With warm weather tantalisingly close, our thoughts naturally turn to family barbeques and brunch with friends in the sun. If you can get an impressive, versatile recipe under your belt before the season, consider yourself well-prepared – even better if that recipe happens to prioritise eco-friendly ingredients.
That’s the philosophy of Scott Pickett, whose deceptively simple salmon lunch might turn a few heads with its choice of ingredients. Pickett has seen first-hand the sustainable farming practices of the Ora King salmon in New Zealand, and has visited the coffee farms in Kenya where Nespresso source their coffee, partnering with local coffee farmers on the ground to produce the highest quality beans and support the community. He’s seen their regenerative ideals and community support in action, first hand. For Pickett, though, one of the most practical tips for being eco-minded in the kitchen is simply to make better use of ingredients. And that means all the ingredients, where possible. “I look at by-products,” says Pickett. “Like, what can be used that I wouldn’t typically use as a chef.”
Take the broccoli stem in this recipe, for instance. It isn’t the Hollywood part of the broccoli, and that means it tends to get discarded – but it really shouldn’t. “It’s got a great texture,” Pickett says. “We peel away the rough knobs on the broccoli once we’ve taken the florets off, and we’ll keep those for a salad or something else. And then we’ll just trim it with a knife, and you get a beautiful cylinder of a really firm texture that’s almost like a kohlrabi, kind of like a celeriac flavour and texture.”
The same goes for the coffee. He uses the spent grounds, which would otherwise be discarded, in the salmon cure to impart a nutty, umami note. It comes down to a simple idea, says Pickett: “If I would normally throw something in the bin, is there something else that I can actually use it in that’s equally as good to respect the product?”
Sustainably farmed Ora King salmon is a great choice for this recipe, and if you can get it cleaned and pin-boned by your fishmonger, things will go very smoothly. This is a cured salmon dish, so doing things in advance isn’t just a tip, it’s necessary. The cure itself is a simple process, however. “You make your slurry with the coffee grounds, the espresso, the brown sugar, the sea salt, and then you just rub that all over the fish and leave it for 24 hours,” says Pickett. You can do it in as little as 10 hours in a pinch, too.
The broccoli vinaigrette is equally straightforward, with the dressing coming together in the bowl. “You really just peel the broccoli stem, you dice it, you blanch it, and then you make a dressing with the olive oil, the champagne vinegar, some diced apple and some herbs,” Pickett says.
The herbs are up to you; whatever you’ve got around can work, and Pickett recommends keeping an eye out for wild ones. “There’s wild garlic everywhere, there’s wood sorrel in the garden. I walk to work a few days a week and there’s nasturtiums popping up everywhere. Just keep your eyes open for beautiful wild herbs that might go well in this dish as well.”
To serve, slice half a dozen thin portions and lay them on a plate. Then drizzle the dressing over the top. It makes for a light lunch or an entree, but Pickett loves the versatility for other meals too. “This could be a breakfast dish or a brunch dish as well,” says Pickett. “You could have a toasted bagel or a beautiful piece of bread and just layer your salmon and this dressing over and add a little bit of crème fraîche or some Persian feta.” The versatility means this dish is equally at home paired with a Nespresso iced coffee or a bottle of white wine.
Coffee-cured Ora King salmon with broccoli-stem vinaigrette
Preparation time: 11 hours
Cooking time: 5 minutes
1 x 500g Ora King salmon fillet, cleaned and pin-boned
50ml shot of Nespresso
30g spent coffee grounds (from the shot)
15g brown sugar
5g sea salt
Foraged wild herbs, such as wild garlic, wood sorrel or salt bush to garnish
Broccoli stem vinaigrette
1 large head of broccoli
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
60ml olive oil
20ml champagne vinegar
Small bunch of chives, finely chopped
Small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
For the salmon, combine the coffee, spent grounds, sugar and salt together in a mixing bowl. Cover the fish in the marinade and refrigerate for 10 hours to cure, turning it over at the 5-hour mark. Remove the fish from the curing marinade and wash off any excess. Pat dry with a clean cloth. Rest the cleaned fish in the fridge for 1 hour.
For the vinaigrette, bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil while the fish rests. Prepare a mixing bowl filled with iced water to cool the broccoli after cooking. Wash the broccoli in cold water and cut the heads into quarters. Remove the florets from the stems and keep them for another day. Peel and trim the tough skin from the broccoli stem and dice into small pieces. Cook for about 1 minute. Transfer to the iced water. Once the broccoli pieces are thoroughly chilled, drain well.
In a small bowl, combine the diced broccoli stem, diced apple, herbs, olive oil and vinegar. Season with a pinch of salt.
Thinly slice the salmon into clean, smooth pieces using the whole length of the knife. Arrange the slices of fish onto a plate, and dress with the broccoli stem and apple vinaigrette. Garnish with some wild herbs, such as wild garlic flowers, nasturtiums or wood sorrel.
This article was produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Nespresso.