Alaska Coho Salmon En Escabeche with Toasted Baguette and Fava Bean Puree
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 50
- Servings: 8
- Yield: 1 platter
- 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 medium spring onion or small yellow onion, sliced thin
- 2 medium carrots, peeled, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
- 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 5 sprigs thyme
- ½ lemon, seeded, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
- 3 bay leaves
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup dry sherry or dry white wine
- 8 pickled caperberries
- 1 pound piece Alaska coho salmon filet, skin off, pin bones removed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 baguette, cut diagonally into 16 (1/2 -inch thick) slices
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 cup fava bean puree (recipe follows)
- Thyme, for garnish
Fava Bean Puree
- 3 pounds fresh fava beans, shucked
- 4 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 5 large mint leaves
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Step 1 Read the chef's notes
In the early nineteen nineties, Kimberly and I spent a year in France working at a Michelin starred restaurant. On rare occasions when we had time off, we drove for hours to explore the country and absorb its culture. After a particularly long stretch with no repose, we were gifted a few days off. Without hesitation, Kimberly and I decided on a longer adventure. We borrowed the little company truck that chef drove to farmers markets for shopping, pointed it due southwest, and drove until we crossed the border into Spain. When we made landing in San Sebastian, Kimberly and I were taken by its beauty and sweeping views along The Bay of Biscay. As it was lunch time, and we were getting hungry. So we decided to stop there and dive headfirst into San Sebastian’s culinary treasures.
The narrow streets of this historic city come alive mid-day as people frequent their favorite haunts to satisfy their hunger. Kimberly and I followed crowds from place to place in search of all the best bites. We stumbled into this tiny spot on one of those narrow streets where a dizzying array of prepared dishes called tapas were sprawled right in front of us. The choices were intimidating and impressive all at once. The counter, seemingly defying gravity, held up confidently the enormous weight of platter, upon platter, upon platter of delicious food. As we scanned the offerings, one dish caught our eye. It was a glistening piece of bright colored fish, bathed in an exotic marinade, sitting on a piece of toasted bread. It taunted us to try it. So, we did, alongside several other bites, of course. But this one, was the best of all and the one, Kimberly and I recall the most till this day. It was Salmon En Escabeche.
Escabeche is a marinade and a pickling technique all at once. It is good with vegetables like artichokes and peppers. It is also tasty with chicken and pork. But my favorite way to prepare it is with fish. And of course, for stated reasons above, I am partial to salmon, Alaska Coho Salmon to be exact. This salmon’s meaty texture and the rich taste holds up beautifully to the assertive flavors of escabeche.
I am also a very big fan of early spring fava beans. As a seasonal accompaniment together with fresh mint, they add a vibrant color and a texture contrast to this dish.
So go ahead and give it a try. Enjoy the process and most of all enjoy the dish of Alaska Coho Salmon En Escabeche
Bon Appetit and Buen Provecho.
On Fava Beans: Fresh fava beans nest like jewels inside thick and furry pods. They resist being discovered as they are cloaked by a second membrane. They need to be shucked before cooking and then peeled before offering those bright green and tender beans that seem like the perfect culinary expression of early summer. We came up with the term ‘favanade’ because this dish is like making tapenade. I find fava beans even more perfect when pureed. If you prefer to not puree the beans, just toss all ingredients together and enjoy a lively salad. If fava beans are out of season, I like to substitute with frozen peas.
-Chef Vitaly Paley
Step 2 Prepare the Fava Beans
Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to a boil. While water is heating up, shuck the beans then add them all at once to boiling water. Cook 2 minutes; drain. Refresh beans in an ice bath to stop the cooking. With your fingers snip the outer membrane then gently squeeze to pop the beans out.
Step 3 Puree fava beans
Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Scrape down sides with rubber spatula as needed. Generously season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate. This is best served within a couple of hours of preparation.
Step 4 Make the escabeche marinade
Add 4 Tablespoon olive oil into large, shallow, straight sided sauté pan. Add onions and carrots. Cook over medium heat until vegetables have softened a bit, 5 minutes. Add peppercorns, coriander, paprika, thyme, lemon slices and bay leaves; stir to incorporate. Pour in sherry and cider vinegar then add caperberries. Bring marinade to a simmer then reduce heat to low. Cook just until the alcohol has burned off, about 5 minutes. Turn heat off; place a tight-fitting lid on pan to keep the marinade hot.
Step 5 Cook and marinate the salmon
Prepare a 9-inch straight sided oval platter, a round terracotta cazuela or a 9×9 glass Pyrex dish. The platter should be big enough to hold all the fish but not too big as you need the marinade to come up at least halfway up the cooked fish pieces. Ladle 2 generous spoonfulls marinade into the prepared platter/dish and keep warm. Cut the filet into 8 equal portions. Season generously on all sides with salt and pepper.
In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat remaining 2 Tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Cook the salmon pieces on all 4 sides for exactly 30 seconds per side. Transfer cooked fish carefully into the prepared platter and spoon over the hot marinade. Let it cool completely, cover and refrigerate if not serving right away. (Up to this point this recipe can be made several hours or a day in advance).
Step 6 Toast baguette
Preheat broiler. Place bread slices on a sheet pan; drizzle both sides with a little olive oil. Cook under broiler until golden brown, 15 to 30 seconds per side.
Step 7 Serve
Generously rub both sides of toasts with raw garlic clove. Spread a generous amount of fava bean puree on each slice. Place slices on a large platter. Top each slice with a half piece of Alaska coho salmon escabeche. Generously spoon marinade over each slice and garnish with a caperberry and thyme leaves.