He caught a salmon at last !
She is a 5.1 kilo silver beauty and was brought home this morning after a 2 hour fishing outing in the Gave d’Oloron. She is now gutted and filleted and safetly packed away in the freezer for many meals to come.
The Gave is our fishing, walking and swimming haunt and one of the few rivers on the continent where the Atlantic Salmon still come home to. After spending their youth in the river of their birth, the Salmo Salar migrate to the Greenland seas to grow before returning to spawn in their river of origin. On their return, they have to deal with bigger nastier and hungrier fish who gobble them up, sea fishing boats, drift nets, sewage , corn farmers nitrates and Jean Francois et al.
I really believe its terribly cruel to catch such marvellous creatures and eat them but Jean Francois has caught and released two salmon already this year and the rest of the time he just misses, so one a year on the plate is the pre-season deal we made and here she is.
Grilled Salmon with Sorrel Pesto
30g Pine Nuts
2 cloves of Garlic
50g of young Sorrel leaves
A small bunch of flat leafed Parsley (stalks removed)
30g hard Goats Cheese or Pecorino
2 large Salmon Fillets on the skin
Put the pine nuts, cheese and garlic into a food processor and pulse until chopped and combined. Add the sorrel, parsley and combine once more. Slowly add the olive oil until pesto has the right consistency for you.
Spoon into a jar and cover with a slick of olive oil (it will keep for a week in the fridge).
Slide the fillets skin side down on the heat (plancha, grill, frying pan) with a little oil or fat. I use a little duck fat... The oil or fat should sizzle around the margins of the fillet.
The skin takes the worst of the heat, which is slowly conducted through the flesh to cook it slowly and gently.
When the skin side is well and truly brown - anything less and it will not be crunchy and the flesh has lost its raw colour up to around three quarters of its depth from the skin. Flip the fillets and cook on the other side for one minute. Serve with the sorrel pesto and one or two boiled new potatoes on the side or a little boiled samphire with lemon.