Salmon and wild garlic is a plate of food to eat with your eyes.The glorious pink of the fish (I always use wild salmon, which makes it an extravagant mid-week dinner but, as I like to remind my accounting self, it’s still cheaper to do that than cook it when friends are round at the weekend); the pretty, pale green of the cucumber and the vibrant yellow of the waxy spuds – just looking at it makes you feel as if summer is almost here. This dish calls for a wine that makes you feel the same way, and – klaxon – it doesn’t have to be white. Light-bodied reds bring out the succulence of salmon.With leaves involved, look for a sappy red that won’t fight the chlorophyll – you want vigour and almost astringency rather than fruity softness or tannin.Think beaujolais rather than pinot noir. Pretty much any pale rosé will be good too, although it’s still a bit early in the year for that. As for whites, the classic is chablis. Its pert gloss emphasizes the pink taste of the salmon and the texture is a hit with the waxy potatoes too. Beyond that, I’d either be looking for a chardonnay that the sun gleams through, to bring out the creamy textures, or for an unoaked white from Italy, Spain, France or Portugal that tastes as if it’s been marinated with herbs. A spring evening on a plate and in a glass.
4 GOOD MATCHES:
Godello As Caixas 2012 Spain, 13% (£9.99, Majestic)
Godello is the grape, a Spanish white with the smooth rounded feel of chablis that tastes of pears and chamomile. A lovely near-summer drink.
Malvira Roero Arneis 2012 Italy, 13% (£8.24, Waitrose)
Arneis is an unusual italian grape from the north west of the country that tastes of citrus pith (more lemon, but sometimes grapefruit too). It has elbows and vim.
Tesco Finest* Picpoul de Pinet 2012/13 France, 12.5% (£7.99, Tesco)
It’s made near thau oyster basin in the south of France where thousands of oysters are harvested each year but this saline, refreshing white is also lovely with salmon.
Vin de Pays de l’Ardeche Gamay 2013 France, 12% (£5.49, M&S)
The spanking new vintage of this light, sappy red wine made from Beaujolais’ gamay grape has spring written all over it. Pop it in the fridge to cool for 20 minutes before drinking.
Salmon with potato salad and wold garlic recipe
small waxy new potatoes 500g (such as Charlotte)
white wine vinegar 1 tbsp
juniper berries 4, gently crushed
Dijon mustard 2 generous tsp
salmon fillets 2, skin on
wild garlic leaves 2 handfuls, shredded (optional)
lemon 1/2, finely zested
Peel, halve and use a teaspoon to scrape the seeds out of the cucumber. Slice into 1-2cm thick pieces. Cut the potatoes into even sized chunks and put in a pan of boiling water to cook for about 10 minutes until just tender. While the potatoes are boiling, make the dressing by combining the white wine vinegar, 5 tbsps of olive oil, juniper berries and mustard and whisking to a thick emulsion. Season. Drain the potatoes and mix with the dressing while hot.
Fry the salmon fillets, skin-side down, in hot oil until the skin is crispy and the fish just cooked through. Mix the garlic leaves, cucumber and lemon zest into the potato salad and serve immediately.
PER SERVING 737 kcals, protein 35g , carbs44g,fat46.9g,satfat7.3g,fibre4.1g, salt 0.8g.
This feature was published in May 2014
Photographs: Sam Stowell
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