Friday 7 October 2011

Recipe: Salmon Carpaccio

I'm slightly out of time on this one, as it's been a new favourite starter during the hot summer months, and today appears to be the first day of autumn. The temperature has dropped dramatically, and for the first time since May, the doors and windows are closed, and we took morning coffee indoors. The promised rain has yet to materialise, though (annoyingly, since we haven't seen a drop in almost three weeks, and had another dry period before that of over a month), and this morning's heavy sky has given way instead to blustery sunshine.

Anyway....salmon carpaccio. In fact a second cousin to both ceviche and gravadlax, but not very close to either, I've come across versions of this recipe in both Anna del Conte and in Harry's Bar, in Venice. My version is closer to Anna del Conte. The trick to slicing the salmon is to leave it in the freezer for an hour or so beforehand, so the slices can be wafer-thin but without falling to pieces - and, in fact, I use a salami slicer when doing this, but a decently sharp long-bladed knife ought to be just as effective.

The way the textures and flavours in this dish complement and work against each other is first class. And, in practice, I'm sure will be just as delicious served against the background noise of autumn storms, with the shutters firmly closed, as it was when dining al fresco, under the stars.

For two:

Ingredients: 2 Salmon Fillets, each approximately 200g; 2 tbs Olive Oil; the juice of 2 large Lemons; 4 fl oz Single Cream; Salt & Pepper; Cayenne Pepper; 1 small Fennel bulb.


1. Slice the Salmon fillets as finely as possible, and arrange in a single layer to cover two dinner plates. Drizzle each plate with a tablespoon of Olive Oil, and divide between the two plates the juice from one of the Lemons. Season with Salt & Peper, then cover each plate with clingfilm, and refrigerate for three hours or so.

2. About an hour befores serving, mix the cream with the remaining Lemon juice, and add Cayenne Pepper to taste. Take the plates from the fridge, remove the clingfilm, and divide the cream and lemon mixture between the two plates, in a layer that should pretty much cover the salmon slices. Don't refrigerate again, but leave the salmon to get back up to room temperature.

3. Finely dice the Fennel, and just before serving, sprinkle it over the top of each plate.