I've never been the type of person who chooses a bottle of wine or a chocolate bar based on the label alone. Until now, that is. If you've seen the movie Bridget Jones's Baby, this flavor-packed salmon will immediately ring a bell. And now, thanks to Ottolenghi's new cookbook, Simple, you can recreate it at home.
As Ottolenghi explains, "This is the dish Patrick Dempsey's character tells Renée Zellweger that he would have brought her on their imaginary second date," procured from Ottolenghi's London eatery, Ottolenghi. And while this salmon dish has never actually been on the menu, it's easy to imagine it there. Making it reminded me never to shy away from unlikely pairings, and reinforced what I already knew: that condiments are king, and salmon makes for a quick and easy meal.
The Salsa That Will Instantly Upgrade Your Salmon
Second to the recipe title, the pine nut salsa — made with briny capers, green olives, currants, fresh herbs, and lemon — immediately got my attention. Not only did it exceed my expectations, but the impressive-looking dinner was also easier to pull off than I expected.
The whole meal requires just 10 ingredients (that's including the oft excluded olive oil, salt, and pepper), the bulk of which are used for the pine nut salsa. In fact, that's where you'll also spend the bulk of your time: chopping, sautéing, and mixing it together. After that, the salmon fillets require just five minutes in a hot skillet.
While the bold, salty-sweet flavors of this chunky salsa might overwhelm a piece of mild white fish, full-flavored, fatty salmon is the perfect partner. I'm also inclined to pair it with chicken thighs or pork, or spoon it over a hummus bowl.
Ottolenghi's Bridget Jones' Pan-Fried Salmon with Pine Nut Salsa
(4 to 5 ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
medium celery stalks, leaves removed but kept for garnish, stalks cut into 1/2-inch dice
pine nuts, coarsely chopped
large green olives (about 8), pitted and cut into 1/2-inch dice
saffron threads mixed with 1 tablespoon hot water
fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
finely grated lemon zest
freshly squeezed lemon juice
Place the currants in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water and set aside to soak for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prep the salmon and make the salsa.
Drizzle the salmon with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Season with a rounded 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Set aside while you make the salsa.
Heat 5 tablespoons of the oil into a large sauté pan over high heat until shimmering. Add the diced celery and pine nuts and fry, stirring frequently, until the nuts begin to brown (don't take your eyes off them, as they can easily burn), 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the capers, caper brine, olives, saffron and its water, and a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Drain the currants. Add the currants, parsley, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and stir to combine; set aside.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the salmon fillets, skin side down, and fry until the skin is crisp, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, then flip the fillets over and continue to fry for 2 to 4 minutes (depending on how much you like the salmon cooked). Remove from the pan and set aside.
Arrange the salmon on four plates and spoon on the salsa. Scatter the celery leaves on top.
Recipes and photographs reprinted from Ottolenghi SIMPLE. Copyright © 2018 by Yotam Ottolenghi. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Jonathan Lovekin. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.