This dish showcases the flavors of the grill in a seviche style. It is rich, fresh and interesting. The more char you develop on the fish, the more flavor there will be.
Sushi-quality salmon belly is available at BlackSalt Fish Market in the Palisades.
Make Ahead: The aioli can be prepared in advance and refrigerated for up to 2 days. The pork rinds are purchased. The vegetables can be prepared and refrigerated a day in advance.
Servings: 4 - 6 appetizer
- One 8-ounce piece sushi-grade, skin-on wild-caught salmon belly (see headnote)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ripe, skin-on avocado cut in half and pitted, for garnish
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 small clove garlic, coarsely chopped
- Several very thin strips of lemon zest (no pith)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces broccoli rabe, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 red radishes, cut in half and then into very thin half-moons, for garnish
- 3 tablespoons crushed good-quality store-bought pork rinds, for garnish
Prepare the grill for direct heat. If using a gas grill, preheat to high. If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly under the cooking area. For a very hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for 4 or 5 seconds. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames. Lightly oil the grill grate and place it on the grill.
Make sure all of the fish scales are removed. Season the salmon belly lightly with salt and pepper. Grill it skin side up (uncovered) for 1 to 2 minutes or just until the flesh begins to turn a little opaque but is not cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board; use a very sharp knife to cut the salmon on the diagonal into very thin slices. Discard the skin.
Place the avocado halves on the grill grate, cut side down; grill for 2 or 3 minutes to form char marks. Transfer to a cutting board and discard the skin. Cut each half into chunks.
Combine the egg yolk, garlic, half of the strips of lemon zest and 1/2 tablespoon of the lemon juice in a blender or mini food processor; puree until smooth. With the motor running, gradually add the canola oil to form a thickened aioli. Season with salt to taste; transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to use.
Whisk together the remaining strips of lemon zest and lemon juice and the olive oil in a mixing bowl to form an emulsified dressing.
Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli rabe and sear until charred but crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat, then sprinkle lightly with salt.
Spread some of the aioli on individual plates. Use to tongs to arrange equal portions of the broccoli rabe on top. Lay salmon slices over the vegetable, then drizzle with the lemon dressing left in the bowl. Garnish each portion with some of the avocado, radish slices and crushed pork rinds. Pass the remaining aioli at the table.
Serve right away.
From Victor Albisu, chef at Del Campo in Penn Quarter.
Tested by Sarah Meyer Walsh.
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