Salt Baked Salmon Fillet with Dill, Black Pepper and Juniper

by eat in my kitchen

Salt Baked Salmon Fillet with Dill and Juniper

If you’re still looking for a scrumptious but effortless main course for New Year’s Eve and if you like salmon fillet, this is your recipe. After festive days of rich, meaty treats I prefer to start the new year with a lighter dish, seafood, lots of vegetables, or Asian inspired recipes, preferably easy dishes refined with colourful aromas, spices and herbs. Salmon baked in salt crust came to mind, but not a whole fish – I want to keep it simple – only the fillets, sandwiched with a handful of dill, crushed juniper berries and black pepper. Sealed under a mixture of coarse sea salt, flour, cornstarch, egg white and water, it bakes in the oven soaking up all these wonderful flavours. After 50 minutes it was done, which I checked by following Martha Stewart’s tip: Insert a metal skewer, if it’s warm to the touch, the fish is ready to leave its crusty shell. You have to use a sharp bread knife to cut open the salty crust, this is the only part of this recipe that demands a bit of work. You could also break it but I wanted to open it like a lid – only for visual reasons. The result is perfectly flaky, firm with a subtle hint of sea salt, it can be a bit overpowering on the edges of the fillet but you can easily scratch this excess salt off. I used fleshy fillets tied together with a cotton string, it was enough for 3-4 people – depending on the amount of dishes you’re planning to serve. Two thick center pieces of roughly the same size are perfect, you could also fill them with other herbs or thin lemon or orange slices but I wanted to use the flavours which I use for my traditional gravad lax recipe: fresh dill, spicy pepper and fragrant juniper.

During the holidays, I cleaned the shelves in my kitchen, which were in a rather chaotic state, and to my surprise, I found far more packages of Mr. Cini’s sea salt than I had expected. They didn’t last very long, I needed 1 kg / 2 1/4 pounds to cover my salmon. Mr Cini’s salt comes from the Mediterranean Sea, from Gozo, where he harvests the white grains straight from the rocks together with his family. It tastes fantastic, it’s obviously salty but not in a harsh way, it has a distinct flavour, which you can recognize in the cooked fish. I recommend using high-quality salt for this recipe, although you will discard the crust, it effects the final result tremendously.

A very exciting year has almost come to an end. I look forward to 2016 and I hope it will be more peaceful and united than the year before. My kitchen will be as busy as ever and I can’t wait to share more recipes with you, here on the blog and in my first eat in my kitchen book, which will be published in September. I wish you a wonderful start to the New Year, don’t get intimidated by too many resolutions, just enjoy your life!

Meike xx

Salt Baked Salmon Fillet with Dill and Juniper

 

Salt Baked Salmon Fillet with Dill and Juniper

Salt Baked Salmon Fillet with Dill, Black Pepper and Juniper

Serves 3-4 (for more people you can use bigger fillets and leave them in the oven a little longer)

high-quality coarse sea salt 1 kg / 2 1/4 pounds
plain flour 100 g / 3 /4 cup
cornstarch 30 g / 1/4 cup
organic egg whites 2
water, cold, 75 ml / 1/3 cup
salmon fillet, 2 center pieces with skin (about 680 g / 1 1/2 pounds in total)
juniper berries, coarsely crushed in a mortar, 8
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar, to taste
fresh dill, 1 small bunch plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (optional, for the topping)

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F (conventional setting). Line a baking dish with parchment paper.

For the salt crust, combine the coarse sea salt, flour, cornstarch, egg whites, and water in a large bowl until combined, use your fingers or a spoon.

Spread a little of the salt mixture on the lined baking dish, lay 1 salmon fillet – skin side down – on top of the salt. Rub a little crushed pepper and half the juniper into the pink side of the salmon, then cover with the dill. Rub the second salmon fillet with pepper and the remaining juniper and lay it on top of the dill – skin side up. Tie the fillets together with a cotton string (see picture below), then cover the salmon with the remaining salt mixture until it’s completely covered (see 2nd picture), push the salt mixture together gently. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes or until a metal skewer, poked through the crust into the thickest part of the salmon, is warm to the touch when you pull it out of the salmon.

Let the crust cool for 1-2 minutes, then cut it open with a sharp bread knife. Cut the string open, divide the fish fillets in 3-4 portions, and serve immediately. Sprinkle with freshly chopped dill on the plates (optional).

Salt Baked Salmon Fillet with Dill and Juniper

 

Salt Baked Salmon Fillet with Dill and Juniper

 

Salt Baked Salmon Fillet with Dill and Juniper

 

saltbakedsalmon9

 

saltbakedsalmon10