Sashimi-style salmon with shallot and chilli crunch and pickled cucumber
For the salmon
- 400g/14oz top-quality salmon fillet, preferably organic, skin removed
- 1¾ tsp salt
- ¾ tsp caster sugar
- vegetable oil, for frying
- 3 shallots, finely sliced into rings
- ½ tsp crushed chilli flakes
- 2 tsp wasabi powder, mixed to a thick paste with a teaspoon of water
For the pickled cucumber
- 2 cucumbers, trimmed, peeled, cut in half lengthways, seeds scooped out with a spoon, flesh coarsely grated lengthways
- 1 tsp salt
- 50ml/2fl oz vegetable oil
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- ½ red chilli, seeds removed, flesh finely chopped
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2-3 spring onions, trimmed, finely sliced diagonally
For the salmon, place the salmon onto a large plate and sprinkle with 1½ teaspoons of the salt and ½ a teaspoon of the caster sugar. Cover and chill in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
When the salmon has chilled, preheat a deep fat fryer to 145C. Alternatively, heat the oil in a deep heavy-based frying pan until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns brown when dropped into it. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)
Remove the salmon from the fridge and wipe the salt and sugar off with kitchen paper.
Cut the salmon in half lengthways to form two thinner fillets, then cut the two fillets widthways to form four square pieces of salmon.
Carefully lower the shallot rings into the hot oil and fry for 12-15 minutes, stirring continuously with a wooden-handled slotted spoon, or until crisp and deep golden-brown.
Remove the deep-fried shallots from the oil with the slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper. When they have cooled slightly, squeeze as much oil out of the deep-fried shallots as possible.
Transfer the drained shallots to a food processor, add the remaining ¼ teaspoons of salt and sugar and all of the crushed chilli flakes and blend until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Brush the top of each piece of salmon with a thin layer of the wasabi paste. Sprinkle the crumbed shallot and chilli mixture evenly onto a plate. Turn the salmon pieces over and press each of them into the mixture to coat. Set aside.
For the pickled cucumber, place the grated cucumber into a bowl, add the salt and stir well to combine. Set aside for 4-5 minutes.
Transfer the grated cucumber to a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much water as possible.
Heat the vegetable oil, garlic and chilli in a non-reactive pan over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until softened.
Add the soy sauce, sugar and white wine vinegar and whisk until well combined.
Add the grated cucumber and stir well to coat it in the vinegar mixture. Continue to fry for 1-2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Add the spring onions, stir well to combine, then set aside until cool.
To serve, finely slice each piece of salmon. Place the salmon slices in overlapping layers in the centre of each of four serving plates. Serve a spoonful of the pickled cucumber alongside each serving.