Purity is an important part of Japanese culture, and the cleanliness of this dish reflects that. We eat porridge for breakfast and they eat salmon, ginger and salty soy: ours is for the energy levels, but this, first thing in the morning, definitely feels like brain food.
- Around 600ml rapeseed/light olive oil/grapeseed oil (or enough to submerge your salmon pieces)
- 300g piece of salmon, from the head end, skin on and pinboned
- 150g/5oz ginger, washed and peel left on
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- A small handful of alfalfa sprouts
- ½ punnet of mustard cress
- 50g salmon eggs
- Warm the oil in a shallow pan/small frying pan (about 20cm/8 inches across) over a medium heat: you’re looking for the point at which a corner of bread fizzles with small bubbles but nothing explosive happens when you drop it in. From there turn the oil down a bit and wait a couple of minutes so that the temperature stabilises (for those with thermometers, it’ll be around 110°C/230°F).
- Halve the salmon along both axes to make 4 squarish blocks, then slide them into the oil, skin-side down. They should sink and bubble gently but you don’t want them to colour at all. Cook for 3 minutes, then gently lift them out and drain on kitchen paper.
- Using the big holes, grate the ginger into a bowl. Pick up half of it, squeeze the fibres over a little bowl to extract the juice, and once you’ve squeezed the life out of it do the same with the other half – it should produce 3-4 tablespoons of juice (you can keep the squeezed solids to make tea/toddies). Mix the ginger juice with the sake, mirin and soy.
- When the salmon has cooled to room temperature, peel off the skin. Spoon the sauce onto 4 plates, and put a piece of fish on each. Mix together the alfalfa and mustard cress, and put a small pile onto each of the fish pieces. Share the salmon eggs between the 4 plates and serve the whole thing at room temperature.