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Poached Salmon Salad with French Beans & Barley

Poached Salmon Salad with French Beans & Barley
Recipe Date:
6 October 2020
Serving Size:
Cook Time:
When asparagus is in season, substitute two thirds of the beans for asparagus, blanching the spears for a minute less than the beans cooked here.
  • 50 g pearl barley
  • 500 g piece salmon fillet, skin on, pinboned
  • 250 ml sauternes (dessert wine)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 g thyme sprigs
  • 5 whole allspice
  • 15 black peppercorns
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 400 g french beans, topped and cut in half on an angle
  • 3 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced on an angle
  • 5 g tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
  • 15 g chervil leaves (or small parsley leaves)
  • 90 g cream cheese (or mascarpone)
  • ¼ tsp nigella seeds, to serve

Put the barley in a medium saucepan and cover generously with water. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to medium and simmer for 25 - 40 minutes, testing regularly, until the grains are cooked but still retain a bite. Drain, refresh under cold water, and set aside to dry.

Heat the oven to 180°C. Put the salmon skin side down in a 26cm x 18cm baking dish. Add the wine, bay leaves, thyme, allspice and peppercorns, and sprinkle the fish with 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt. Cover the dish with baking paper and foil, and bake on the middle shelf for 14 - 18 minutes, depending on thickness, until the fish is just cooked but still pink in the middle. Remove from the oven and carefully strain the cooking liquids into a small pan; discard the aromatics. Cover the fish with foil and set it to one side.

Heat the pan containing the cooking juices over a medium heat and reduce for about 10 minutes, until you have two tablespoons of thick liquor left. Allow to cool slightly, then whisk in the lemon juice, two tablespoons of the oil, 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the beans (or asparagus, if in season) and cook for about four minutes, until bright green and tender-crisp. (If using asparagus, it will require less cooking time than the beans). Drain, refresh under cold water and set aside to dry (speeding up the process by spreading the beans out on a clean tea towel).

Put the beans in a large bowl and mix in the barley, spring onion, tarragon, most of the chervil (or parsley), the remaining tablespoon of oil and a generous pinch of salt, and divide between six plates. Break the salmon into chunks, removing any skin, and arrange over each portion. Dot small spoonfuls of cream cheese on top and drizzle over the dressing. Sprinkle over the nigella seeds and remaining chervil, and serve.

Recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi featured in The Guardian | Photograph: Johanna Parkin for The Guardian

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