This salmon dish would be a perfect accompaniment to a gin and tonic
Twelve years ago, I started professional life at UBS in London. I often worked past midnight, took a cab home and had a beer before bed. My mind was whirring from the novelty of adapting from academia to the world of finance.
Now, I work as a chef, often work past midnight and have a beer before I go to bed. No more cabs on account. I can’t go straight to sleep — I am full of the adrenaline of service and my mind remains busy analyzing how dishes could be improved.
Last night, I teamed up with Brock Bergius of York House, the boutique B&B in Tetbury and cooked a Japanese tasting menu paired with Italian, German, Spanish, Argentinian and French wines.
I’m pleased that every single plate came back clean last night — all the more satisfying given the guests did not see the menu until they sat down. Nevertheless, after service, I am constantly considering how each dish could be improved: an extra element, one less element, an additional process or technique to improve the recipe, different presentation.
The sashimi course was paired with a dry Riesling, which often accompanies spicier Asian food well. This salmon sashimi dish makes a nice light starter for a summer menu and can be paired with gin because of the refreshing, aromatic heat of the accompaniments.
I buy Var salmon from the Faroe islands and fresh wasabi from the Wasabi Company in Dorset. It is well worth trying fresh wasabi, not just to see what it looks like, but to experience the difference. It is less nasally searing, more perfumed, sweeter and with an addictive heat at the end.
Salmon sashimi with cucumber, daikon, wasabi and fennel fronds
500g of sashimi-grade salmon, filleted, pin-boned and skinned
30ml Japanese soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Japanese white vinegar
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp fresh ginger, grated on a microplane
Zest of ½ lemon
A few drops of sesame oil
Some fennel fronds
50g of fresh wasabi, freshly grated
Trim the salmon and cut into slices. Arrange on the plate and brush lightly with soy sauce using a pastry brush.
Peel the end of the daikon and cut a few thin slices (preferably on a mandolin). Dress simply with rice vinegar and soy sauce.
Make the cucumber salad. Slice the cucumber into strips about 3-4mm thick, remove the seeds then cut it into batons and finally into small dice. Dress it with Japanese white vinegar, sugar, ginger, lemon zest, sesame oil and a dash of soy sauce. Garnish with freshly picked fennel fronds and, at the last moment, add a little freshly grated wasabi.
Visit kojcooks.co.uk for recipes and adventures in cooking.
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