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Confit of salmon with apple and lemon verbena jelly

NB: Prepare the lemon verbena oil one day in advance. The salmon can be marinated eight hours in advance.

Ingredients

For the salmon
  • large pinch fresh lemon verbena, finely chopped

  • 10g/½oz sea salt

  • 2 pinches freshly ground white pepper

  • large pinch caster sugar

  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh dill

  • 1 x 280g/10oz salmon fillet, preferably organic, pin bones removed, skin removed

  • 200-300ml/7-10½fl oz extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 lemon, zest peeled off in one strip

For the lemon verbena apples
  • 10g/½oz fresh lemon verbena

  • 100ml/3½fl oz extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 apples, preferably Cox's Orange Pippins, washed, cut in half, cut into 0.5cm/½in slices

For the apple purée
  • 2 large apples, preferably Cox's Orange Pippins, peeled, cores removed, cut into 5cm/2in cubes

  • 50ml/2fl oz water

  • squeeze lemon juice

For the apple and verbena jelly
To serve

Preparation method

  1. For the salmon, mix together the lemon verbena, salt, pepper, sugar and dill in a bowl until well combined. Sprinkle half of the mixture onto a baking tray, then place the salmon fillet on top and press to coat it in the marinade mixture. Press the remaining marinade on top of the salmon. Cover the tray with cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

  2. When the salmon has marinated, remove it from the fridge and wash off the marinade. Pat dry, then cut lengthways in half and widthways in half again, to make four portions.

  3. Half-fill a roasting tray with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat until the water is simmering.

  4. Pour the olive oil into a small saucepan and sit the pan in the simmering water, making sure none of the water enters the pan. Add the lemon zest strip and heat until the oil reaches 42C/107F.

  5. Add the marinated salmon to the oil and heat for 12-15 minutes, making sure the temperature remains at 42C/107F. remove the salmon from the oil and set aside to drain onto kitchen paper. (NB: The inside of the salmon will not be cooked, but it will de-nature the proteins within the flesh, giving it a totally different, special texture and flavour. The fish must be barely warm and certainly not cooked, that would spoil the dish.)

  6. For the lemon verbena apples, blend the lemon verbena and olive oil in a food processor to a purée.

  7. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and heat over a low to medium heat for 18-20 minutes (the temperature of the mixture should remain between 50-60C/122-140F. Remove from the heat and set aside at room temperature for 2 hours to infuse, then strain the lemon verbena oil through a fine sieve into a bowl.

  8. Add the apple slices to the lemon verbena , cover the bowl with cling film and set aside to marinate for 2-3 hours.

  9. For the apple purée, In a small saucepan with a lid, cook the apples, water and lemon juice on a high heat for 8 minutes. Pour into a container or small bowl and set to one side.

  10. For the apple and lemon verbena jelly, heat the apple juice until simmering in a medium saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon verbena. Set aside for 8 minutes, then whisk in the agar agar until dissolved and return the pan to the heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking continuously.

  11. When the jelly mixture has gone clear, strain it through a fine sieve or muslin cloth into shallow trays, then set aside at room temperature until set.

  12. To serve, paint a line of the apple purée down the centre of each plate. Place one portion of confit of salmon into the centre of each plate. Place a spoonful of the jelly on top of each piece of salmon. Spoon some of the lemon verbena apples around the edge of each plate. Pile the dandelion leaves and micro sorrel leaves alongside the salmon, along with a small quenelle of crème fraîche.

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