The wonders of wild salmon
It was around a year or two ago that wild salmon became available at Apolónia supermarket. It is not easy to find wild salmon for sale anywhere, even in Scotland, so to have this product available to us here in the Algarve is quite a treat.
Personally, I find most of the normal farmed salmon found at supermarkets, restaurants and even sushi bars around the world to be rather unpleasant. Loaded as it is with growth hormones and antibiotics, its fatty flesh has very little in common with the lean flesh of real wild salmon.
Apolónia get it in weekly on Thursdays and it has got quite a following amongst regular clients, often selling out on Thursday evening and rarely still available by the weekend. What’s more, this wild salmon from Alaska is shipped frozen and, so I am told, slowly defrosts in a refrigerated truck so it reaches clients ready to sell each Thursday. This means that, unless we cure it, we can sadly not have wild salmon as part of our Christmas dinner because, of course, it cannot be refrozen.
Whilst smoking fish at home is not easy, there is a simple method of curing with whiskey, salt and sugar that works extremely well. Simply drizzle with single malt whiskey, cover with a mixture of salt and sugar in equal quantities, wrap in clingfilm and cure in the fridge for 24 hours (for a whole side, less time for smaller cuts).
But my favourite ways to eat wild salmon are pan-seared as a fillet, treating it in a similar way as fresh tuna, keeping it raw on the inside. If this wild salmon is fully cooked through, it becomes dry and loses all the qualities that make it so special. Even better is to make a salmon tartar, have the skin removed and mince it up with a sharp knife, adding the flavourings of your choice.
By PATRICK STUART