A collaboration of aphrodisiac ingredients
When we learned that one of our favorite chefs, James Boyce was collaborating with pomegranate juice company POM Wonderful on recipes, we wanted in on it! So we asked if they would share this salmon recipe with our readers to help celebrate the aphrodisiac of pomegranates in a savory dish. This recipe represents their collaboration with the aphrodisiac fruit.
A unique smoked salmon recipe
Chef Boyce, one of the most celebrated American chefs, is known for creating health-ish renditions of classic, European fare. (No surprise since he learned under the tutelage of some of the best French chefs cooking in the United States.)
In this recipe, he shares his technique for infusing salmon with robust flavor without the use of extra fat. Instead, he uses the grill to create hot smoked salmon. As opposed to grilling, this technique uses indirect heat to cook the salmon. The fish is cooked longer than it would if you were grilling, giving it the time to absorb the rich, earthy and sweet notes of smoke.
Hot smoking salmon is a specialty of the Pacific Northwest. It produces a flaky texture and a very different flavor than the kind of salt cured and cold smoked salmon you might be used to. Fine Cooking has an excellent explanation on the difference between the two techniques.
The result of this salmon recipe is a filet with a subtle smokey flavor and the sweetness of pomegranate. Incidentally, did you know that salmon is a powerful aphrodisiac? It contains several nutrients considered essential to sexual health.
In Boyce’s salmon recipe the fish is served over a lightly dressed watercress and pomegranate salad. The slippery, soft texture of the smoked salmon plays beautifully with the “pop” of the pomegranate arils–that’s the correct term for individual pomegranate kernels–and the crunch of the faintly bitter, peppery greens. The result is an incredibly complex dish with an exciting array of textures and flavors.
- 1 cup pomegranate juice (juice from Wonderful variety of pomegranate recommended)
- 1/2 cup POM POMS fresh pomegranate arils
- 2 lbs salmon fillet
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 cup whole grain mustard
- 1/2 cup chopped dill
- 1 tbsp grated horseradish
- 4 bunches watercress
- 1 carrot
- 1 daikon
- 1 Belgian endive
- 5 lemons
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- sugar and salt to taste
- cracked white pepper to taste
- applewood or cherrywood for smoking on outdoor grill
- Prepare fresh pomegranate juice, if necessary.*
- Prepare fresh pomegranate arils, if necessary.**
- Soak wood chips in water for approximately 30 minutes and start outdoor grill 15 to 30 minutes prior to grilling.
- In a saucepan over low heat, reduce cider and pomegranate juice to 1 cup; add honey and remove from heat. Allow to cool.
- Fold in mustard, chopped dill, horseradish and a pinch of salt.
- Season both sides of salmon with a pinch of sugar and salt; let stand for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove stems from watercress and wash.
- Julienne carrot, daikon and endive; toss with watercress and set aside.
- Once grill is ready, place salmon on foil-covered cardboard.
- Glaze salmon with pomegranate-cider reduction and place soaked applewood on coals and let them start to smolder.
- Place salmon on grill away from direct heat and smoke for approximately 10 to 12 minutes.
- Let salmon rest before serving. (Salmon can be made the day before and chilled.)
- Toss watercress and arils with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Place salad in center of plate and sliced salmon on top.
- Drizzle with excess dressing.
* For 1 cup of juice, cut 2–3 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates in half and juice them with a citrus reamer or juicer. Pour the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve. Set the juice aside.
** To prepare fresh arils (if you are not using POM POMS), score 1 large POM Wonderful Pomegranate and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranate under water to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup of the arils from fruit and set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.)
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