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.
On the other side of the world I so agree with you. I think all Australian salmon is farmed and the clear waters around Tasmania may be safer than most, but however well grown this so–called Atlantic salmon does not appeal from the health aspect either! Although tinned food is also unhealthy I’ll rather buy Alaskan tinned than fresh farmed! .Love your Asian-nuanced salmon – gochujang from Korea and kecap manis from Indonesia and mushrooms from Japan . . . It’s a small world after all, as the late Walt Disney was fond of saying !
Well, good Atlantic salmon is very good, it just seems to be outnumbered by the poor stuff. And yes, the recipe is a bit of an Asian mish-mash, isn’t it, but it works! Disney … hmmm … will have to cook with bluebirds flying round my head next time. 🙂 Thanks for the kind words, as ever. Lx
Lovely, Linda. Thankfully, we have at least one really good salmon farm here in Ireland. The Clare Island fishery do a really good job with their organic salmon. Sadly, wild is all but history at this stage. Offshore drift netting, wholesale poaching and government indifference has left it in this state. Some blame must be taken by the farms also. Many of the ones operating now have cleaned up their act but over the past 20 or so years, a lot of damage has been done. It really is a crying shame.
Lovely looking dish BTW.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
Happy Paddy’s Day, Conor! Thanks for the kind words. I trust you are not drinking green beer. Agreed, some bad practices have caused the wild salmon population to suffer badly. It’s to be hoped it will recover but I’m not madly optimistic, tbh.
A green jumper is as far as I’m prepared to go. It’s more in support of the Irish rugby team than anything else….
Only England to beat to get the Grand Slam!
I’ve stopped buying fresh salmon altogether because of the damage local aquaculture is doing to the enviroment and to the diversity of wild fish stock. Sadly there is no wild caught alternative here. I have to confess I do miss having salmon as a quick tasty meal choice, but I must put my wallet closed in protest. Nce recipe Mrs P
Thanks, Sandra. Yes, it’s an ethical dilemma.
Gochujang! I must use some with salmon – what a wonderful idea! Love that top photo.
Thanks, Mimi! You’re very kind. Lx
I confess to being torn on this issue. There is no doubt that wild salmon is several orders of magnitude above the farmed (whether Scots or Norwegian – most Scots salmon farms are owned by Norwegian companies now anyway), but it is not always available (on Tescos fish slab at least), and farmed salmon is a better source of Omigod 3 oils than none…
When we lived near Oban (riddled with Salmon farms) the local marine biologists were extremely careful about how they worded their comments because the industry provided so many jobs and was a major part of the local economy. However they were in no doubt that it wasn’t good for either the fish or the marine ecology. But the scenery’s still pretty damn good – and this recipe sounds scrumptious!!
Thanks, Chris. Yes, it’s a minefield, but the salmon was PDG! Lx
I also try to buy local whenever I can, but like you, when it comes down to it, I will opt for what tastes best and provides the better quality. We have some local wines, for example. As much as I’d like to support them, they are just not that good (in my humble opinion) and cost a bomb. Can’t justify buying them…
Yes, I have that problem with a lot of English wines. Not helped by the fact that the UK government taxes booze so heavily …
That looks like a great weekday dinner to try 🙂
Thanks so much!