing!!!  It somehow brought out a subtle sweetness in the sauce, so there was a lovely combination of salt, but yet with a very subtle undertone of sweetness.

Salmon with Mushroom and Fennel Ragout
A Curtis Stone Recipe in MasterChef Magazine, July Edition

Serves 4

4 x 180g pieces of salmon (I used tail pieces, but if not make sure they are pin boned)
1 tbs olive oil

Vegetable Ragout
500ml (2 cups) milk
30g butter
1 tbs flour
1 tbs chopped thyme
60ml olive oil
250g swiss brown mushrooms, halved, or quartered if large
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 potato, peeled, cut into 1cm cubes (I was feeling lazy and used new potatoes, and did not skin)
2 leeks, white part only, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 bulb fennel, trimmed, finely chopped, fronds reserved
2 cloves garlic, crushed
125ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine

To make the sauce for the ragout heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until warm, then remove from heat.  Melt butter in second saucepan over low-medium heat.  Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, or until grainy.  Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth, then increase heat to medium high, and simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon until thickened. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring for 4 minutes to cook out the taste of the flour.  Add the thyme and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Remove from heat and cover surface with plastic wrap. *

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.  To make ragout, heat 1 tbs oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms and cook, stirring , for 5 minutes or until golden.  Season and transfer to a plate.  Heat remaining 2 tbs oil in pan, add onion and potato, and cook, stirring for 1 minute.  Add leeks, celery, fennel and garlic, then cook, stirring for a further 5 minutes, or until the potato is almost tender.  Return the mushrooms to the pan, stir in the wine and simmer  for 2 minutes or until almost evaporated.  Stir in the white sauce to coat the vegetables.  Remove from the heat and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Cover to keep warm.

To cook the salmon, heat the oil in an ovenproof frying pan over medium heat. **  Season the salmon with Fleur de Sel and freshly ground black pepper, then cook, skinned side up for 2 minutes or until the underside is light golden.  Turn the salmon over, then transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 6 minutes, or until the salmon is just cooked.

Divide the ragout among the bowls, top with the salmon and scatter with the fennel fronds.  Season to taste with Fleur de Sel salt.

*  I prepared the white sauce using the Thermomix using the Bechamel sauce recipe, but halving the recipe and the cooking time.

** I lined a baking tray with foil and transferred the salmon to the baking tray (this helped considerably with the cleaning up!!)

This was a lovely warming winter meal.  It reminded me a little of a soup, it was creamy, and very warming. The flavours were great, added greatly to by the addition of the Fleur de Sel.

I highly recommend you trying some of the more "exotic" salts that are out there on the market.  They certainly add a new element to your dish.  Yes, they are more expensive, but the amount you add to your dish is so minimal, that they will last a lot longer than regular "table salt".

I say ditch your table salt usage, and experiment.  I also strongly recommend researching, and becoming more aware of how you use, and what type of salt you use.  Of course The Salt Book is a wonderful resource tool.


  1. I must go and get some salmon, my husband arrives next week and this sounds delicious. Diane

  2. Sound delicious, I love Salmon and this time of year soupy styles are food are just perfect.

  3. this looks delicious, i think my family would love it.


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