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Jekka's Herb Cookbook
by Jekka McVicar
Soups are a nourishing and economical way to feed a family for lunch. This recipe ticks all the boxes and is perfect on a gloomy summer's day when you want the sun to come out. The dill seed and leaf go so well with the salmon and bring out all its wonderful flavors. Serve with a green salad and/or good bread.
This is best made with fresh salmon. If possible, ask the fishmonger to give you the salmon bones and tail to make the stock with. When buying in a supermarket, try to buy a piece with the skin on, which you can then use to flavor the stock.
• 2 Ib (1 kg) salmon, piece or fillet
• 2 Ib (900 g) potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
• 2 tbsp (30 ml) unsalted butter
• Generous handful of dill leaves, stalks removed and chopped (reserve the stalks for the stock)
• 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp (200 ml) table (18%) or half-and-half (10%) cream
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the stock
• 8 whole black peppercorns
• 2 tsp (10 ml) dill seed, crushed with a mortar and pestle
• Zest of 1 lemon
• 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped into chunks
• Generous handful of celery leaves (the herb) plus stalks, washed and roughly chopped (or use 2 celery stalks, cut into chunks, plus the leaves)
• 3 bay leaves
• Handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus stalks, washed and roughly chopped
• 1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
Prepare the salmon by removing all the bones and the skin. Cut the fish into large chunks.
Next make the stock. Put 3 qt (3 L) water into a large saucepan with the salmon skin, bones, peppercorns, crushed dill seeds, lemon zest, carrot, celery leaves, bay leaves, parsley stalks, dill stalks and chopped onion. Bring to a boil, remove any scum that appears, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan. You need 1½ qt (1.5 L) stock; if you do not have enough, don't worry, just add some water.
Heat the stock over high heat and add the potatoes. Simmer for roughly 15 minutes, until the potatoes are just soft. Add the salmon chunks and lower the heat just to simmer for approximately 10 minutes, until the salmon is cooked. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter, chopped dill leaves and cream, to taste. Return to the heat, reheat gently (do not boil) and check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.
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