Warm, soft potato slices melt in olive oil, crispy skinned salmon sits on fresh leaves wearing a mint and lemony dressing.
An extravagant dish, but worth every penny. You could flavour the oil with whole garlic cloves, strip of lemon zest, thyme, rosemary or sage sprigs. A good accompaniment to roasted or barbecued fish. And of course the oil can be kept for more cooking later. This is a version from my book Potatoes – From Gnocchi to Mash, (Ryland Peter’s and Small)
For the Potatoes
1 litre good quality extra virgin olive oil
750 g medium potatoes
4 x 200-250 g salmon fillet pieces
For the Salsa
small bunch fresh mint, finely chopped
smaller bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
finely grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
125 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
good pinch of sugar
tiny pinch dried chilli flakes
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
To serve, chicory, watercress, roquette or other salad leaves
Slice the peeled potatoes into 5 mm / 1/4 inch even slices. Pour the oil into a saucepan, add the potato slices, bring to a very slow boil, when only tiny bubbles of oil rise to the surface reduce the heat to very low and cook for about 10 minutes. Easy does it!
The potatoes are cooked when tested with the tip of a knife and they are still very slightly firm in the centre. This is a crucial stage as the potatoes will continue to cook when removed from the heat, if over cooked the result will be a very oily mush! Remove from the heat but keep warm until needed. Preheat oven, 200 C / 400 F / Gas 7. Mix all the ingredients for the salsa together, taste for seasoning and set aside.
Scoop out a tablespoon of the oil from the potatoes and heat in a large ovenproof frying pan over a moderate heat. Season the salmon fillets on both sides and place in the pan, skin side down first and cook for 2-3 minutes until the skin is getting crispy. Transfer the pan to oven and cook for about 2 more minutes or until just cooked. Remove and keep warm.
Carefully scoop out the potato slices with a slotted metal spoon, draining any residual oil back into the pan. (The oil can be used again, leave to cool and then strain through a coffee filter, single layer of kitchen paper or 2 layers of muslin. Do not push it through but allow the oil to drain through gradually.)
Divide the potato slices between 4 plates. Arrange some leaves in the middle of the plate and place a salmon fillet on top. Spoon over a little salsa to serve.