I really wanted to showcase the often forgotten herbaceous and savoury elements of the blueberry whilst still playing up its natural sweetness. I think the sweetness of the fish and the accompanying garnish really make all the components of this Cibo Trattoria dish sing together.
Salmon and Blueberries
Ingredients for salmon
- Salmon fillets (preferably wild and line-caught; pin-boned and trimmed to 5 ounces)
Ingredients for blueberry-infused vinegar
- 500 grams sugar
- 750 grams red wine vinegar
- 1 pint British Columbia blueberries
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 shallot (quartered)
Ingredients for garnish
- 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup cooked white beans, preferably coco or cannellini (drained and rinsed)
- ¼ cup cooked farro verde
- ¼ cup Sicilian pistachios
- ¼ cup quinoa (cooked)
- 1 tablespoon sea asparagus (finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon parsley (finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon chives (finely chopped)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup blueberries (whole and halved—halved simply for aesthetics)
- ½ cup sea asparagus (trimmed of any dense woody bits)
Ingredients for chive crema
- 1 cup cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1 bunch chives
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Bring the red wine vinegar to a boil in a medium saucepan with the blueberries, thyme, and shallot.
- Reduce to a simmer and continue cooking until reduced by about a cup, leaving roughly 500 millilitres of liquid.
- Strain the solids through a fine mesh sieve. Reserve about 4 tablespoons of the liquid for finishing the plate. Set aside.
- With a large sauce pot set over medium-high heat, caramelize the sugar until a deep amber is achieved.
- Remove from the heat and all at once, add the remaining vinegar infusion, being very careful as it will bubble up and spit.
- Return the pot to a low simmer and gently stir with a wooden spoon to reduce the liquid by a quarter. Set aside.
- Begin by softening the pistachios and sunflower seeds. Separately in small sauce pots, add the seeds and nuts and top with 1 inch of water. Bring to a bare simmer.
- Lightly season with salt and continue cooking until the seeds and nuts are softened but not mushy.
- Drain any excess water. Set the seeds aside.
- Remove the brown outer membrane of the pistachios by gently rubbing them between your fingers. Discard the membrane and set the nuts aside.
In a medium sauce pot, combine the nuts, seeds, and all remaining ingredients except the blueberries and the half-cup of sea asparagus. Add a quarter cup of water and set aside until ready to bring it all together.
- Prepare the crema by combining the chives, cream, and salt in a medium sauce pot. Simmer gently until lightly reduced and flavourful. Strain the solids and discard.
- Transfer the liquid to a blender and add the milk.
- Froth the foam in the blender by running it on high speed for a few seconds.
- Fill the base of a large sautee pan with the blueberry-infused vinegar.
- Add the salmon to the pan.
- Gently cook the salmon unilaterally over low heat until just medium-rare on top and cooked on the bottom.
- While the salmon cooks, warm the garnish over medium heat, reducing all the water until the grains are lightly glazed. Season to taste with salt and a dash of lemon. Fold in the fresh berries.
- Once the salmon is cooked, remove it from the pan immediately and transfer to a holding tray.
- Artfully arrange the garnish on the plate.
- Gently transfer the salmon to the plate.
- Finish with a few dollops of the crema and a spoonful of the vinegar reduction.
- Serve immediately for a taste of beautiful B.C.