beached salmon (or, heston’s fish pie simplified)
I love reading In Search of Heston’s recipes. United by our passion for all things Blumenthal-flavoured, he goes the whole hog in attempting to recreate Heston’s entire recipe index. And he really pushes the boat out to make them as accurately to the original text as possible.
One of his recent posts was Heston’s fish pie. I’ve kind-of blogged about this before. Phil went all the way and made every element, taking him over two days and eventually eating the finished dish at 3.38am one bank holiday Monday morning. It sounded quite the ordeal. He also related how fellow Blumenthaler Kita had a similarly delayed dinner, with many steps resulting in an excellent meal for a lot of effort.
I wanted to pay tribute to that effort, and capture the spirit of the fish pie but have a version that could be made for a weekday dinner. So here’s my beached salmon: the major components of Heston’s fish pie reduced (dare I say deconstructed?) to a portion of salmon with pommes purees, sauce and crunch topping (the “sand”).
The potatoes take about 45 minutes, but the vast majority of it is unattended. Whilst it may sound long-winded with the two-stage temperatures, it’s the only way to achieve the silky-smoothness this recipe deserves. The salmon is simple, enhanced only by miso in lieu of a full cure. The sauce is the main binding ingredient and that’s where the power is. With a sauce rich in vermouth (Cinzano is one of the few spirits we always have in the cupboard) and cream it gives a luxurious finish. You can add improvements yourself with the quality of the stock you use, using fish offcuts if available.
It may not be 3 days worth of toil and can’t hope to compare to the original, but hopefully there’s enough flavours in to call back to the Heston recipe.