BY CK Lam
Norwegian salmon is one of Norway’s best known international brands. The country is the world’s biggest producer of farmed Atlantic salmon and Norway is experiencing growing demand for salmon in Malaysia.
Together with the attendance of some 180 chefs, restaurateurs, and key media writers, we spent the day at the Norwegian Seafood Master Class event organized by the Norwegian Seafood Council in collaboration with Penang Chefs Association.
Held at the Olive Tree Hotel in Penang, the event supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Kuala Lumpur, was officiated by Ambassador Hans Ola Urstad, Ambassador of Norway and YAB Tuan Lim Guan Eng, Chief Minister of Penang. That was followed by the ‘Norwegian Salmon, from Roe to Plate’ presentation by Jon Erik Steenslid, Regional Director, Southeast Asia, from the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Everyone learned much from the culinary demonstrations led by Chef Jimmy Chok, celebrity chef from Singapore and Chef Markus Dybwad, former junior sous chef of the 3-Michelin Star, Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck.
For Chok, the star ingredient was the Norwegian salmon, a versatile fish with good source of protein, vitamins, minerals and essential omega-3 fatty acids. He explained the origins of Norwegian salmon, from roe to plate, hygiene in handling the seafood and ensuring freshness, besides maximizing the yield of the Norwegian salmon.
Chok incorporate Asian flavors with European cooking techniques using variety of cuts. Recipes created by him include grilled salmon with percik marinade, salmon kebab with coriander yoghurt, salmon masak merah and fried salmon with Indonesian sweet sauce.
For the cooking session, he whipped up a asam pedas salmon, an appetizing spicy and sourish dish in tamarind gravy. Tip from Chok: “Salmon is a delicate fish, so never overcooked it and just keep it slightly raw in the centre.”
I agreed with Chok – salmon with decadent tenderness is best cooked medium-rare. I hope with Chok advice, Penang chefs will adapt to introduce medium rare salmon in their menus cause as of now, only a handful of chefs are capable of letting the salmon shine on the plate.
Chef Markus demonstration showcased recipes centered on Scandinavian-style mackerel and king crab dishes. ‘The king crab is one of the sweetest crustacean. The white flesh of the king crab is low in fat and high in protein,” Dybwad said.
Markus version of the king crab salad, featured the luxurious flesh from the claw of the crab mixed with a combo of seafood in a creamy sauce. Some of Dybwad’s mackerel creations included the mackerel curry.
The Norwegian fresh salmon, sent by air, can arrive in Malaysia in as little as 48 hours upon leaving Norway.
The next time you are looking to buy Norwegian salmon, look out for the red, white and blue oval NORGE logo. The logo guaranteed that the salmon is bred by competent people at the cold, clear waters of Norway, besides being managed by the Norwegian government.
The Norwegian Seafood Master Class event was an educational session. I left the event later that evening gaining a deeper understanding on the Norwegian seafood, and my tummy filled with plenty of omega 3!
* Many thanks to Penang Chefs Associaton for extending this invitation and sharing two of their photos.