“I prefer small simple styles to showcase a product rather than cooking the billy out of it ”
For renowned Kiwi chef Shaun Clouston, a good meal needs a good story served with it.
So when the Logan Brown executive chef was asked to prepare King Salmon for the New Zealand Aquaculture conference, he knew he’d need a great yarn to go with it.
“These guys know salmon better than any one. After all, they farm it, market it and sell it, so they’ve seen just about everything ever done with salmon.”
But one thing the industry insiders hadn’t seen was the wasabi plants growing wild at New Zealand King Salmon’s Takaka hatchery.
“I noticed it on a previous trip to their farm,” he said.
“I went over and picked it especially for this dish.”
The dish was a New Zealand King Salmon smoked with sauvignon blanc vine topped off with fresh wasabi personally grated by Shaun for each guest.
“The wasabi was a special touch that added to the experience as each person came up to the tasting station,” he said.
“And it was an important part of the story.”
But how did it taste?
“Well, judging by the response, it tasted great,” he said.
“The main thing with King Salmon is not to over cook it. We use King Salmon quite a bit at Logan Brown and most of the applications use a nice, hot smoke.
“It’s a real slow method of cooking – a whole side takes about 40 minutes – a slow delicate cook.
“If cooked too quickly, the whole taste profile changes.”
Although a salmon dish, smoked with sauvignon blanc vine might sound rather extravagant, it’s actually quite a simple dish and in that, Shaun says, lies the beauty.
“I prefer small simple styles to showcase a product rather than cooking the billy out of it,” Shaun said.
“When using King Salmon, the key is in using complementary flavours.
“King Salmon has the highest healthy oil of any salmon and that lends itself a lot better to lighter cooking methods.”
Shaun put this into action but serving the smoked salmon alongside a Mandarin and basil cured King Salmon gravlax with wasabi mayonnaise, and King Salmon tartar with capers and golden shallots.