The inspiration to have a go at making confit of salmon came from Tried and Supplied founder, Domini Hogg, who had attended last year’s AA Hospitality Awards.
In charge of the cooking for a thousand of his industry colleagues was John Williams, Executive Chef of The Ritz, and winner of the previous year’s AA Chefs’ Chef awards.
Domini was raving in particular about his first course – a confit of chalk stream trout. Not everyone is lucky enough to have access to chalk stream trout, but everyone can get hold of salmon fillets.
The confit process (see the post, How to Confit Duck, Chicken…Anything) does make the salmon unbelievably tender. And you can, of course, confit cod in a very similar way very successfully.
Domini gave the Saucy Dressings approach the thumbs up.
Williams served this soft, tender, flavourful fish with an avocado and citrus salad (any lemony, citrusy salad would do – something to cut through the richness of the fish).
The lucky diners washed it down with a Vermentino di Sardegna, La Cala, Stella and Mosca 2017.
You can find more of John Williams’ recipes in his book: The Ritz London: The Cookbook.
Recipe for Hospitality Awards confit of salmon
- 3 x 200g pieces of salmon fillet – fine with skin if that is how they come. Take the skin off if it’s easy.
- 2 tbsps caster sugar
- 4 tbsps coarse sea salt
- pinch of Urfa pepper
- 400ml/1⅔ cups olive oil
- Cut each piece of salmon in two along a natural seam.
2. Mix the sugar, salt and Urfa pepper flakes together.
3. Pat the fish dry with kitchen paper.
4. Cover with the salt mix, and put in the fridge for a couple of hours.
5. Rinse the fish, dry again, and leave for a quarter of an hour.
6. Pour the oil into a small high-sided frying pan which is just large enough to accommodate the pieces of fish snugly. You want to bring it to the temperature of a very hot bath – about 40ºC – hot to the touch (for heaven’s sake be sensible about this and do not fry your finger!).
7. Carefully lower the fish pieces (skinside down if the skin remains) into the oil, it should just cover them. You may need to press the fish pieces down with a fish slice. Make sure they are all in one layer – each piece of fish needs the heat that comes from the base of the pan.
8. Try to maintain this temperature – have it on the lowest setting (or maybe a ‘2’ – depends on your hob). The idea is not to cook the fish – remember you are confiting – the colour should not change and it should not turn opaque, but it will acquire a sort of waxy look. This will take about twenty minutes.
9. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with a zingy, limey salad.
For a great zingy, limey salad, try the Saucy Dressings’ titanic salad.