Roast Salmon with Garlic, Dill and Lemon with Quick Cucumber Relish

Well what’s that saying about ‘the
best laid plans of mice and men’ often going awry? My original plan for
Christmas dinner was to have roast chooks with a festive cranberry
stuffing wrapped in prosciutto, but having had a beautiful side of
salmon at a pre-Christmas Christmas at my mother-in-law’s the week
before, I completely changed my mind! It was so delicious I rang and
asked for the recipe, (thanks Jill!) which I promptly lost, then made up
my own version of it which I cooked yesterday, and it was bloody good
if I say so myself. So – here you go, Roast Salmon with Garlic, Dill and
Lemon with Quick Cucumber Relish:

2 tbsp sea salt (or 3 teaspoons regular salt)
1/2 cup boiling water
cold water (enough to cover salmon)
2 fronds dill
1 side of salmon, mine weighed 1.2 kilos – a biggie!
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 lemon
3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp sour cream
1/2 cucumber, halved lengthwise, deseeded and diced (leave skin on)
1 tbsp roughly chopped capers
2 tsp chopped fresh dill
2 tsp chopped fresh mint
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
good quality aioli
2 lemons, cut into wedges

This is so simple, but looks impressive and tastes delicious! Put the salt in a big flattish dish, big enough to lay the salmon flat in, and be completely submerged in water. Put the salt into it and dissolve by whisking in the boiling water. Top up with cold water and leave to cool. (I threw some ice cubes in to speed up the process). Add the salmon and leave in the brine for 30 minutes – this will stop the milky white fat from rising to the top of the salmon while cooking. Preheat the oven to 220˚C (430˚F). Line a tray with baking paper. Remove salmon from the brine and pat dry. Lay skin-side down on the baking paper. Mix oil with garlic and brush over the salmon flesh. Sprinkle with dill and black pepper, and squeeze over the lemon juice. Bake for 10-15 minutes – I did 15 for my whopper, but if your salmon is smaller, stick to 12 minutes or less, you really don’t want to over-cook it! Leave to rest while preparing the relish. 

Mix lemon juice and sour cream in a small bowl. Add cucumber, capers, dill, mint, salt and pepper. Serve with the salmon along with an optional bowl of good quality aioli and lemon wedges. We had this with a not-too-creamy potato gratin and crispy iceberg lettuce salad, but it would also be great with simple new potatoes or nordic-style potato salad. (The iceberg salad is deceptively good – with avocado wedges, flaked toasted almonds and a dressing of good quality mayo with lemon, dill, salt and pepper). Serves 6-8

Please excuse the single pic but I quickly snapped this just as we were sitting down to eat!


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