600 g salmon fillet (skinned) (allow 150g per person)
2 fennel bulb
200 ml sour cream
50 g chopped dill
50 g chopped chives
200 ml olive oil
1 tsp french mustard
1 tsp honey
finely chopped shallot
200 g cress leaves or mesculin lettuce
beaten egg white
sheets of parchment paper
a bowl of iced water
For the Salmon:
As with buying all fish, it is important that you choose a firm fresh piece of fish. For this dish ask your fishmonger to remove the skin. To prepare the fish for cooking, cut it into square inch pieces and place it in a bowl.
Now add about 50ml of the olive oil to the salmon and turn the salmon with a spoon to ensure each piece gets a light coating of the oil. This will ensure the salmon doesn’t stick together when steaming.
Now add the chopped dill, a little squeeze of lemon and a little seasoning to the salmon and again ensure it is mixed well.
Cut the parchment paper into a large circle and brush all the way around the edge with the egg white. This will ensure a good seal on the bag when cooking.
Fold the paper in half and make a crease in the paper. Open the paper again and place the salmon pieces in the centre of one half of the paper.
Spread the salmon as much as possible in that half of the circle while leaving enough space to seal the edges.
Close over the paper on top of the salmon and begin making little folds in the paper all the way around were the two pieces of paper meet, folding one fold on top of the other. This is to ensure the paper bag is sealed and will not allow any steam to escape while cooking.
You can now place the bag in the fridge until you are ready to cook and serve it. It will be fine in the fridge for up to 4 hours, but any longer and the lemon will begin to cure the salmon.
Once you are ready to cook the salmon place it in a pre-heated oven at 190°C for 8 minutes.
Once the time is up, remove from the oven and allow to stand for a further 3-4 minutes so the salmon soaks up the juices in the bag.
For the Fennel:
Remove any brown outer leaves and trim any brown from the stalks.
Slice the fennel bulb in half, cutting down the centre of the bulb from top to bottom. You should now be able to see the heart or core of the bulb in the centre of each half. Remove this with a sharp knife.
Finely slice the fennel using either a very sharp knife or, preferably, a mandolin slice. What you want is very thin, almost see-through slices.
Now place the fennel in the bowl of iced water and allow to stand for about 20 minutes. This will soften and remove the acidity from the fennel. Once you have done this, remove the fennel from the water and pat dry on some kitchen towel.
Now prepare the salad dressing in a bowl.
Add the honey, mustard and the remaining juice from the lemon and whisk well. To this add the olive oil, whisking all the time. Add a little salt and pepper.
Don’t worry if the dressing split (the oil separates from the lemon) the flavor is the most important thing!
Place the fennel slices into a bowl and add the dressing along with the salad leaves. But remember: it is a fennel salad, so not too many lettuce leaves!
For the Avocado puree, begin by peeling and removing the stone. Roughly chop the avocado in small pieces and place in the food processor along with the sour cream. Blend until a smooth paste is achieved.
Simply place a good hand full of the salad mix to one side of the plate.
On the opposite side smear about 2 teaspoons of the avocado puree.
Now open the bag of salmon and place the pieces of warm salmon around each plate and drizzle a little of any remaining dressing over it.
A good idea to serve this dish is to bring all the plates with the salad and avocado on them to the table first.
Then bring the bag of salmon and open at the table, the steam will come out of the bag giving a sense of anticipation to your guests and of course the aroma.