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Caramelized Atlantic Salmon with Red Thai Curry and Fiddlehead Fern Ragout
Recipe from Chef Patrick Glennon

Red Thai Curry Sauce

This recipe with the exception of the fiddle head ferns, can be done at almost any time of the year. Fiddle head ferns are one of those spring items, like daffodils, that we get to enjoy at this time of the year.

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 ounces red Thai curry paste
  • 2 shallots, peeled and finely minced
  • 1 small stalk ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely crushed
  • 3 star anise whole
  • 1 teaspoon toasted, cracked coriander seed
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk
  • 1 ripe papaya, peeled, de-seeded and roughly chopped

1. Place a one quart capacity saucepan over medium heat. Add the sesame oil, then the red Thai curry paste. Cook the paste for two minutes while gently stirring.

2. Add the shallots, ginger, garlic, star anise and coriander. Sweat these ingredients for one minute.

3. Add the rice wine vinegar and reduce by half the original volume.

4. Add all the remaining ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes on low heat.

5. Blend the sauce in a blender until smooth. (Note: Pulse the blender before letting it run so the hot liquid does not expand.)

6. Strain the sauce through a fine strainer and discard the remaining pulp.

Fiddlehead Fern Ragout

  • 1 pound fiddlehead ferns
  • 8 ounces cippolini onions, peeled
  • 2 vine ripe tomatoes, peeled, de-seeded and diced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1 ounce brown sugar
  • One-quarter cup freshly chopped flat leafed Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped mint
  • Salt and fresh pepper to taste

1. Prepare the fiddle head ferns by trimming them about 1 inch from their curly heads. If the stalks are tender, you can leave a little more. Wash them by letting them soak in some cold, salted water for about 15 minutes. This will help remove any insects that may be in the ferns. Gently rinse them in fresh cold water.

2. Place a 2 quart saucepan over high heat with 1 quart of water and 1 tablespoon of sea salt. When this comes to a rolling boil drop the fiddle head ferns in. While they are cooking, prepare a colander in your sink and some ice water to "shock" them or stop their cooking. Let the fiddleheads cook until they are slightly tender. Drain them into the cold ice water. Drain them again and set them aside.

3. In a small half quart saucepan, place the peeled cippolini onions, chicken stock, butter and brown sugar. Cook covered over medium heat for 5 minutes. (Note: At this point start cooking your salmon.)

After 5 minutes, remove the cover and continue cooking until the chicken stock is almost completely evaporated. At this point, gently stir the onions until a glaze starts to form. Add all the remaining ingredients and fiddle head ferns. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Caramelized Salmon

  • 4 8-ounce salmon filets, bones and skin removed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cracked pink peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons toasted cracked coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup low sodium soy or tamari

1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.

2. Mix together the sugar, peppers and coriander. Lay this out in a shallow pie pan or plate.

3. Press the salmon filets in the sugar mixture on both sides.

4. Bring a medium skillet or saute pan to high heat. Add vegetable oil then the salmon filets (skinned side up). When an amber caramel starts to form (1 minute) around the edges of the salmon filets, turn them over carefully.

5. Pour the soy sauce over the filets and place them in the oven. Cook them medium rare to medium (about 4 minutes). Spoon any extra caramel over the top and they are ready to serve.

To Serve:
Pool some of the Thai Curry Sauce in your serving dishes. I prefer to use large pasta bowls for this. Place a salmon filet in the center of each dish and spoon some of the fiddle head fern ragout over each filet.