This is inspired by a Bill Granger recipe, one that has the rare accolade of being something that both my mum and I make on a regular basis (she doesn’t have time to ferment her own water kefir and prove her own sourdough, so our repertoires tend to differ substantially). His way of cooking salmon is revelatory: briefly marinate in fish sauce and sugar, then simply sear on each side for 1 minute over very high heat. The result is a crispy, caramelized exterior while the inside remains deliciously tender and succulent. It combines beautifully with the crunch of fresh greens, the aniseed notes of basil, and the sweet freshness of pomelo. Use a pink grapefruit, segmented, if you can’t find pomelo.
What Ingredient You Need
For the salmon
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon caster sugar
2cm piece of ginger root, grated
2 skin-on salmon fillets
For the salad
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1½ teaspoons caster sugar
½ red onion, very thinly sliced
150g sugar snap peas
½ cucumber halved lengthways, deseeded and thinly sliced into half-moons
1 avocado, stoned, and flesh cut into 2.5cm dice
1 red chili, deseeded and thinly sliced (or seeds in if you want it hotter)
15g Thai basil leaves (or normal basil)
15g mint leaves, roughly torn
a few drops of sesame oil
a quarter of a pomelo
65g cashew nuts
For the salmon, mix together the fish sauce, caster sugar, and ginger in a shallow dish. Add the salmon and set aside in the fridge to marinate while you make the salad – turn the fish occasionally to coat it in the marinade.
Make the salad. In a large bowl, mix together the lime juice, fish sauce, and caster sugar, then add the onion and stir well. This will soften the onion and remove some of its raw harshnesses.
Fill a small saucepan with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add the sugar snap peas. Cook for 1 minute, then drain and refresh under cold, running water. Pat dry with kitchen paper and add the sugar snaps to the bowl with the onion.
Add the cucumber slices to the bowl with the onion and sugar snaps. Add the avocado, chili, basil, mint, and sesame oil.
Peel the thick rind off the pomelo. Peel off the thin, white membrane, breaking the juicy segments into 2cm pieces and adding them to the rest of the salad. Discard the pith and membranes. Toss the salad together.
Heat a large, non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Add the cashews and cook for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan regularly, until they start to toast and become golden. Tip the nuts onto a plate to cool, roughly chop, then add them to the salad. Keep the pan hot.
Remove the salmon from its marinade using a slotted spoon and fry the pieces for 1 minute on each of their four sides (so 4 minutes in total, turning after each minute). The salmon should become slightly black and crispy on all sides. Allow the fillets to rest on a plate for 1 minute, then break them into chunks using a spatula (or your fingers, if you can handle the heat!) and add the chunks to the salad. Toss everything together gently, then divide between two plates. Serve with extra lime to squeeze over, if you like.