Cook confit vanilla king salmon like a MasterChef


Cook confit vanilla king salmon like a MasterChef

How does king salmon with fennel puree and a macadamia, finger lime and Thai basil pesto sound? Learn how to cook this impressive MasterChef-quality meal.

Serves: 5


  • 5 x 80gm portions NZ king salmon, boneless, skinless and bloodline removed
  • 20ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1 bunch watercress, picked
  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil

Fennel puree:

  • 1 large fennel, diced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 50ml white wine
  • 40ml cream

Macadamia, finger lime and Thai basil pesto:

  • ½ bunch thai basil
  • 100g roasted and salted macadamia nuts
  • 5g freeze dried finger lime powder
  • Pinch citric acid
  • Extra virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 90°C.

To make the vanilla oil:

  1. Carefully cut the vanilla bean in half then, using the back of a knife, scrape the seeds out of the bean and add to the oil. Add a pinch of salt then mix with a spoon until the seeds are dispersed in the oil evenly.
  2. Place the salmon fillets, evenly spaced, onto a tray lined baking paper with the presentation side up then rub the salmon on all sides with the vanilla oil and set aside at room temperature.

For the fennel puree:

  1. Heat a medium sized saucepan over a medium heat and add the butter.
  2. Once melted, add the fennel and sweat for 5 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add the wine and cover with a lid and turn down to low.
  4. Stir every 4-5 minutes and cook until soft with no colour.
  5. Once the wine has evaporated and the fennel is soft add the cream then puree, season (sea salt and ground white pepper) and pass through a fine sieve and reserve in a small sauce pan with a lid.

For the finger lime oil:

  1. In a bowl mix the evoo and finger lime flesh making sure to remove any seeds.

To cook the salmon:

  1. Place the tray into the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes or until just cooked.
  2. Warm fennel puree and put a nice circle slightly to the left of centre on the plate.
  3. Using a fish spatula carefully transfer each piece of salmon and place it half on and half off the puree.
  4. Top with a quenelle of the pesto then garnish with 4-5 pieces of very lightly dressed watercress and finally drizzle some finger lime oil around the plate whimsically.

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