Salad of Slow-Cooked Salmon with Sweet-and-Sour Young Onions

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Micro cress salad or micro greens are grown like mustard and cress and harvested when the seeds have sprouted and formed their first leaves. The tender seedlings have intense flavours. We get them from Secretts Farm in Surrey, where they call them ‘baby leaves’. They grow a range that includes wild rocket, Italian red dandelion, red amaranth, golden mustard, ruby chard, red mustard, sorrel, red orach, tatsoi, golden purslane, fine cress and mizuna. They even sell pots of growing mixed leaves by mail order.

Ingredients

  • 1 fillet of salmon, about 1 kg, skinned and any pin bones removed
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • sprig of thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • Splash of white wine or vermouth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 young Sweet Gem lettuces, separated into leaves
  • Micro cress salad, to serve
  • Good crusty bread, to serve

For the Sweet-and-Sour Young Onions

  • 50 g butter
  • 300 g young onions or shallots, peeled but root left attached
  • 100 ml good-quality white wine vinegar (we use Forum Chardonnay vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas 2.

First prepare the sweet-and-sour young onions: in a heavy-based pan, melt the butter, add the onions and cook them gently until golden all over. Add the sugar and gently caramelize it. Pour in the vinegar (it will spit and seethe, but don’t worry) and stir gently with a wooden spoon. Reduce until syrupy. Now just cover with cold water and simmer until syrupy once again. Check to see if the onions are soft to the touch; if so, leave to cool in the glaze, otherwise cook a little longer.

In the base of a roasting pan big enough to hold the salmon, first put the tomato slices, lemon, garlic, thyme and parsley. Drizzle with half the olive oil, a splash of wine and 50 ml water, then season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, place the salmon fillet on top, season that and cover with foil.

Bake in the preheated oven until cooked medium rare, about 20 minutes. Leave to rest, still covered, until cool. During this period the juices will all mingle together.

Gently lift the salmon out and keep warm. Reheat the roasting pan gently, add a splash of water if it has become dry and strain the liquid through a fine sieve, gently forcing all the juices through.

Gently toss the lettuce leaves lightly in olive oil and season. Arrange on serving plates, flake the salmon over, add the glazed onions and pour over the juices. Top with some micro cress salad and serve with some good crusty bread.