Crispy Skin Salmon with Sweet Potato Puree & A Browned Butter Citrus Sauce
The plight of an over-achieving (but not so over-achieving that I went to med school) high school female is often underscored by a multitude of things. Do you fall squarely into the category of being good at most things but not truly great at one thing? Then please, come hold my hand so that we can navigate this together without paying for therapy or a life coach.
There is a podcast that I vehemently recommend to all my friends in a similar situation. "How to Fail" with Elizabeth Day is the Ali of podcasts and you will not change my mind. Side-note: my guilty pleasure podcast is "Desert Island Dishes"; enjoy that one foodies. I digress; Elizabeth Day sits down with the most expansive range of talents and success stories one could possibly imagine. She asks them a simple question that helps her navigate the 50 or so minutes she has to interview them - what are your three biggest failures? These failures include companies going bust, spending frivolously, getting plastic surgery, not getting plastic surgery, career decisions, relationship choices, not wearing sunscreen etc. You get the gist; you will hear just about everything. The failures aren't just left in the air to intoxicate the room however; they are chosen by the interviewee because they were often necessary failures that educated them or led them to success (however they choose to measure that). Imagine Lisa Kudrow goes on the podcast; a sure-fire failure of hers would be failing to nail the pilot for Frasier. For if she hadn't been pulled from the show, she never would've gotten her role on Friends.
My obsession with this podcast emanates from my being distinctly unsuccessful. I am 24, I am seemingly unemployed, and I don't have much to show for my 6 years out of high school other than a degree and some certificates. I know that undersells my achievements but this is that plight I mentioned earlier. I feel as if I was always expected to get a university degree; like that's the least I should've achieved in this time. Whether that's unnecessarily harsh on myself or not, it's the brewing perception I have. I can't say that this cognition won't be stuck on a loop for a while, but I can offer two pieces of advice to any of you who stuck it out to the end of this blog post. Firstly, go listen to that podcast, it's one hell of a perspective changer, and two, look at a skill you have, that you didn't have at the age of 18. When I successfully made this salmon dish for my mum the other night, I felt this overwhelming sense of accomplishment. No way in Simon Cowell's hell, would I have been able to produce this at 18. That's a success in and of itself and it has genuinely bolstered me.
To anyone who is unfamiliar with my website, I have this itch for writing newsletter-type blog posts that are loosely based on the recipe but mostly just a platform for me to talk about me, and things I find interesting. Enjoy the buttery, garlicky, citrusy, crispy skin salmon, I know you'll love it.
Sweet Potato Puree
5og of butter
2 shallots, sliced
1 clove of garlic, sliced
A pinch of cayenne pepper
400g of thinly sliced sweet potato
400ml of whole milk
1 teaspoon of rice bran oil (or any neutral oil)
1 large salmon fillet (or 2 medium-sized) - skin removed
5 tablespoons of butter
The zest of 1 lemon or 2 limes
The juice of 1 lemon or 2 limes
4 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup of roughly chopped parsley
Sweet Potato Puree
In medium-sized pot, melt your butter over a medium heat. Add in your shallots and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add in your garlic, cayenne pepper, and some salt & pepper then sauté that for a further minute or two.
Add in your sweet potato and toss it through the shallot and garlic mixture.
Pour in your milk and leave, uncovered to simmer for 20 minutes or until the milk is mostly gone. Stir often to avoid creating a grainy puree.
Using a stick blender (or a regular blender), puree the sweet potato until silky.
Preheat your oven to 180℃.
Spray or brush your oil on to a pan. Place the pan over a medium-high heat. Once hot, lay your salmon skin-side down. Leave for 30 seconds then remove the salmon from the pan and take the pan off the heat.
Peel the skin off the salmon and place it in on a lined baking tray (scaly skin facing up). Place another sheet of baking paper over the top, then place another tray or something heavy (I used a cake tin) on top of that. This will keep the skin from retracting.
Place in the oven for 20 minutes.
When the skin is done remove it from the oven, and turn the heat up to 200℃.
Melt your butter in your frying pan over a medium-high heat.
Place your salmon in the frying pan, top-side down and cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip it over and place the salmon in the oven for 4 minutes.
Put the frying pan back on the heat and add your garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the butter.
Baste your salmon for 30 seconds to a minute then remove from the heat.
Serve the salmon with your sweet potato puree, crispy skin, and fresh parsley. Spoon over the butter sauce and ENJOY!!