I’ve tried doing this dish a few times before, and just didn’t get there. First time, the potatoes were simply too big and the slices too thick. Second time, with smaller potatoes — slices still too thick, and the potatoes didn’t cook in the time it took the fish to cook.
Led me to the realizations:
- Use fingerling potatoes. They’re a more appropriate size to represent fish scales.
- Use the mandoline on a setting that looks ridiculously thin.
- Cook the potatoes half-way. If potatoes take 20 minutes to cook, and fish takes 10, well… duh.
So today I went to the St Lawrence Market and bought a bunch of fingerling potatoes from Phil’s and a fillet of sockeye salmon from Mike’s.
To start, I scaled the fillet and scored the skin after tossing it into a hot frying pan for 30 seconds (because I realized I hadn’t scored it! — amazingly, it scores much easier after a little heat has been applied to the skin).
Replaced the fish skin-side-down in the frying pan with a little bit of butter underneath, with hopes that the butter would enable the skin to come up easily from the cast iron.
I didn’t peel the potatoes: they were very thin skinned, and I thought the edges would add to the appearance of scales. I sliced the fingerling potatoes normal to the long axis, to get little round pieces. I sliced as thinly as I could – you could (almost) read through them. Then I put the slices in salted water and cooked them in the microwave oven for 8 minutes. I think I could have done them a little longer, so they would have been creamier when eating. They were still a little crunchy.
I put it in the oven for 15 minutes at 325F, let it rest for a couple of minutes, then plated.
That’s a half-pound of sockeye salmon, and only about one and a half fingerling potatoes. Enough fish for two, but you may want more starches in your meal than just the potato coating, depending on the physical activity and food proclivities of the eaters 🙂
I added ground pepper before serving. I’ve read that cracked pepper photographs better: I’ll have to get some (or bang some up in my mortar) and give it a try.
Happy New Year! I hope you eat well with healthy food this coming year.