Cooking salmon in the sink…in my kitchen
In my kitchen this month is….drum-roll…a new sink! Gleaming and shiny; I can’t help a little smile of glee whenever I see it. Over the top reaction you might think, but as a tenant (as expats we rent our house) I have little say about the fixtures and fittings. The final straw came when our old, white, chipped sink sprang a leak; it’s incredible what a difference this sleek, stainless replacement makes to the appearance of the whole kitchen.
For such a pivotal piece of equipment in the kitchen the importance of the sink doesn’t get mentioned very often. I’ve been reading about decluttering recently (a bit of a New Year, turn-over-a-new-leaf activity probably shared with many) and found a popular website aiming to get people to sort out their messy lives by starting with a clean sink. It’s a fact that everyone always ends up in the kitchen at parties but if there’s a couple or more of you working together, the sink becomes the hub and people find their own role in the washing up hierarchy.
Speaking of washing up, David Lebovitz recently published a very entertaining article about it and Nigel Slater dedicated a whole chapter to this essential activity in his book Appetite extolling the virtues of this comforting ritual (not sure I’d agree).
So how about cooking in a sink? Due to concerns about the chemical content (even in organic farmed fish) I have eaten much less salmon in the last few years. But I found this video the other day ab0ut ‘sous-vide’ at home and just had to try it. ‘Sous-vide’ (meaning under vacuum) uses sealed bags in a water bath – in this case it means in a plastic bag in the sink. The video is very precise but I was being distracted by my husband and daughter and cooking something else at the same time, so I just put the salmon in a bag, poured in some olive oil and put it in a sink full of hot water from the tap. About 15 minutes later I had a look. It was like magic. The salmon was cooked perfectly. It was different in texture to traditional poached salmon, a bit less flaky and a little bit firmer. I would reduce the amount of oil next time as farmed salmon is an oily fish anyway (do you need oil at all?). Maybe I’d add some herbs, like dill, in the bag too.
Five things to do with salmon cooked in the sink:
- Serve it cold with mayonnaise, iceberg lettuce, a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper
- As an open sandwich on rye bread with sour cream and dill (or on blinis).
- Flake and combine with mashed potatoes, shape into rounds, dip in beaten egg and breadcrumbs and shallow fry as fish cakes.
- Pan fry for a few moments with finely chopped hazelnuts, sesame seeds, ginger and butter to warm through and add flavour.
- Add to spiced rice and semi-soft hard boiled eggs for an excellent kedgeree.
Instructions (this can hardly be called a recipe!):
- Put your boneless salmon steak in a ziplock plastic bag with a drizzle of oil (if serving warm you can use a little melted butter).
- Smooth upwards to remove as much air as possible and seal the bag
- Place into a sink filled with freshly drawn water from the hot tap only.
- Check after 10- 15 minutes (depending on the size of your salmon). If it is opaque all the way through it is cooked (or use a probe if you have one). Remove the skin (it will peel away easily) and serve hot or cold.
You can’t cook a whole salmon in a plastic bag, but it’s easy to poach if you have a fish kettle or large roasting tin just a little bit bigger than the fish. Cover the fish with cold water, add salt, bring to the boil, turn off the heat and leave, covered (with a lid or foil), until it has cooked. Whatever its size, the fish will be perfectly cooked (unless the pan is much too big for the fish, or too small so the fish is fitted in too tightly meaning there isn’t enough water).
What’s in your kitchen in January? Pop over to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial to peep into Celia’s lovely kitchen and others around the world.
Have you ever cooked in the sink? Or ‘sous-vide’? Do you love or loathe washing up? And do you always end up in the kitchen at parties?