A wonderful salmon dish to be served with Churchill’s Dry White Port.
For the salmon
4 x 175g/5oz salmon fillets, skin on
olive oil, for brushing
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the asparagus ‘gazpacho’
250g/9oz asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed
75ml/2½fl oz extra virgin olive oil
50ml/2fl oz sherry vinegar
75g/2½oz good quality white bread, day old
2 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
½ cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
125g/4½oz smoked almonds, roughly chopped, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180C/355F/Gas 4.
Heat a griddle pan until smoking. Brush the salmon with the olive oil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and griddle for 2-3 minutes on both sides, or until golden-brown all over. Place into the oven to finish cooking for 3-4 more minutes, or until just cooked through.
For the gazpacho, cut off the tips of the asparagus spears and blanch in a pan of boiling water for one minute, then drain and refresh in iced water. Set aside.
Boil the asparagus stems in a pan of boiling water for 8-10 minutes, or until very soft. Allow to cool in the liquid.
Mix the extra virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, bread and garlic together in a large bowl and set aside for ten minutes.
Transfer the bread mixture to a food processor along with the asparagus stems, cucumber, chilli and tarragon and blend until smooth. Add enough of the asparagus cooking liquid to thin out the gazpacho to your desired consistency, and blend again. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To serve, ladle the gazpacho into four serving bowls and gently place a salmon fillet on top of each. Scatter over the chopped smoked almonds and asparagus tips and serve.