Tag: salmon

Blackened salmon revisited

One of my first posts was blackened salmon in a mango sauce with pumpkin and sweet potato, a recipe making good use of some great fall vegetables. Today, I’m making blackened salmon again but this time it’s summer-style. The mango sauce has been restyled to a slightly spicy salsa version with fresh coriander, and as accompaniment I picked some lovely Ratte potatoes, currently available. I also added some A. Vogel Herbamare salt to my spice mixture, a natural sea salt that includes herbs and vegetables (you can find it here). My grandmother used to sell it in her natural foods shop and always had it at home, which makes for some nice memories. The balance between fresh coriander, spicy peppers, the full taste of fresh salmon and sweet mango is absolutely great and makes for a wonderful summer combination, so enjoy!


Ingredients (serves two):

4 salmon steaks, 150-200 grams each
spice mixture including black and white pepper, A. Vogel Herbamare salt, paprika powder, thyme, basil, rosemary, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, ground dry chili flakes or chili powder, cayenne pepper, allspice (just pick your favorites from the list…)
a small chunk of butter
one or two great ripe mangoes, cubed
juice of one lime, to taste
a small handful of chopped coriander (varies according to taste)
one finely chopped yellow or red pepper, or ground chili flakes/a pinch of spicy chili powder
250 grams of Ratte potatoes (or another tasty firm potato)
olive oil
spice mixture including chili, basil, rosemary, salt, pepper…

How to:

Cook the potatoes in salted water until tender but still firm. Drain, cut into smaller chunks and let them cool down. Combine the mango cubes with the lime juice, coriander, and chopped chili pepper or chili powder. Let this mixture sit for at least half an hour. Prepare a spice mixture for the salmon – mine is usually based on a larger ratio of pepper, salt, paprika, thyme, cumin, etc. with smaller quantities of the spicier stuff.

When the potatoes are cold, heat up some olive oil in a large heavy skillet and add the potatoes. Sprinkle with dried herbs and spices to taste and bake until the potatoes have a golden crust. Meanwhile, heat up another heavy skillet and let a bit of butter melt at low temperature. Sweep the salmon steaks through the butter and then through the spice mix. Turn up the heat, add a little more butter, and bake the salmon to taste – a few minutes on each side if you like it juicy and rosy inside, or longer if you like it more ‘well done’. Arrange the salmon, mango salsa and potatoes on a plate, decorate with a coriander leaf and enjoy!

Poached salmon and potato salad with creamy watercress sauce

Such a terribly Belgian summer we’re having! Lots of rain and dark clouds give the impression of a gloomy fall day and make you want to sink into the sofa with a big mug of hot chocolate. Fortunately, there’s this salmon-potato salad which gives the summery feeling back, if only for a moment. The recipe is out of delicious. magazine. I tweaked it a little as usual, replacing the ingredients I didn’t have available with something else from the pantry and cheating with some fantastic ready-made vinaigrette. Go and pretend it’s summer with this wonderful warm salad, great for lunch or dinner!

Ingredients for 2-3 servings, in order of appearance:

500 grams of new tasty potatoes, cleaned but not peeled
one organic lemon, cut in half
two laurel leaves
A few parsley stems
one shallot, sliced in half (scallions in the original recipe)
6 black peppercorns, crushed with the side of a large knife
half a cube of fish/vegetable stock
300 grams of fresh salmon (count 150-200 grams per person)
3 tablespoons of Oil and Vinegar’s Marc de Champagne dressing (or your own honey-mustard dressing, or a basic vinaigrette, whatever you like to use for the potato salad…)
one shallot, finely chopped
one garlic clove, finely chopped (leave this out if you don’t like smelling of garlic)
60 grams of watercress
2 tablespoons of good mayonaise
3 tablespoons of ricotta (the original recipe calls for crème fraîche)
juice of half a lemon
a handful of fresh parsley and mint
pepper and salt

How to:

Clean the potatoes, cut them in  large chunks and boil them in salted water until done but with bite. Drain them, then let them steam for a few minutes in the pot (be careful that they don’t burn, shake every now and then). Cut the potatoes into salad size-chunks and mix with the dressing, shallot and garlic. Meanwhile, put the lemon, laurel,  parsley, peppercorns, shallot and stock in a large saucepan with one liter of water. Bring to a boil, then take off the fire, add the salmon and let it poach for 8-12 minutes (depending on how well done you like your salmon). Take it out of the liquid with a slotted spoon and let it drain.

Chop the watercress coarsely, and mix with the ricotta, mayonaise and lemon juice using a hand mixer or blender. Add lemon juice, pepper and salt to taste. Tear the salmon into chunks with your hands, then carefully mix with the warm potatoes. Top with fresh parsley and mint and serve with the watercress sauce. Enjoy!


Salmon with ricotta, dried tomatoes and tarragon en papillote

I made this for New Year’s Eve dinner and can’t say my guests were complaining. It’s actually really easy, the hardest part is taking the salmon out of the oven in time – this takes a bit of practice but also depends on the size of the salmon. Try it for a dinner with guests or just for yourself, it’s really yummy.

Ingredients for 4-6 servings

1 or 2 salmon filets (at least 2 cm thick), in total about 1 kg (you can use frozen and thawed salmon but fresh is better)
4 tablespoons of sundried tomato tapenade or red pesto (try to use good quality – I use Père Olive, for the tapenade and sundried tomatoes)
200 grams of ricotta
several sprigs of fresh tarragon
8 to 10 sundried  tomatoes
olive oil
freshly ground salt and pepper
kitchen string (use good kitchen string, remember Bridget Diary’s blue soup!)
parchment paper

Heat the oven to 210 degrees Celsius. If the salmon has skin, remove this gently by pulling it away using a knife (I actually left part of the skin on for the bottom part, this works fine). Depending on the size of your filet piece, either cut it lengthwise or in half, so that you get two solid and equally large parts. Remove fishbones with a pincet.  Coat one side of each salmon piece with the tomato tapenade (if you kept skin on, don’t coat the skin side!).

Keep a few sprigs of tarragon apart, mix the rest of the leaves (without the harder parts) with the ricotta, season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover the first piece of salmon (if you have skin, it should be on the bottom) with the ricotta mixture and the sundried tomatoes. Put the second piece of salmon on top, so that the ‘head’ and ‘tail’ pieces of the filet are on opposite sides and the ‘prettiest’ part on top. Add the extra tarragon. Now, cut a few pieces of string and carefully tie the salmon and its contents as on the picture (2-4 times, depending on the size of the salmon).

Take a large piece of parchment paper and grease with a bit of olive oil. Put the fish roll on top. Fold the papillote around the salmon (roll it carefully around) and fold closed as tightly as possible. I used some extra string to secure the package. Put it in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes – if you’re not sure whether it’s ready, take it out of the oven at 20 minutes and check whether the salmon is done, you can close the parchment paper again. My tip: don’t let the salmon bake completely through – take it out when the inside of the fish meat is still a bit darker and looking ‘wet’, it will continue to bake a little out of the oven. If you wait until it’s completely done, the salmon can become somewhat too dry. Enjoy!


Fall menu: Blackened salmon with pumpkin fries and mango sauce

I love salmon. Smoked, poached, baked, grilled, in papillotte…  I wouldn’t know which way to choose. And while preparing salmon is pretty easy, it’s not always easy to decide what to serve it with. That’s my experience, at least. Sure, I love smoked salmon quiche with broccoli and goat cheese, and there’s plenty of classical salmon recipes, but every once in a while, we want something different, no? So I revisited one of my favorite ways to prepare salmon, which is blackened salmon. It’s a recipe that originated in Cajun cooking, in which the salmon is rubbed in a thick layer of spices and then baked, creating a ‘blackened’ spicy crust. Mmmm, I could hardly wait for dinner time once I decided I would make this.

But what to serve with it? There’s the problem. I once ate blackened tuna with mango sauce in Cactus Taverna, a great restaurant in Salisbury. But good fresh tuna is hard and expensive to find in Belgium, and I try to avoid tuna since it’s going extinct due to overfishing.  I decided to go for blackened salmon with mango sauce, and be bold and try out pumpkin and sweet potato as vegetable sides to balance the spicyness. Exciting! As it was kind of an experiment, I looked up a few ways to make blackened tuna, mango sauce and sweet potato baked fries on Tastespotting (always a great source of inspiration, if just for the wonderful pictures).

The result was delicious. There’s the spicy, slightly crunchy salmon, balanced by the sweet and mild mango. The earthy but flavorful pumpkin and sweet potato chips, also slightly spicy, make for a great balance. I have yet to perfect an elegant way to serve the plate, but the taste was surprisingly complementary. Do try at home!

Blackened salmon spices
Making the mango sauce


Fall vegetables
Pumpkin and sweet potato fries


Coating the salmon with spices
Baking the blackened salmon












The result: blackened salmon with pumpkin fries and mango sauce


Recipe for four people:

For the blackened salmon:

-four pieces of fresh salmon, preferably bio/organic

-spices: black and white pepper, salt, paprika, thyme, basil, rosemary, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, ground dry chili flakes or spicy chily powder, cayenne pepper (you’re free to improvise according to your own pantry here)


For the mango sauce:

-Two very ripe mangos

-Juice of one lime

For the pumpkin and sweet potato fries:

-Half of a small, flavorful pumpkin (I used a chestnut pumpkin)

-2-3 sweet potatoes (I actually didn’t have real sweet potatoes but some kind of in-between Turkish long potato I picked up at the local store)

-olive oil

-salt and pepper, dried herbs such as thyme, rosemary, basil, some spicy chili powder

Start cooking!

Start with the pumpkin and sweet potato as they will take the longest. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (about 400 F). Peel the pumpkin and potatoes and cut into long fry-shaped wedges. Put them on a metal oven-proof platter covered with a sheet of parchment paper. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and spices, toss carefully so everything is covered. Put in the oven and let bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the fries are soft but still have bite (this depends on the kind of vegetables, your oven…)

While the vegetables are in the oven, start with the mango sauce. Peel the mangoes and cut them into cubes. Put in a mixer bowl with the freshly squeezed lime juice. Mix until you have a thick, fluid sauce. Keep the sauce ready in a saucepan to heat before you’re serving.

Cut the salmon into the desired amount of pieces if necessary. Mix all the spices. I don’t use an exact formula but I tend to start with the first listed in the largest quantities, then move down to smaller quantities, depending on how spicy you like the crust to be. When the mixture is ready, heat up a pan (a grill pan is also possible, try to use one that conducts heat well, like a cast iron) and let some of the butter melt at a low temperature. Take the salmon and sweep it through the butter on both sides, then through the spice mixture.  Put a little more butter into the pan (you don’t need to smother the salmon, just so the crust won’t burn) and heat it up. When the butter is hot and melted, put the wedges of salmon into the pan and bake on both sides until the insides are done (not overdone, it really is a shame to ruin salmon by letting it get too dry, so check regularly on the inside of it’s still rosy).

Put the salmon on a (warm) plate, arrange the fries around it or underneath and top with some hot mango sauce. Yum!