Even non-salmon lovers can’t resist this dish. Not too oily, glazed in tangy pomegranate molasses, just cooked and with a side of sharp quick-pickled red onion and a dollop of herby yoghurt mayo, it is a total winner.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1½ tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly crushed
2 tablespoons salt
½ cup boiling water
5½ cups cold water
1.5-kilogram (approx) side of salmon
dill fronds, to garnish
⅓ cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 small red onion, finely sliced
HERBY YOGHURT MAYO
1 cup natural Greek yoghurt
½ cup good-quality egg mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons roughly chopped capers, plus 1 tablespoon whole to garnish
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus a few fronds to garnish
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
SALMON: Mix the olive oil with the garlic, pomegranate molasses and cumin seeds in a small bowl. Set aside.
Put the salt in a big roasting dish, deep enough to lay the salmon in, and with capacity for 6 cups of water. Add the ½ cup boiling water to the salt and whisk to dissolve. Top up with the 5½ cups of cold water and leave to cool.
Once cold, add the salmon, flesh side down, and leave in the brine for 30 minutes. This will help to prevent the milky white fat from rising to the top of the salmon while cooking.
QUICK-PICKLED ONION: Put the vinegar and sugar in a small, non-reactive bowl and whisk to dissolve the sugar. Add the onion, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
HERBY YOGHURT MAYO: Mix the yoghurt, mayonnaise and lemon juice in a small bowl. Add the chopped capers, dill and mint, and season to taste. For a little extra drama, a drizzle of pomegranate molasses swirled through the mayo is also a tasty option. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
SALMON: Preheat the oven to 230°C regular bake. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
Remove the salmon from the brine and pat dry. Lay skin-side down on the baking tray and brush with the olive oil mixture. Bake for 10-15 minutes. I did 15 minutes for my 1.5-kilogram piece, but if your salmon is smaller, stick to 12 minutes or less – you really don’t want to overcook it.
Once cooked, the salmon can be served immediately or refrigerated until half an hour before serving. When ready to serve, garnish with dill fronds and drained onion and serve with the mayo, garnished with capers and dill fronds.