Alex Mackay's Salmon with Apple, Grapefruit, Creme Fraiche & Watercress

Serves 2:


This recipe was inspired by a Raymond Blanc dish. I cooked my version for him one evening in spring and he loved it.

Salmon and apples are often paired and this dressing takes their relationship to new heights. I boil the apple juice to concentrate its flavour and acidity, then whisk in extra virgin olive oil. The reward is a taste like apple honey – both a luscious coating and tangy dressing for the salmon. The watercress gives the apple some bite and the crème fraîche smooths and soothes.F or younger kids, chop rather than slice the apples and puré or very finely chop the basil and watercress. For babies and toddlers, you can puré or chop and freeze the salmon.

Sides (pages 320–43)
None needed. For bulk, olive oil glazed potatoes or plain or tasty grains
Prep ahead Glaze, up to 2 days ahead. Apples can sit in the dressing for up to an hour
Prep/cooking 40–45 mins
Active time 25 mins
400ml apple juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large ruby grapefruit
4 heaped tbsp creme
4 tbsp sliced basil
2 skinless salmon fillets
130–140g each and
2–2.5cm thick
1 small crisp apple
(Gala, Cox or Braeburn)
80g mangetout
40g watercress (1/2 small packet/bunch)
Salt and freshly ground pepper


Preheat your oven to 120°C/Gas 1/2, position middle shelf. Boil your kettle.

Start with the apple glaze. Get a medium-sized saucepan. Add the apple juice. Put the pan on a high heat. Bring to the boil and boil until the juice is reduced to 4–5 tbsp; this takes about 10 minutes and the juice should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Watch carefully; if you reduce it too far it will caramelise. Pour the glaze into a bowl. Whisk in the extra virgin olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

While the glaze reduces, prepare the grapefruit. Cut the top and bottom off the fruit. Cut away the peel and pith in strips. Cut the segments free from their white membranes.

Get a small bowl. Add the creme fraiche and 2 tbsp of the basil. Mix well. Season to taste.

Get a non-stick baking tray. Put the salmon on the tray. Season. Spoon 1 tsp of apple glaze onto each fillet. Brush into the flesh. Bake for 22 minutes.

While the salmon bakes, halve the apple and cut out the core. Slice the apple thinly. Add the slices to the rest of the apple glaze with the remaining 2 tbsp of basil. Gently turn and coat the apples in the dressing.

Get a large pot. Fill it with boiling water. Add salt and bring back to the boil.

Put a colander in your sink. Boil the mangetout for 3 minutes or until they are tender. Drain. Return the mangetout to the pan. Saute over a medium heat for 10–30 seconds to remove excess water.

Put the salmon fillets on plates. Spoon the creme fraiche alongside. Surround with the grapefruit, apple, mangetout and a little watercress. Spoon the apple dressing over everything. Serve the remaining watercress
in a bowl on the side to soak up any dressing left on the plates.

Cook extra.

Make extra portion(s) of the whole recipe. Use for a cold salad with quinoa or couscous, or wrap in a tortilla, rice paper or large lettuce leaves.


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