Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Olive Oil-Poached Salmon Bellies with Cantaloupe-Preserved Lemon Salsa

I love when it's my CSF (community-supported fishery) pick-up day from Real Good Fish and they email with the opportunity to add on extra items. Heck, yeah! I'm always up for more fresh seafood. In this case, I added on salmon bellies and salmon spoon meat. Okay, I'll admit that I didn't know what salmon spoon meat was, but I'll get to that later.

These fish are King Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and landed in Moss Landing by either Dave Toriumi of the Grinder, Jerry Carvalho of the Santa Rita II, or Tuk Yi of the Papa Son. Processed by Del Mar Seafoods in Watsonville on the 25th, they were on our plates on the 26th. Talk about fresh from the bay...this is why I belong to a CSF!

I've had a long fascination with salmon bellies, but, until yesterday, I've never actually cooked them myself. I paired the dinner with a bottle of Chiaretto for an upcoming #ItalianFWT event. Stay tuned for that.

Ingredients serves 4


  • 1 pound salmon bellies
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • olive oil


  • ½ C diced ripe cantaloupe
  • ½ C diced heirloom tomatoes
  • ½ C diced, peeled cucumber
  • 1 T diced preserved lemon rind (one of my recipes here)
  • 1 t fresh thyme leaves
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil


Place the cantaloupe, tomatoes, cucumber, lemon rind, and fresh thyme together in a medium mixing bowl. Add in a glug or two of olive oil and stir to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper, as needed. Set aside.

Select a large enough pot that the salmon bellies can sit flat without touching each other. I use my Le Creuset braiser.

Pour olive oil into the pot so that it’s about ½” deep. Add garlic and thyme. Bring the olive oil to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. 

Lower the salmon bellies – skin-side down – into the warm oil. Poach for 10 to 12 minutes. Flip the bellies and poach for another 5 to 6 minutes. If using immediately, serve warm. If using later, let salmon cool and refrigerate.

To Serve
Place salmon bellies on individual serving plates and spoon the salsa over the top. Serve immediately.

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