Bridget Jones’s Pan-Fried Salmon with Pine Nut Salsa

by Susan Hanna

This recipe from Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi refers to the dish Patrick Dempsey’s character tells Renée Zellweger’s Bridget Jones that he would have brought her on their imaginary second date in the movie Bridget Jones’s Baby. “From Ottolenghi,” says Dempsey, “delicious and healthy!” According to Ottolenghi, “What sounded like a bit of product placement on our part was in fact no such thing. The recipe didn’t even exist on our menu, so this is a retrospective acknowledgement.” Whatever its origins, this is a great way to serve simple pan-fried or oven-baked salmon fillets.

Serves 4.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The currants, pine nuts, capers, olives and saffron may contain additives or colour, so check the labels. No-Name currents and pine nuts are additive free. I use Unico capers and President’s Choice garlic-stuffed green olives. I often substitute turmeric for saffron, as the latter, depending on the source, can contain colour. For more recipes using all-natural ingredients, visit Eye For a Recipe.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup (100 g) currants
  • 4 salmon fillets, skin on and pin-boned (1 lb, 2 oz/500g)
  • 7 tbsp (100 ml) olive oil
  • 4 celery sticks (1 ¾ cups/180 g),  cut into ½ inch (1 cm) dice, leaves removed but kept for garnish
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) pine nuts, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) capers, plus 2 tbsp (30 ml) of their brine
  • Large green olives, pitted and cut into ½ inch (1cm) dice (about 8/60 ml)
  • 1 good pinch of saffron threads (¼ tsp/1 ml), mixed with 1 tbsp (15 ml) hot water
  • 1 cup (250 ml) parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon: finely grate the zest to get 1 tsp (5 ml), then juice to get 1 tsp (5 ml)
  • Salt and black pepper

Preparation:

  1. Cover the currants with boiling water and set aside to soak for 20 minutes while you prep the salmon and make the salsa.
  2. Mix the salmon with 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of oil, 3 teaspoons (15 ml) of salt and a good grind of pepper. Set aside while you make the salsa.
  3. Put 5 tbsp (75 ml) of olive oil into a large sauté pan and place on a high heat. Add the celery and pine nuts and fry for 4–5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the nuts begin to brown (don’t take your eyes off them, as they can easily burn). Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the capers and their brine, the olives, saffron and its water and a pinch of salt. Drain the currants and add these, along with the parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice. Set aside.
  4. Put the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of oil into a large frying pan and place on a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the salmon fillets, skin side down, and fry for 3 minutes, until the skin is crisp. Reduce the heat to medium, then flip the fillets over and continue to fry for 2–4 minutes (depending on how much you like the salmon cooked). Remove from the pan and set aside.
  5. Arrange the salmon on four plates and spoon over the salsa. If you have any celery leaves reserved, scatter these on top.

From Simple, by Yotam Ottolenghi