Here’s a satisfying salmon, prepared the Scottish way
JULIAN ARMSTRONG POSTMEDIA NEWS
Touring Scotland and admiring flocks of sheep on hill and dale, I anticipated feasts of lamb. Instead, our inns and restaurants offered salmon, with lamb an also-ran. The Scots are skilled in aquaculture, so mussels are a basic ingredient, says Gary Maclean, named national chef of Scotland. Steamed mussels are the best-selling dish at his Edinburgh restaurant Creel Caught, he writes in an outstanding cookbook called The Scottish Kitchen (Appetite by Random House, $37.50). It’s a collection of more than 100 recipes — traditional family dishes and the latest chef creations. The chef calls them “timeless, traditional and contemporary.” The book’s recipes are lusty as well as light, from Wild Rabbit Stew to Tatties, Haggis (10 variations) to Partan Bree, Buttered Kale to Black Pudding and raspberry heather-honey sorbet. The chef’s stories accompanying each dish add flavour to a fine book, and the recipes are beautifully photographed by Susie Lowe, who also includes vistas of the Scottish countryside. One caution: the chef warns his oven temperatures in recipes are “fan-assisted,” so increase oven temperatures on a regular oven by 10 per cent. Seared Fillet of Salmon Serves 4 3 medium new potatoes (10 ounces/300 g) 4 green onions, finely shredded Bunch of dill, chopped 1/2 medium cucumber, finely chopped 7 tablespoons (100 mL) crème fraîche Olive or canola oil 4 fillets (4 ounces/125 g each) salmon Butter Salt Freshly ground pepper 1 lemon 1/4 cup (60 mL/40 g) capers Boil potatoes in salted water just until tender; drain and let cool. Slice potatoes and place in a bowl. Add onions, dill and cucumber. Stir in crème fraîche. Heat a large, non-stick frying pan or heavy cast-iron frying pan over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon (5 mL) oil and sear salmon on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes a side. Add 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of butter to the pan and use it to baste salmon. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer salmon to a platter and keep warm. Continue to cook butter in pan until it begins to brown. Remove from heat and squeeze with the juice of half the lemon. Add capers. Divide potato salad between four serving plates, add salmon, top with the butter and capers and add a drizzle of oil (optional). Serve with a wedge of lemon.