Confit Salmon with Spinach and Tomato by George Calombaris

A couple of weeks ago Koen and I had another cookout. We needed a starter that was relatively low maintenance and I wanted to try something new with the sousvide. This recipe is from George Calombaris fit the bill nicely as I hadn’t cooked fish in it before.

The recipe was featured as a Masterclass recipe from George in the 6th season of Masterchef Australia.

The confit salmon itself was utterly delicious. The very low temperature (only 38C) made us curious what the consistency of the salmon would be and whether it would become compressed by vacuuming. It didn’t; we got the moistest and delicate salmon I ever had whilst still preserving a very pure flavour as the sousvide preparation only needed some salt and a drizzle of olive oil. (I couldn’t find black salt, so used some smoked grey salt to finish).

The title of the recipe is accurate but it sells the other components short as they are quite refined.

  • The “spinach” is basically wraps made from a single layer of steamed spinach filled with sautéed spinach with some garlic and shallots. The wraps are moulded using cling film and then kept in a steamer to reheat before serving. Incredibly simple (and open to experimenting), beautiful presentation and provides the necessary texture in this dish.
  • The “tomato” is a tangy/sweet soup due to the addition of orange juice. The soup is brought together by butter and olive oil, but despite the amounts used it was not heavy at all and even very enjoyable on its own.

I still have my questions about the actual use of blitzing the cherry tomatoes and butter in a food processor. As you get microbits of butter, passing it through the sieve is a huge pain. As you subsequently will need to heat it until the butter melts anyway, we didn’t really get it why you can’t dice the butter and put it into the saucepan with the sieved tomatoes afterwards. However, having watched quite a few series of Masterchef Australia, I do know that George’s recipes are usually quite technical, so who am I to disagree…

Recipe accuracy:
From a portion perspective, it’s spot on  to serve as a starter. Used slightly bigger pieces of salmon to make it a main course.

Please note that the recipe on the Masterchef Australia website is incomplete as the text from step 3 is also shown as step 4. From the ingredients list I pieced together that step 4 should read as follows:

Sauté the remaining spinach with 15gr of butter, the grated garlic and chopped shallots until wilted.

Suggested tweaks:
From a size perspective, the use of baby spinach to make the wraps would not be my first choice. Even using the bigger wild spinach leaves was already a challenge to line the bottom of the steamer. For this I used perforated baking paper to ease steaming as well as be able to easily remove the spinach wraps from the hot steamer in one piece. Once cooled, I put a piece of clingfilm on top and turned it upside down and then peeled back the baking paper. Then you immediately have them ready to be filled, shaped and reheated.

Verdict: 9/10; Nothing to fault it! The salmon was gorgeous and everything worked together really well. Will definitely be made again.

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