Neil Perry's roast salmon with red wine sauce and braised cabbage

Neil Perry
Roast salmon with red wine sauce and braised cabbage.
Roast salmon with red wine sauce and braised cabbage.  Photo: William Meppem

This dish is from Perry's French-inspired cooking days of the 1980s. He still cooks it, because it's so good.

Ingredients

4 x 180g salmon fillets, skin on

4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

FOR THE SAUCE

750ml good red wine

330ml unsalted veal stock (good quality jellied stock if possible, or use 110g veal demi glace heated with water to make 330ml)

30g unsalted butter, cold and cubed

FOR THE BRAISED CABBAGE

½ chinese cabbage, cut into 4cm-thick slices

sea salt

30g unsalted butter

30ml olive oil

1 small onion, very finely sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 knob ginger, finely julienned

3 tbsp grated light palm sugar

6 tbsp rice wine vinegar

200ml dry white wine

Method

1. To make the braised cabbage, wash and dry the cabbage, sprinkle with salt and leave for 1 hour. Squeeze out the excess water, but don't wash. 

2. Place butter and oil in a small pot on the stove and melt over medium heat. When it starts to foam, add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until soft (5-6 minutes). Add cabbage and stir for 3 minutes, then add palm sugar. Cook for a further 2 minutes, add the vinegar and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the white wine, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the cabbage is tender. 

3. To make the sauce, place the red wine in a pot over medium-high heat and reduce to 150ml (about 20 minutes). Add veal stock, bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium and reduce by two-thirds (12-15 minutes). Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the butter until the sauce falls in ribbons. Season. Keep the sauce warm.

4. One by one, place each fillet skin side up on a chopping board. Using the back of a knife, scrape the skin to remove moisture, then dry with a paper towel. This helps achieve the crispest skin.

5. Season the fish with sea salt. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based non-stick frying pan on medium-high until almost smoking. Add the fish, skin side down, and use a pan to press down hard on the fillets. This helps to make the skin crisp. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the skin is golden brown, then turn and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. By this point, the fish should be medium to medium-rare. Remove with a spatula and place in a warm place to rest for 3 minutes while you cook the bacon.

6. In the same pan, sauté the bacon for 1-2 minutes each side.

7. Serve salmon and bacon with cabbage and wine sauce, topped with a good grind of fresh pepper.