Salmon con Almejas
Wild Atlantic salmon have long inhabited the rivers of northern Spain which run into the Bay of Biscay. In the early 18th century there are reports of as many as 12,000 being caught every year along the Rio Sella alone. Nowadays the numbers of these prized catches may have dwindled but the mountain villages of Asturias attract anglers from all over the world during the fishing season. This season runs from May to late July when the Atlantic salmon return from the sea to the upper reaches of their river of origin to spawn.
Asturian restaurants tend to serve this locally caught salmon as a simple steak or with local cider in a dish called ‘Salmón a la Ribereña’ or combine it with potatoes in a typical casserole known as ‘Marmita de Salmón’. Strict conservation rules to prevent overfishing ensure that few of these Atlantic salmon make their way to our dinner tables in the rest of Spain. Most of the salmon available in Spanish fish shops is imported from Norway which accounts for more than 80% of national consumption.
Salmon is a relative newcomer to the Spanish dinner table having been almost unheard of before the 1980s. Today it is one of the country’s most popular fish which appears in many regional recipes. This combination of salmon with clams is a modern take on the classic Merluza a la Vasca (Basque-Style Hake) dish.
- 4 x 175g salmon fillets
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 150ml of white wine
- 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 500g clams
- 300ml of fish stock – see Fish Stock Recipe
- 1 tablespoons of chopped parsley
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Scrub the clams and throw out any damaged ones.
HINT: Soak them in cold, salty water which may make them open and get rid of any grains of sand that are inside them.
You can either buy the fish stock or use our Fish Stock Recipe to make your own.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan that has a lid and fry the onion and garlic for about 2 or 3 minutes. Then put the salmon in the pan and fry for 2 minutes on each side.
Add the fish stock, wine, lemon juice, chopped parsley, a pinch of salt and some black pepper and bring this to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook for about 15 minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
Add the clams and put the lid on the pan (this creates the heat which will help the clams to open) and cook for about another 5 minutes or until the clams open.
You could serve this with boiled potatoes and vegetables or alternatively with crusty bread and a side salad.