I have a confession to make: I've never really liked salmon. Try as I might, I just never seemed to be able to get along with the slimey and sometimes fatty ray-finned fish. With a lazy Sunday to kill, I resolved to give salmon one more chance, and because beer improves pretty much every meal, I decided to cook it in a saison sauce.
Once again I am indebted to the fantastic Mark Dredge for this recipe, which was heavily inspired by the version which appears in his excellent book, Cooking With Beer. The only major differences were that I used fresh coriander instead of the ground variety, and that I included some lime in the saison sauce and salad (mainly due to a lack of lemons). I cooked the salmon in Saison 17, a peppery and slightly spicy saison from Ridgeside Brewing Co in Leeds, and ate it with none other than the legendary Saison Dupont; a beer fit for any meal.
I'm pleased to report that the recipe was an overwhelming success, and that I am now officially a salmon convert. The light and citrusy sauce really lifts the salmon, whilst the dry Saison Dupont cuts through the fish, stripping away any of the unwanted fatty texture. However, the jury remains out on the beet and dill salad. The flavours are good, with lots of aniseed coming from the dill, but I think I'd have enjoyed it more with a fat bowl of chips to be perfectly honest. At least my waistline will thank me...
For the saison salmon
2 Garlic cloves
25g fresh dill
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
1 tablespoon honey
3 salmon fillets
1 lemon (half sliced, half juiced)
1/2 lime (juiced)
Salt and black pepper
Flatbreads (to serve)
For the beet and dill salad
75g cream cheese
75g creamed goats cheese
1/2 lime (juiced)
3 tablespoons saison
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Fresh (or ground) coriander
250g cooked beetroots, chopped into 1cm cubes
Salt and pepper
25 toasted hazelnuts, roughly crushed (to serve)
1) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius
2) Combine all the ingredients, apart from the salmon and lemon slices, in a deep roasting pan.
3) Season the salmon fillet skins and place skin-side up in the roasting pan. Arrange the lemon slices around the fillets and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. When cooked, drizzle some of the liquid/sauce over the salmon before serving
4) To make the beetroot and dill salad, mix all the ingredients into a bowl apart from the beets and hazelnuts. When combined, add the beets and stir into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
5) Serve the salmon with the salad and flatbreads, sprinkling over more fresh dill and the toasted hazelnuts.