Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Fresh Fish from the Farm. Cooking demonstration with Nick Nairn

As part of Edinburgh Science Festival, I had the opportunity to attend a talk at the Royal Botanic Gardens. Several talks and cooking demonstrations are to be held through the week as part of the Science on a Plate sub-festival (Edinburgh's first) which combines food, cooking, science and sustainability.

Today's guest presenter was Nick Nairn and discussed sustainable seafood, focusing on mussels and salmon, two of Scotland's most wonderful and delicious exports.

Firstly Mr Nairn introduced himself and told us about the wonders of mussels. How quick and easy they are to cook, their nutritional values, and how sustainable they are.

I never loved mussels back home till I came here, now I just can't get enough of them. I can't even remember if mussels are popular in Australia.

Nick made a beautiful dish of steamed mussels in a very basic broth of garlic, spring onion, parsley wine and cream added at the last moment (see recipe at bottom of page). It was beautiful, but being given only one was very unfair.

For his second recipe he had a beautiful fillet of salmon which he cut into a rather thin escalop, and made a mango salsa. Which was pretty much this recipe, minus the asparagus.

While preparing his salsa we were given an informal talk on salmon farming, which I found very interesting, having seen the farms on my trip along the West Coast.
Salmon Farm off the coast of Oban
Farmed salmon is such a sustainable and environmentally friendly food source, and is policed to make sure they stay within guidelines for environmental and happy-fish protocols.

As Mr Nairn finished his salsa, he showed that a thin piece of salmon can be pan-fried for just 90 seconds, allowed to rest for a minute more then plated, for a beautiful meal. It really was a stunning dish.

As the talk ended I asked for a autograph for my Ma, Mr Nairn was all to happy to oblige.
What a great guy!

I look forward to my next Science on a Plate talk immensely.

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