Eat the Season – Salmon

By George McIvor, chairman of The Master Chefs of Great Britain

Did you know? Once thought of as a luxury food, salmon is now one of the most popular fish species in Europe, North America and Japan. Salmon aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food production systems – farmed salmon accounts for 70% of the market. It is a priority commodity for the World Wildlife Fund because it has the potential to feed more people with fewer resources than other protein sources and with less environmental impact. The Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation estimates exports are worth £500million and that 2,000 people are directly involved in the industry and up to 10,000 indirectly. Twenty-five years ago Scottish salmon was the first non-French food to be awarded the prestigious Label Rouge – a recognised mark of quality and distinction. Salmon is incredibly versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked – think sushi, smoked, gravadlax, grilled, poached, pan-fried or barbecued to name just a few.

What to look for …

• When buying a whole fish make sure that the eyes are not sunken or cloudy, the skin is moist (it should feel slightly slippery), the scales are firmly attached to the skin and it has a bright natural silver colour. The flesh should feel firm.

• When buying fillets again the flesh should be firm and compact and not look ragged.

• It goes without saying that the fish should have a fresh sea smell.

1. Smokin’! Smoked salmon is a firm favourite with everyone and this Uig lodge smoked salmon with soft boiled quail’s egg, capers, shallot and gherkins marries a host of wonderful flavours.

2. Great Scot Staying with the Scottish theme, create a Tian of Wild Scottish Salmon and serve it with parsley purée, Eassie Farm asparagus and a fabulous Arbroath Smokie sauce.

3. Absolute gin-ius The use of gin imparts subtle botanicals to the sticky citrus glaze coating succulent Omega 3 rich salmon fillets. Serve with a beetroot and orange salad for a colourful and healthy mid-week dinner.

4. The perfect cure This wonderful Lapraig 15 cured salmon, burnt cucumber, oyster emulsion and sea herbs was served at The Master Chefs of Great Britain Annual Lunch.

5. Try Teriyaki This hot roast Scottish salmon with Teriyaki Shitake mushrooms and rocket salad makes for a quick and easy lunch.

Recipes supplied by: 1. David Kelman, 2. Garry Watson of Gordon’s Restaurant, Inverkeilor, 3. Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, 4. Jonathan Wright of Gleneagles Hotel, 5. Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation All of the recipes are taken from The Master Chefs of Great Britain magazine – masterchefs – or provided by the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation. Full recipes are available online at www.stiritupmagazine.co.uk/recipes.

The Master Chefs of Great Britain was formed in 1980 to provide a forum for the exchange of culinary ideas and to further the profession through training and the guidance of young chefs. In addition, the association seeks to promote all that is best about British cuisine and produce. For more information on the association and the competitions and training opportunities they provide contact masterchefs@msn.com.