Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The early bird catches the noisette

We had another early morning trip to Billingsgate market this weekend - up at 5am and eyeing up fish by 7. Despite a considerable amount of grumbling (me), we found the energy to get to London Bridge on the way home for some much-needed caffeine at Monmouth Coffee on Maltby Street and to pick up some rainbow chard at Borough Market. Aren't the colours just beautiful?!

My bleary-eyed friend was keen to flex his filleting muscles so we chose a huge whole salmon, to be separated later into a large side for gravadlax, a few greedy-sized fillets, and noisettes, which I used here.

The salmon noisette is a cut which comes from another era, when things were done with care and attention, probably whilst wearing a pinny...and when there weren't so many pleasant distractions like the internet. It's not a quick job, so if you try it, leave yourself plenty of time. The Leith's Fish Bible is excellent for a whole range of basic fishmongery, and it's their instructions that we followed to make these tidy parcels. All you need is a huge fish, the sharpest of knives, a ball of string and a steady hand...


Serves 2

2 x 250g salmon noisettes (or fillets)
2 spring onions, sliced at an angle
1 tsp fresh ginger, sliced into fine matchsticks
1 fresh red chilli, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp sesame oil
300g rainbow chard
Steamed jasmine rice, to serve

1) First prep the rainbow chard by washing, then trimming the ends and cutting the chard into short lengths. Place in a saucepan which has a lid, with two tablespoons of water. Set aside to cook later.

2) Now lay out two 40cm square sheets of greaseproof paper and place a piece of salmon onto each. Divide all the other ingredientsequally between the fish and scatter over, then fold the paper over to completely seal in the fish and fasten with string. Bake at 400f/200c/gas mark 6 for 10-12 minutes (the longer time if your fish is a thick piece, or shorter if thin).

3) Five minutes before the fish is cooked, steam the chard over a medium heat until tender, season lightly and serve with the fish and rice.


  1. How pleasantly old-fashioned. It feels so good to take your time and make something delicate, doesn't it?

  2. It looks beautifully prepared. Do you think it would work as an hors d'oeuvres cut from smaller fish?
    - Claudio

  3. Claudio - Thanks, I was quite pleased with how neatly they turned out!

    You could try it with a smaller fish (say mackerel?) but it would ve very fiddly and even more time consuming - I think it would depend on how patient you are!

  4. Hi Gwen! I find laborious tasks like de-boning fish rather relaxing...there's something a bit zen about doing something mindless that requires concentration but no decision making. It's a lovely escape from my working life!


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