Crispy Skin Salmon Steak with Oriental Spices and Leek Compote
Salmon seasoned and marinated in Oriental spices rests on a leek compote mold surrounded by a pool of verjus sauce. Every bit of this dish has its own cachet, from the coriander-scented tomato confit to the crunchy salmon skin. The salmon is seared, marinated, and grilled before it arrives at the table. Use a light touch with Chinese five-spice powder, as it is very potent.
- Tomato Confit
- Roma Tomatoes - 4-5, peeled
- Coarse salt - 1 teaspoon
- Coriander seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
- Garlic - 1 clove, crushed
- Thyme - 1 sprig
- Bay Leaf - 1
- Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Leek Compote
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Leeks - 2, white parts only, cleaned, blanched, and julienned
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 1/2 cups
- Creme Fraiche - 1 tablespoon
- Unsalted Butter - 4 tablespoons
- Shallots - 2 medium, chopped
- Verjus - 2 cups
- Seaweed (kombu) - 2 oz, julienned
- Veal Stock - 2 cups
- Soy Sauce - 1/4 cup
- Plum Wine - 1/4 cup
- Lime Juice - 1/4 cup
- Salmon - Six 6-ounce steaks with skin, boned
- Chinese five-spice powder
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- Olive Oil - 1/4 cup
- Chervil - 6 fresh sprigs
To prepare the tomato confit: Preheat the oven to 275 F. Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds. Sprinkle with salt and cut into medium dice. Put the tomatoes in a baking dish and add the coriander seeds, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove and let cool. Pick out the bay leaf and thyme. Chop the mixture into very small dice and set aside at room temperature.
To prepare the leek compote: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the leek julienne. Simmer the leeks in the butter until the leeks are softened but not colored, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the cream and crème fraiche in a small bowl. Drain off the butter and stir in the cream mixture. Cook until the leeks are tender. Set aside; keep warm.
To make the sauce: Melt half the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the shallots. Simmer the shallots in the butter until the shallots are softened but not colored, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain off the butter and add the verjus and seaweed. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated. Stir in the veal stock and cook until reduced by one third. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain through a sieve and return to the pan. Set aside; keep warm. Cut the remaining butter into 8 bits and set aside.
To prepare the salmon: Combine the soy sauce, plum wine, and lime juice in a non-aluminum baking dish to make a marinade and set aside. Put the five-spice powder in a shallow dish and roll the salmon in it to coat; season with salt, and pepper. Heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over high heat and add two salmon steaks, skin-side down. Cook 40 seconds on the skin side, pressing down with a spatula. Turn the salmon on edge with tongs and cook 30 seconds. Turn and cook 30 seconds on the other edge, then place on the flat no-skin side and cook 30 seconds. Turn back to the skin side for 5 seconds. Remove and set aside on a dish. Repeat to cook all the salmon steaks.
Pull off the skin and place it in the marinade, turning once to coat. Heat the cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add the skin, cooking it just until crisp. Press down with a spatula as it cooks to flatten the skin. Set aside.
Pick off any black bits from the salmon. Sprinkle the side of the salmon from which the skin was removed with olive oil and salt. Place under the broiler to heat and finish; the interior of the fish should just be rosy.
To serve: Warm the sauce briefly over medium heat. Add a few pieces of the reserved butter at a time to the sauce and gently whisk to melt, giving the sauce sheen. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Place a small ring mold on each warmed serving plate. Fill the molds with leek compote; lift the molds. Spoon sauce around the leek molds, covering the bottoms of the plates. Lay a piece of salmon over the leeks on each plate. Arrange tomato confit over the salmon and top each piece with a chervil sprig. Garnish each with a piece of crisped salmon skin and fresh chervil.