I am a big fan of raw fish, either under the form of a carpaccio, ceviche or sushi. My first choice would go for a thinly cut fish, hence I have a stronger liking for carpaccio. The first seafood carpaccio I made was on Christmas a few years ago, when I had bought fresh scallops with shells. I remember the special order I had got in the trouble of placing because most of the time in the US, you just buy the scallops without shells or coral. I remember the look on the fishmonger’s face when I asked for scallops in the shells. I could read “Ugh? What for?” The truth is that I wanted the guarantee of freshness and was also hoping to find my missed scallop coral. I wanted to see orange in there. And therefore, opening those shells was just like opening a Kinder surprise. As it turned out, little coral was to found. No sign of the nice deep orange coral that I was expecting. My scallop carpaccio did not require any coral after all. But I still missed finding scallop coral in the shells. I should have returned them, don’t you think? [smile]
Amongst my many cookbooks, I have already talked about my recipe categorizing technique, which consists in placing strategic post-its that stick out and serve as gentle reminders of recipes from my to-cook wishlist. Sometimes those sticky notes stay there for months, and even get yellow from old age. They do! A new era has been reached however. And the reason is my food blog. Since I started blogging, not only did I start (or resume according to P.) a cookbook buying frenzy, but I also grew a cooking boost that does not seem to see or reach a close end. Do you think this is a disease? I so much want to cook all the time. I have such a strong desire to cook that I wish I could have friends over every night. And so as I was flipping through the pages of a favorite cookbook, I stopped on a sticky note and Aha! Time to make this recipe that I had fallen in love with and bookmarked since my return from New Zealand in February. I would not let this sticky note turn yellow. It was pretty easy for this dish to seduce me. Fresh like the summer I had just left behind, lemon as I adore all zesty things, and it both featured fennel and fresh raw salmon, a combination of refreshing colours to make a fresh appetizer.
Fresh is the cookbook that it is coming from. Fresh, fresh, fresh. I would be willing to tell you a joke but I would be one of the few people to understand it. Let’s just say that whenever I utter the word “fresh“, I have to smile. It reminds me of my dear kiwi friend Sandra who has a thing about using the word fresh like we breathe air. Sandra, Keith, P, you all know what I mean. Sandra loves fresh salads, fresh fruit, fresh fish, fresh fresh fresh! And don’t we love when we hear Sandra say with her cute kiwi accent: “Fantastic! I would like a fresh salad!” (imagine the kiwi vowels on the word fantastic and fresh if you can). If anyone ever meets Sandra (which is likely if you go to Wellington in New Zealand, you know, because of the 2 degree separation that exists down there), you will love to hear her speak freshly.
I am happy to introduce you to a simple Fennel Salmon Carpaccio.
- 1 small fennel bulb and its green
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp finely chopped mint
- 1 tsp finely chopped dill (I use the green from the fennel bulb)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 300 g (11 oz) sashimi salmon, skinned and boned
- small capers
- Olive oil
- Wash the fennel and remove the green feathery parts.
- Slice the bulb paper thin. You might need the help of your mandoline if you think you cannot slice super thinly.
- Chop the feathery parts of the fennel green, the mint and dill.
- Squeeze the juice of the lemon.
- Mix together the sea salt, the chopped herbs, the sugar and lemon juice and pour over the fennel slices.
- Mix well. Cover and place in the fridge for a min of 1 hour (I went with 2 hours).
- Wrap your fish in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer for 30 mns so that it is easier to slice it. The flesh gets firmer.
- Take it out and slice it paper-thinly.
- Take appetizer plates and arrange a layer of salmon on top.
- Top with the fennel slices and then pour a dash of olive oil on each plate.
- Add the capers and decorate with a few sprigs of feathery fennel greens.
- Serve immediately because the lemon juice cooks the fish quickly.
Fresh appetizer. To you Sandra!
- 1 petit fenouil avec ses feuilles
- 1/2 càc de sel de mer
- 1 càc de menthe fraîche ciselée
- 1 càc d’aneth ciselée + le vert du fenouil
- 1 càc de sucre
- Jus d’1 citron
- 300 g de saumon sashimi, sans arêtes ni peau
- Huile d’olive
- Lavez le fenouil et ne gardez que la bulbe et les petites feuilles vertes.
- Coupez la bulbe en tranches très fines, de l’épaisseur d’une feuille de papier. Utilisez une mandoline si vous en avez une.
- Ciselez la menthe, l’aneth et le vert du fenouil très finement.
- Pressez le jus du ciron.
- Mélangez le sel de mer, les herbes, le sucre et le jus de citron, et dans un bol, recouvrez-en le fenouil.
- Mélangez bien, couvrez et mettez le fenouil au réfrigidaire pendant une heure min. (je l’ ai laissé 2 heures).
- Emballez votre poisson dans du film plastique et mettez le au congélateur pendant 30 mns, de manière à raffermir la chair pour mieux découper le poisson.
- Sortez-le et coupez-le en tranches très fines, de l’épaisseur d’une feuille de papier.
- Sur des assiettes, arrangez une couche de saumon.
- Placez le fenouil au-dessus et arrosez d’huile d’olive.
- Décorez avec des câpres et un peu plus de vert du fenouil.
- Servez immédiatement car le jus de citron cuit le poisson rapidement.