"To fillet it (i.e., to butcher it), you’ve got to maximize on the yield. You’ve got to maximize on the portions, and you cannot afford one wrong slip.” — Chef Gordon Ramsay
Chef Ramsay offers the following advice for breaking down a whole salmon:
Bored of salmon with asparagus and Hollandaise? We thought so. Chef Ramsay shows you how to nail a filet of salmon perfectly and create a delicious, light supper with an easy, yet elegant Italian-inspired shellfish and vegetable minestrone. Harness what Gordon calls “the jewels of the sea” in a broth that money can’t buy.
PREP 40 minutes
COOK 30 minutes
For the vegetables and pasta:
For the salmon:
Scrub the mussels and clams well under cold, running water for 10 minutes, draining the water as needed. Remove the beards from the mussels and discard any open shells. Set aside. Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the mirepoix (carrot, celery and shallot), thyme and 1 lemon slice, reserving the rest of the lemon for later. Season with salt and sweat for 30 seconds. Add the shellfish and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for 30 seconds. Add the wine, cover and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
Add the chicken stock, cover, and increase the heat to high, cooking for 5-7 minutes until the shellfish open. Strain the broth into a bowl and then pour the broth into a clean pot. Remove the shellfish from the shells into a bowl, discarding any shells that did not open. Set aside.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Blanche the vegetables for 2 minutes. Quickly remove the vegetables with a hand-sieve or slotted spoon and rinse under cold water. Drain and reserve in a bowl. Add the beans to the vegetables. Into the pot of boiling water, add the pasta and cook for 7-8 minutes until just al dente.
Strain the pasta into a colander, rinsing with cold water to both stop the cooking and remove the starch. Add the pasta to the vegetables and beans.
Score the skin of the salmon. Season both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and gently place the salmon into the pan, skin-side down. Cook for 6-7 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove the fish to rest on a plate while you assemble the soup.
Bring the pot of shellfish broth back to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the fennel fronds and zest from the reserved lemon. Add the shellfish, vegetables, beans and pasta and cook gently, just to warm through. Season to taste with salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Ladle the minestrone into the center of a bowl. Place the salmon on top, skin-side up and drizzle with olive oil.
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