Modern Salmon a La Nage: Flash-Seared Salmon with Fish Milk Foam, Radish Confit, Carrot Mousse, Baby Pumpernickel Croutons and Watercress

Modern Salmon a La Nage: Flash-Seared Salmon with Fish Milk Foam, Radish Confit, Carrot Mousse, Baby Pumpernickel Croutons and Watercress

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Credit: Justin Johnson, Executive Chef, UW Health Partners, Watertown Regional Medical Center, Watertown, Wis.
Sizzle, Summer 2012


6 baby organic carrots, de-stemmed, peeled, sliced on bias
6½ t. butter, divided
1 quart + 2 T. water
¼ t. sea salt
1 t. nutmeg
1 T. unflavored gelatin (or gelatin sheets)
¾ cup cold milk, divided
24 radishes, stems removed
2²/³ T. sunflower oil, divided
Salt and pepper, as needed
5 thyme sprigs, divided
¼ cup diced celery
¼ cup diced turnips
½ cup diced onions
1 lb. halibut bones, rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 T. whole black peppercorns
1 slice pumpernickel rye bread
¼ t. white pepper
1 t. agar-agar
1 lb. Atlantic salmon, cut into
2 oz. rectangular pieces
1 t. kosher salt
1 t. fresh cracked pepper
24 watercress sprigs
8 fennel tops


1. Prepare carrot mousse: Glaze carrots in the classic French method. In saute pan, combine carrots, 2 T. butter and 2 T. water; cover with parchment lid. Cook gently on low heat for 20 minutes or until tender. Season with sea salt and nutmeg. Soften gelatin in ½ cup cold milk until milk thickens (if using gelatin sheets, follow instructions). Transfer gelatin to saucepot. Place over low heat; stir continuously. Heat until fully melted. In blender, combine gelatin and cooked carrots; purée until smooth. Divide puréed carrots in rectangular-shaped silicon molds. Place in cooler until set, approximately 2 hours.

2. Prepare radish confit: Spread radishes on sheet tray. Drizzle 2 T. sunflower oil over radishes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; arrange 3 thyme sprigs over top. Cover with parchment lid.
Do not wrap tightly. Cook at 200°F for 1½ hours. Reserve for service.

3. Prepare fish fumet: In medium stockpot, melt remaining butter. Saute celery, turnips, onions and bones until vegetables are translucent. Add remaining water, remaining thyme sprigs, bay leaves and peppercorns. Simmer uncovered on low heat for 1 hour. Strain through chinois or strainer with cheesecloth. Reserve for use in fresh milk foam.

4. Prepare pumpernickel croutons: In dry skillet, toast pumpernickel brunoise with remaining sunflower oil and white pepper, tossing continuously (do not burn). Remove from heat; cool. Reserve for service.

5. Prepare fish milk foam: In saucepot on high heat, combine remaining milk, 1 T. fish fumet and agar-agar. Whisk constantly until it begins to foam and triple in volume (do not to burn). Set aside.

6. Prepare salmon: Season salmon with salt and pepper. Put oil on paper towel; wipe dry skillet. Put skillet on high heat; heat until oil coating begins to smoke slightly. Add salmon; sear quickly, about 45 seconds on each side (salmon will cook only about ¼ inch up each side, staying “blue” in the middle).

7. To plate: Arrange salmon and 1 square-inch cube carrot mousse in line on plate. Place
croutons on top of mousse. Place 3 radishes in line with mousse and salmon. Garnish with watercress and fennel. Finish by reactivating foam; spoon generous amount over salmon.


8 servings


Main Dish, Seafood, Sizzle

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