Giovanni uses New Zealand king salmon for this dish. He likes to serve the finished dish with broken pieces of pane carasau, a Sardinian flatbread, from selected delis.
- 1 kg side of salmon, scaled, skin on, pin-boned
- 2 baby fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
- 1 inner celery stalk, thinly sliced
- baby parsley, to serve
- 220 g (1 cup firmly packed) brown sugar
- 125 g (½ cup) fine sea salt
- 80 g fennel seeds, toasted
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 orange, zested
- 60 g bottarga (see Note), grated
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) extra virgin olive oil
- 60 ml (¼ cup) lemon juice
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
You will need wood chips to smoke the fish. Start this recipe a day ahead.
Chilling time 24 hours
Drink 2010 Santadi Villa Solais Vermentino di Sardegna. Or try a floral and aromatic white wine, rich in minerality.
To make curing mixture, combine all ingredients in a glass or ceramic dish. Place salmon, skin-side down, in the dish, and rub curing mixture all over salmon, ensuring it is covered on top and around the sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Remove salmon from curing mixture and wipe with a clean, damp cloth to remove all traces of mixture.
To smoke the salmon, line a wok with 2 sheets of heavy-duty foil, place wood chips in the bottom of the wok and heat over high heat. Place a trivet or small cake rack on top of wood chips. Once the wood chips start to smoke, place salmon, skin-side up, on the rack, cover and cook for 5 minutes for lightly smoked; smoking for longer will increase the intensity.
Meanwhile, to make the dressing, whisk together all ingredients in a bowl and season with salt. Place fennel and celery in a bowl, pour over the dressing and toss to combine.
Remove skin from salmon and discard. Cut salmon into 2 mm-thick slices and divide among plates. Top with fennel salad and scatter with parsley, to serve.
• Bottarga are dried and salted mullet roe sacs. They are available from selected delis, specialist food shops and fishmongers.
Photography by Chris Chen and Alan Benson. Wine suggestions by Tim Watkins.