The Essex Road recipe project is about supporting independent food retailers and food improvisation, and it’s about community and support, as the little stories which brought about this recipe illustrate beautifully.
A few weeks ago, I went to visit the lovely Nicola who has been my friend since we were 10 years old (which is, ahem, quite a long time). She and H are building an “extenshed” or a “shedroom” in the back yard.
As I left, they gave me a large and beautiful bottle of maple syrup that H had brought over from Canada, and a pack of Canadian maple cured salmon. The salmon was gone within 24 hours. But the maple syrup continued to call out to me and the flavour memory of that sweetish salmon stayed with me.
Those of you who live around here know that our local pub, the New Rose, has closed, which leaves some people at a bit of a loss for somewhere to pop out to for a chat and a bit of dinner. So, I offered to cook dinner at my neighbour’s place, and he invited some friends…
Marsey at Steve Hatt cut me 4 beautiful pieces from a large salmon fillet that he’d just brought in from the back of the shop.
And then this very simple recipe for soy/maple salmon fillets happened.
4 salmon fillets
2 tbsp Canadian maple syrup
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp grated ginger root
juice of ½ a lime
1 tsp sesame oil mixed with 1 tsp olive oil
What to do….roughly speaking
Mix the maple syrup, soy sauce and ginger in a shallow bowl big enough to place the salmon fillets side by side (see picture).
Place the salmon, skin side down, in this mix
Drizzle the lime juice over the top
Leave to sit for 1-2 hours
Heat the mixed oils in a large frying pan until smoking.
Lift the salmon fillets out of the marinade with a fish slice and place them skin side down in the very hot oil.
Move them around very gently to stop them sticking but not break them. The maple syrup mix will start to caramelise on the skin side of the fillets.
After 2 or 3 minutes, spoon the remaining marinade from the bowl into the pan – not over the top of the fish but just around the fish. After another 2 or 3 minutes turn down the heat to medium and place a lid on the pan.
After a couple more minutes, lift the lid to take a look at the fish, you’ll be able to see from the colour on the side of each fillet if it’s cooked right through. Turn off the heat as soon as the fillets are just cooked, and leave the lid on for a few more minutes before serving.
Lift the fish out gently with your fish slice. There should be some sweet/salty goo on the bottom of each one which is what makes it all so delicious.
We ate this with baked potatoes, green beans and salad…and a lot of laughs, and the obligatory singing by Rob I of “Some Enchanted Evening”…
“Salmonchanted evening”. Geddit?