Salmon Paillard with Lemon Aïoli

A paillard is a cut of veal rather like a minute steak. The salmon for this dish is prepared in the same way, carved as thinly as possible, then flattened with a mallet between sheets of cling film. You are going to cook the salmon on plates and then drizzle the lemon and garlic sauce across the top. It is a method that uses very little fish and so makes a light, though tasty, meal when served with a tossed salad and some crusty white bread.

Traditional aïoli is a type of garlic mayonnaise made with a mortar and pestle. A liquidiser, however, will produce creditable results with less risk of the sauce curdling.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz (350 g) salmon fillet (see method)
  • 1 oz (25 g) butter, melted
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon aïoli
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh white breadcrumbs
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ tsp salt and 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 fl oz (300 ml) olive oil

Method

The lemon aïoli

  1. Blend all the ingredients except for the olive oil in a liquidiser or food processor.
  2. Pour the oil, in a trickle, into the sauce as it is blending. Add enough water – or fish stock if you have it – to thin the sauce to a pourable consistency. This will probably be about 2 tablespoons.

The salmon

  • Carve the fish fillet into long thin slices, about ¼ in (6 mm) thick, each weighing around 3 oz (75 g). If this proves difficult, cut four 3 oz (75 g) fillets and carve each fillet straight down into four or five small slices and then proceed in exactly the same way.
  • Place the fish between two sheets of cling film and tap it out, preferably with a mallet, to a thickness of 1/8 in (3 mm).
  • Brush four heat-resistant plates with melted butter. Place them under a grill until hot. Season the salmon paillards with salt and pepper then put on to the hot plates.
  • If the plates are hot enough the fish will cook with no other heat required and only need to be turned over before serving. Otherwise flash the plated salmon again under the grill for a few seconds.
  • Trickle the lemon aïoli in a zig-zag across the salmon.
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