Saturday, December 12, 2009

To broil fresh salmon: 1823

This recipe is from A modern system of domestic cookery, published in 1823.
Cut some slices from a fresh salmon, and wipe them clean and dry; then melt some butter smooth and fine, with a little flour and basket salt. Put the pieces of salmon into it, and roll them about, that they may be covered all over with butter.

Make a batter out of flour, salt and butter. Make sure this is cool because you're not supposed to be cooking the salmon at this point.
Then lay them on a nice clean gridiron, and broil them over a clear but slow fire.

Easy enough to duplicate.

While the salmon is broiling, make your sauce thus: take two anchovies, wash, bone, and cut them into small pieces, and cut a leek into three or four long pieces. Set on a sauce-pan with some butter and a little flour, put in the anchovies and leek, with some capers cut small, some pepper and salt, and a little nutmeg; add to them some warm water, and two spoonfuls of vinegar, shaking the sauce-pan till it boils; and then keep it on the simmer till you are ready for it.

You only have about five minutes to do this, so be prepared. Chop, and have everything measured ahead of time. (Also, don't take pictures like I did!)

I used anchovy paste instead of anchovies, none of the ingredients are exotic. It's a lot simpler than it sounds; just making a roux, throwing in all the ingredients, and adding hot water.
When the salmon is done on one side, turn it on the other till it is quite enough; then take the leek out of the sauce, pour it into a dish, and lay the broiled salmon upon it . Garnish with lemons cut in quarters.

The salmon ends up with a fine brown crust on all its cooking surfaces. It contrasts well with the chewy leaks, smooth sauce, and tender meat. The taste was excellent, too. Nothing overpowered anything else and there was some sort of sweet and sour thing going on.

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