- For the pickled cucumber
- 2 mini cucumbers, peeled and diced
- 1 t salt
- 2 T white wine vinegar
- 25 g sugar
- For the Jasmine oil
- 360 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 t Jasmine tea leaves
- To poach the salmon
- 2 x 250 g salmon fillets
- 360 ml poaching oil
- a few sprigs of fresh dill
- 90 ml dry white wine
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the passion fruit sauce
- 30 ml olive oil
- 3 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 t white wine vinegar
- 30 g brown sugar (2 tbspns)
- 250 ml granadilla (passion fruit) pulp
- 6 whole granadillas, flesh scooped out
- 30 cold salted butter
- 250 ml creme fraiche
- salt, to taste
- For the garden pea puree
- 100 g fresh garden peas, blanched
- 45 ml olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 10 g Parmesan cheese, grated
- 15 ml mint, chopped
- 30 ml double cream
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the prosciutto crisp
- 12 thin slices prosciutto
- 1 T olive oil
To make the pickled cucumber:
Sprinkle the diced cucumber with salt, set aside for 5 minutes. Rinse the cucumber under cold water and drain excess liquid. Transfer to a glass bowl.
Combine vinegar and sugar in a saucepan, stir to dissolve sugar and remove when the mixture starts to boil. Pour over the cucumber, cool then cover with plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
To make the Jasmine-infused poaching oil:
Place oil and tea leaves in a saucepan over medium heat until it reaches 80°C. When desired temperature is reached leave to brew for 1 minute, then strain to prevent the leaves from burning.
Leave to chill completely.
To poach the salmon:
Preheat the oil, dill and white wine to about 55ºC. This is the time when you should really have invested in a cooking thermometer.
If you don't have one, heat the oil gently over medium heat until small bubbles form on the bottom of the saucepan. There should be absolutely no 'movement' in the oil - it must never reach boiling point.
Lightly season salmon with salt and white pepper. Gently poach in pre-heated oil mixture for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oil, drain and let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.
To make the passion fruit (granadilla) sauce:
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté shallots until translucent.
Add vinegar, brown sugar, pulp and flesh of fresh passion fruits to the shallots and stir to dissolve the sugar. Turn to a high heat and reduce to half, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and whisk in cold butter. Leave to cool to room temperature then fold in crème fraîche. Season with salt to taste. Cover and set aside until ready to serve.
To make the garden pea purée :
Blanche the peas in boiling water for 30 seconds, then place in iced water. Place the blanched peas, olive oil, garlic, grated Parmesan and mint in a blender and purée until smooth.
Transfer the purée into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in double cream and heat through gently while stirring. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To make the prosciutto crisp:
Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with a greaseproof sheet, brush with olive oil, arrange prosciutto on the tray and lightly brush with remaining oil.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 – 12 minutes until crisp.
To assemble, spread a thick layer of purée over the skin side of the poached salmon, finish with a prosciutto crisp. Scatter cubes of pickled cucumber over the plate and spoon passion fruit sauce over. Garnish with fresh micro herbs.
This recipe, created by Chef Monché Muller for Valentine's Day, may sound like a complicated dish, but as with love, it is as complicated or simple as you want it to be. Aromas such as jasmine immediately activate all five sense, so no scientific explanation needed there.
For starters, serve Monché's char-grilled asparagus with skordalia and crispy pita bread and for dessert, rose-and cardamom-poached baby figs with chocolate biscotti and almond cream.