Salmon and Caviar with Watercress, Cava and Tarragon Sauce

Sophie Grigson takes a whole host of sensational ingredients and transforms them into a tangy lip-smacking salmon supper
By Sophie Grigson
Salmon and Caviar with Watercress, Cava and Tarragon Sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Prep Time: plus 2-5 hrs marinating
  • Effort: medium


  • 4 salmon, (175g each)
  • 2 limes, juice
  • 2.5 cm piece ginger, finely grated
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce

  • 45 g unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 300 ml cava, or Prosecco
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped tarragon
  • 300 ml fish stock, (or substitute 1 tbsp chicken bouillon)
  • 100 ml double cream
  • 50 ml coconut cream, (the creamy, runny sort that comes in small cartons, not solid creamed coconut or coconut milk)

To serve

  • 2 handfuls watercress
  • 3 tsp salmon eggs, also known as salmon caviar or keta
  • sprigs tarragon, (optional)


1. Place the salmon portions into a shallow dish. Mix together the lime juice, ginger, red chilli and olive oil, and then season with salt and pepper. Pour the marinade over the salmon. Turn the pieces to coat, cover the bowl with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for 2-5 hours.
2. Meanwhile, for the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the shallot. Cook gently for about 4 minutes, until the shallot has softened.
3. Add the cava and tarragon, bring up to the boil and let it bubble until the liquid has reduced by about two thirds.
4. At the same time, boil down the fish stock in a separate frying pan until reduced to a very thin syrupy layer at the bottom of the pan.
5. Stir the reduced stock, cream and coconut cream into the cava mixture. Bring up to the boil, and simmer for a couple of minutes until the sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon. Taste and season if necessary (commercial concentrated stocks tend to be very salty, so you may not need to add any salt at all).
6. Remove from the heat, smear a knob of butter over the surface to prevent a skin forming and leave to cool until needed.
7. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6 and lightly oil a baking tray. Take the salmon out of its marinade and arrange on the tray. Roast for about 15 minutes (it may take longer for larger quantities) until just cooked through.
8. Divide the watercress between four warm plates, mounding it up in the centre. Reheat the cava sauce and place a portion of salmon on each mound of watercress.
9. Spoon a little sauce around each portion of fish, dot with salmon eggs and finish by perching a sprig of fresh tarragon on top of each salmon fillet. Serve immediately with parsley-speckled, buttery new potatoes and fine green beans.

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