42° Confit Huon Salmon, witlof, fennel, citrus, butter sauce

This is a great cross-over dish with elements in season for the end of summer and into Autumn; although it is still a light and fresh Autumn dish. The dish was born of a notion that 42° Celsius was for cooking confit and 42° latitude runs through Tasmania, where the best salmon comes from.

We ‘confit’ the salmon in olive oil, ideally at 42° Celsius for about 15 minutes. However, “confit”, the process of cooking slowly in fat or oil, is quite forgiving of temperature. At home, away from fancy gadgets, I find that the lowest possible heat on my stove for 15 minutes is usually more than sufficient.

42° Confit Huon Salmon, witlof, fennel, citrus, butter sauce

Ingredients and Methods


The Salmon:

  • 4 pieces of salmon fillet, skin on (about 170gm per person)
  • 750ml olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Sprig of thyme
  • 2 x garlic cloves, just crushed
  • Sea salt, a generous pinch.

Place the salmon fillets in a large pan, skin down. Add all other ingredients and enough olive oil to cover the salmon entirely. Place over a low heat for 15 minutes. If it starts to bubble or sizzle, remove from the heat altogether and the heat of the oil will finish it off. When ready, the skin will peel off without resistance.

The garnish & the sauce:

  • 1 x fennel
  • 3 x green witlof
  • 3 x white /yellow witlof
  • 10g chopped chives
  • 1 orange
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 40ml vegetable oil
  • 30gm brown sugar
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 150gm butter
  • Sea salt

Segment the orange and grapefruit and chop in to small pieces. Cut the witlof leaves; keep the bitter stems aside. Shave the fennel thinly. Toss the witlof, fennel, chives & citrus in a bowl together.

In a heavy bottomed pan, start to cook witlof stems in the vegetable oil. When starting to colour, add the orange juice and brown sugar, reduce down until there is little left. Strain liquid into a small mixing bowl; while still hot, add cold butter in small bits slowly and whisk it in, to emulsify this butter sauce.

Plate: x 4

To assemble: dress the fennel & witlof salad with the butter sauce. Arrange in a line along one side of each plate. Remove the salmon skin and place salmon parallel to your garnish. Finish with some fennel frond on top; you might also garnish with salmon roe if you have it.

To finish, open a bottle of Tasmanian cool-climate Chardonnay with a nice balance of fruit and fresh acid to compliment the dish; Heaven! I have plenty of favourites: Josef Chromy, Derwent Estate, Moorilla Estate, Frogmore Creek or Rumney Cloud are all at the top of their game.

Chef Ashley Davis

Pure South has made authentic efforts over the last 10 years in developing relationships directly with farmers, fisherman and producers to deliver their best. Ashley Davis has made his mark at some of London’s top restaurants. At the helm of 2 Michelin ‘Hélène Darroze at The Connaught’ in London’s Mayfair, Ashley took this London restaurant from one to two Michelin Stars in his first year and kept the rating for the next three. For a Melbourne talent who has hit this pinnacle, what do you strive for next? (more)

here to view all of Chef Ashley Davis's recipes.

Ashley Davis

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