A new wave of buyers hunting for London prime real estate…or American oil magnates buying overpriced Georgian properties in Pimlico? No, this post is about a culinary experience, Alaska themed.
Alaska?!? Three images fill my brain: giant parkas, bears and Sarah Palin holding a rifle. I like to challenge my opinions but I was slightly sceptical when a friend recommended a night of food and entertainment with Alaska in its title. Being Italian, I believe that that the holy trinity of food – tomatoes, grains and olive oil – exists because the earth is blessed by sun, a kind soil and a warm climate. When it comes to a night out, I know far too well that an enjoyable evening is based on good company more than anything else. In this case I knew the company was going to be good, the location was on my doorstep and the fact that of the chefs trained at Moro, was good enough for me. I also felt that is my duty to embrace any social activity that might put Pimlico on the entertainment destination map.
And here we go, the event. We were thrown back in 1899 at the time of the gold rush, a Pimlico garden transformed with tents and digging tools, everything beautifully styled and choreographed. Cute ladies and gentlemen – putting on a fake American accent – welcomed us and served really delicious food. Fish, lots of fish. This is what Alaska is clearly famous for, not hockey mothers.
The highlight of the menu was salmon. After a few years in London and numerous spells in Scotland, I thought I had had salmon in every possible shape and form. How wrong I was. The menu is enclosed here
and the wild sockeye salmon, with cucumber salad was outstanding. I would have never expected for cucumber salad to taste so great. In case you might want to give it a go, here is the recipe. Raymond Blanc is the master chef behind the original one. This is a slightly simplified version, very easy and pretty quick. As long as the salmon is good quality.
For the salmon
- 4 x 100g wild salmon fillet
- 1½ tsp salt
- pinch white peppercorns, crushed
- 1½ tsp sugar
- 1 tsp chopped dill
- 1 tsp lemon zest ( finely chopped)
- 500ml extra virgin olive oil to confit the salmon
Cure the salmon: place the 4 fillets of salmon into a small bowl and mix with the salt, pepper, dill and lemon zest. Marinade for 30 minutes, only. Wash under running water, and pat dry the fish. Refrigerate covered with cling film.
To confit the salmon: preheat the olive oil to 55C: drop in the four pieces of salmon and cook for approximately 16-18 minutes at 45C. Probe temperature of oil. The aim here is not to cook the salmon but to change its texture and taste. Once you put the 4 fillets into the oil, the oil temperature will drop to approx 45C. It must be kept at this temperature so use a probe to check. The salmon will be uncooked yet creating a very pleasing taste and texture. If over cooked the salmon fillet will leak white proteins (albumen).
For the cucumber salad
- 1 cucumber, peeled and de-seeded
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp non-scented oil
- 1 tbsp chopped dill
- 1 pinch fresh ground pepper
Make the cucumber salad: finely slice the cucumber. Place in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and leave and marinade for 30 mins. (The salt will remove the enzymes which can cause indigestion). Rinse under cold water, pat dry. Add vinegar, sunflower oil, dill and pepper. Taste to correct seasoning.