Upwardly mobile: Mark Hix cooks with salmon

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Around Britain, the salmon fishing season is in full swing, so cast out and enjoy our chef's delicious recipes

Next month I'm heading to Scotland with a few friends to do some salmon fishing. It's a bit of a trek for us but hopefully it will be worth the effort. Salmon provides a great, tasty array of dishes to try out.

In recent years stocks of the fish have been low but reports from this year's salmon fishing season suggest they are returning to our rivers and catches are up. Fly fishing enthusiasts may be in with a good chance of success this year.

Of course, the cooking is a touch less taxing than the catching. Most won't go to the lengths I do, but a good fishmonger should have wild salmon for you to enjoy.

Barbecue-style salmon belly with roast cherry vine tomatoes

Serves 4

The salmon belly often goes unused, but trimmed of bones, it cooks very well in a barbecue-type marinade – this is because it contains a lot of fat and it won't dry out. A decent fishmonger should be happy to sell them for a reasonable price. If you can't get salmon belly, though, just make some vertical cuts, about 1cm thick, down the salmon fillet.

250-300g salmon belly, trimmed of any bones
1tbsp clear honey
½tbsp tomato ketchup
½tbsp HP Sauce
½tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½tbsp soy sauce
½tsp ground cumin
½tsp paprika
½tsp celery salt
1tbsp vegetable or corn oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 branches of cherry vine tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 200C gas mark 6.

Mix all of the ingredients together except the cherry tomatoes.

Spread the salmon pieces out on a baking tray lined with foil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, basting every so often with the marinade.

Next, place the cherry tomatoes with their stalks on the same tray and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes until the tomatoes are just beginning to blister.

Then remove both the salmon and the tomatoes.

To serve, arrange the salmon pieces – brushed with a little leftover marinade – alongside the tomatoes, either on individual plates or one large serving dish.

Salmon tail with peas and girolles

Serves 4

The tail of a salmon often ends up either in fish cakes or pies – but rarely in many other dishes. This is a shame, because this particular cut has a great shape on the plate as it is slightly firmer than the rest of the fish.

2 salmon tail fillets weighing about 300g each
Vegetable or corn oil for frying
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1tbsp olive oil
150g girolles or other wild mushrooms
120g podded weight of peas, cooked
100ml white wine
A handful of pea shoots (optional)
A couple of good knobs of butter

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently cook the girolles, then add the white wine and simmer until reduced by half.

Next, add the peas and the butter and season to taste. Put to one side and keep warm.

Slice the salmon tail fillets down the middle, lengthways.

Season, heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and cook the salmon for 2-3 minutes on each side, keeping it nice and pink.

Finally, spoon the peas and girolles on to warmed serving plates and place the salmon on top.

Green bean and salmon canapés

Makes 20

A lovely way to serve fresh salmon is in canapés. I find three green beans in each wrap is just right. Malaysian kecap manis is a type of soy sauce, but if you can't find any then use ordinary soy sauce, it will work fine.

200-250g skinned and boned salmon centre fillet
150-200g French beans, trimmed
2tsp kecap manis (or soy sauce)
1tsp Nigella seeds (onion seeds)

Cook the French beans in boiling, salted water for 3-4 minutes, so they still have a bit of a crunch, then drain and refresh under a cold tap.

With a very sharp knife, cut thin slices of salmon vertically down the fish.

Take three French beans and wrap a slice of salmon around the middle twice, then trim the beans about 1cm either side of the salmon.

Arrange the salmon on serving dishes, place a drop of the soy on each and sprinkle with the Nigella seeds.

Salmon fingers with pea mayonnaise

Serves 4

These salmon fish fingers are great for kids – or grown-ups, come to that. You can also miniaturise them for party snacks or keep them in the freezer for emergency suppers.

400-500g salmon fillets, skinned and boned

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3-4tbsp flour
2 eggs, beaten
50-60g fresh white breadcrumbs
Vegetable or corn oil for deep frying

For the pea mayonnaise

100g fresh podded or frozen peas
2-3tbsp good-quality mayonnaise
Salt and pepper

Cut the salmon fillet into fingers measuring about 4-5cm long and 1cm wide. Season and put them first in the flour, shaking off any excess, then into the egg and finally into the breadcrumbs.

To make the pea mayonnaise, coarsely chop the peas by hand or give them a brief blend in a food processor, then stir in the mayonnaise and season to taste.

Heat about 1cm of oil in a frying pan and fry the fish fingers for about 2-3 minutes on each side, then remove from the pan. Spoon the pea mayonnaise on to serving plates, place the fish fingers on top and serve with wedges of lemon or malt vinegar.

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