Confit salmon ‘tarator’ with coriander, walnuts and tahini sauce
We love this long, slow-cooking technique for all sorts of fish and seafood. It works particularly well with salmon, as it has a tendency to dry out. Instead, you end up with a lovely, butter-soft piece of fish that almost dissolves in your mouth. You can, of course, slow-cook individual portions in this way, but using the whole fillet (tail end removed) makes into a good ‘special occasion’ dish.
1 x 600 g Atlantic salmon, cut from the centre, skin on, pin bones removed
1 tablespoon Fragrant salt (page 000)
500 ml olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, ground
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds, ground
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds, ground
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds, ground
2 tablespoons sea salt
150 ml yoghurt
3 tablespoons tahini, well stirred
1 clove garlic, crushed with
1/4 teaspoon salt
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon pepper
60 g walnuts, roasted, skins rubbed off and finely chopped
1 cup coriander leaves, finely shredded
1 small Spanish onion, very finely diced
1 long red chilli, seeded and finely diced
1/2 teaspoon sumac
juice of 1 lemon
60 ml extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
To make the fragrant salt, combine the spices, sesame seeds and salt in a frying pan and gently warm through so they merge into one fragrant powder. If not using straight away, store in an airtight jar for up to 6 months.
Dust the salmon all over with the fragrant salt and refrigerate for an hour to lightly ‘cure’. Before cooking, rinse the salmon and dry it thoroughly.
Find a deep frying pan or baking tray that is just large enough to hold the piece of salmon. Pour the oil in the pan then slide in the piece of salmon, skin side up. Put the pan on the stove and heat gently to 60°C (???°F). Cook for 8 minutes then remove from the heat and let the salmon sit in the oil for another 2 minutes. Carefully lift the salmon out of the oil and place it on kitchen paper to drain. Allow it to cool slightly then peel off the skin and gently scrape away the blood line.
To make the tahini sauce, whisk all the ingredients together until smooth and creamy.
To make the tarator, put the walnuts, coriander, onion, chilli and sumac into a mixing bowl and mix together. Pour on the lemon juice and oil, season with salt and pepper and mix together well.
To serve the salmon, smear the exposed surface with a little tahini sauce, then pack on the tarator topping neatly and evenly so it completely coats the fish. Serve at room temperature, with the extra tahini sauce on the side.