I have a guilty secret. I am a vocal supporter of local produce and local producers but I often buy Alaskan salmon. The reason? Most of the salmon available to me is farmed, it’s flabby, fatty and pallid and I find it unappetising.
There is good farmed salmon as well as bad, and I’m aware that the industry provides a fair number of jobs in Scotland, but I’ve yet to be fully convinced that wild salmon stocks aren’t continuing to be harmed. Mostly, though, my reasons are selfish. I prefer the taste, texture and colour of the wild Alaskan salmon, no matter how many food miles it has racked up en route.
You pays your money and you takes your choice. Whatever salmon you elect to buy, this dish makes a speedy supper, and one which feels fresh and springlike. If you don’t have kecap manis, a thick, sweet Indonesian soy sauce, use dark soy with a little honey. Shiitake mushrooms stalks are tough, so are better saved to flavour a stock.
Salmon with Shiitake Mushrooms
2 skinless, boneless salmon fillets
150g shiitake mushrooms, de-stalked and sliced (keep 6 caps whole for a garnish)
1 thumb of ginger, peeled and cut into fine matchsticks
1 small bunch of spring onions, trimmed and sliced at an angle into 2cm chunks, the tops finely sliced for garnish
1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tspn toasted sesame oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 tspn of chilli paste (I used gochugang)
1 heaped tbsp of kecap manis
Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
Heat the oils in a small pan and briefly fry the reserved mushrooms. Remove and keep somewhere warm. Using the same pan, cook the sliced mushrooms, spring onions, ginger and garlic until slightly wilted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Mix together the chilli paste and kecap manis. Cut two large rectangles of foil and put half of the mushroom mixture in the middle of each. Sit the salmon on top and spoon a good dollop of the chilli and soy glaze over its surface.
Pinch the foil together to make a slightly tented, sealed parcel and place in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes for medium rare, 12 minutes for medium.
Serve over rice, garnishing with the reserved mushrooms and scattering with the sliced spring onion tops.