If there's corned beef, then why not corned salmon? The term "corned" apparently comes from when salt looked more like corn kernels. Wherever the term originated, corned beef has become a longstanding tradition in Irish-American cuisine. This is a delicious and flavorful twist on a familiar favorite.
As with all of these recipes, it’s important to pay attention to the quality of ingredients... this is a simple recipe and the quality of ingredients should shine through. The potatoes are ideal accompaniments to the cabbage and salmon and are best enjoyed with the full flavor of the delicate and mineral-laden skin.
*Note: The amount of water will depend on your blender and the size of its blending top; ideally, you want to use as little water as possible to maintain the freshest herb flavor. You may have to add more water to achieve the smooth green coulis, but do so in small increments.
Trim the root of the leek as well as the outside layer and any greens. Discard the root and outside layer, but reserve the greens for cooking the potatoes. Finely dice the white part and set aside.
In a 4-quart pot, combine the leeks, butter, and water. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the cabbage and cardamom, if using, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Let the leaves wilt. (It is important to watch this carefully.) The water left on the leaves should be enough to help sweat the cabbage, concentrating the sweetness of the cabbage. Cook until the water is nearly evaporated, remove from heat, and set aside.
Place the potatoes in a 4-quart saucepan and cover with water. Season well with salt and pepper, add the thyme and leek trimmings, and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 minutes, checking often on their doneness (they are tender when pierced with a knife). Drain and set aside.
Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Blanch the herbs for 30 seconds, drain, and shock them very well by rinsing in a fine-mesh strainer with cold water for about 1 minute. Grab the blanched herbs in tight bunches and mince them once over with a very sharp chef’s knife.
Place the herbs in a blender or the bowl of a food processor with the ice and 3 tablespoons water.* Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and blend at progressively higher speeds until top gear is attained.
Once the mass of herbs is spinning and emulsifying with the water, it should run for about 20-30 more seconds; stop intermittently to scrape down the sides to achieve even results in blending. When smooth, carefully remove all of the coulis and place into a clean, small saucepot.
Gently heat the herb coulis over low heat, and add the butter 1 piece at a time. Whisk to combine, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and keep warm. (The coulis, when heated with butter, will increase in viscosity.)
In a bowl, combine the kosher salt, sugar, coriander, pepper, bay leaves, and garlic and coat each salmon fillet evenly. Place in the refrigerator and let cure for 45 minutes. Then, gently wipe off the curing ingredients, quickly rinse, and pat dry.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the grapeseed oil in a 12-inch nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the salmon flesh side down and sear until just browned, about 3 minutes.
Increase heat to high, then carefully turn and place the salmon skin side down in the pan, making sure that the skin does not stick to the pan. Place in the oven for 4 minutes. Remove from the pan, and let rest 3 minutes. Remove the skin from each fillet and slice in ½ on a bias.
Divide the potatoes among 4 warmed plates, drape the cabbage into a neat pile adjacent to the potatoes, place 1 salmon fillet on each plate, and drizzle the green herb coulis around the edge of the plates.