Salmon Cabbage Rolls are a beautiful and elegant dish. Salmon and cabbage is one of those perfect culinary combinations — the textures, the colors, the flavors, it’s all perfect together.
He was served these Cabbage Salmon Rolls, a melon salad, delicious rustic bread, and an Individual Coffee-Chocolate Mud Pies — however, the only thing my dad requested for his 80th birthday dinner was the salmon.
My mind immediately went to this salmon and cabbage recipe.
This was a tall order. You see, my dad is known for his perfectly cooked salmon — so of course, mine would have to be perfect as well.
Sometimes you have to stop while you’re cooking and admire the ingredients. This was one of those moments.
Cooking Perfect Salmon
Salmon is definitely one of those foods that can go from spot on to bad in a matter of seconds.
Delicious salmon has something to do with the flavors it’s cooked with, and it has everything to do with not overcooking it.
And of course, it must be very good quality to begin with.
Whether it’s sautéed, grilled, roasted, or, in this case, steamed inside cabbage leaves — it should never be completely opaque. Never!
The salmon should appear slightly raw in the center. When you stop the cooking process at this point, you’ll have melt-in-your-mouth, flaky fish. Let it go another minute, and the magic will be gone.
This is one of my favorite salmon preparations and it’s inspired from a recipe in Charlie Palmer’s Great American Food cookbook.
Look a how gorgeous Savoy cabbage leaves can be! Remember to pause while you cook. You’ll miss some of the beauty if you don’t.
Seriously, how pretty is cabbage with salmon!? I love it.
What’s in this recipe?
- Savoy cabbage
- salt, pepper
- citrus vinaigrette
I’ve been making variations of these Cabbage Salmon Rolls for years, and this one is my favorite.
Steaming the salmon inside the cabbage leaves creates a super succulent texture.
I drizzle a citrus vinaigrette over it which seeps into every crevice. Delicious!
So the next time you’re in the mood for cabbage with salmon, do not think past this delectable cabbage steamed salmon recipe!
It might look very intricate, but it’s really quite simple. You can do it! And I promise you, you’ll totally wow your guests!
Cabbage Salmon Rolls
For the vinaigrette
For the salmon
- 6 to 10 large Savoy cabbage leaves (Napa cabbage leaves will also work)
- ½ pound salmon, cut into chunks, skin removed
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- a few turns of freshly ground black pepper
- 10 large fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
- 6 approximately (4-ounce) fillets salmon, skin removed
For the vinaigrette
- Combine and mix the ingredients. Add the orange juice, mustard and honey to a small bowl. Mix until everything is combined, and then gradually whisk in the oil. Once it's nicely blended, mix in the shallots and season to taste with salt and pepper. (Here's How to Season to Taste). Tip: The best way to taste dressing is with a lettuce leaf.
For the salmon
- Prepare the cabbage leaves. Line a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels and set it aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a few of the cabbage leaves at a time to the water, and let them sit only long enough to wilt, about 20 seconds. Use tongs to gently remove them and place them on the paper towel-lined baking sheet. Continue until all of the leaves are wilted. Set aside to cool to room temperature -- they must be no warmer than room temperature when you are ready to use them.
- Make salmon mousse. Add the ½-pound of salmon chunks, cream, egg and basil leaves to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Blend a tiny bit and then add the salt and pepper. Now blend just until it's smooth. (You will still see small bits of the basil.) The is a salmon mousse.
- Assemble the rolls. Use paper towels to pat dry the cabbage leaves if they are still wet, and lay them out on a clean, dry workspace. Spread a thin layer (about ¼-inch or less), of the salmon mousse over each cabbage leaf. Sprinkle both sides of the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Then place a fillet directly in the center, presentation side down. Now very carefully fold the sides of the mousse-coated cabbage leaves over the fillet -- it should stick nicely. (If there are any particularly tough stems in the cabbage leaves, cut them out and use parts of another leaf to fill in any empty spaces.) Set aside in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook. (You can leave them in the prepared state for up to 6 hours.)
- Steam the rolls. Put a large steamer into a large pot with the water level just below it. Over high heat, bring the water to a boil and then add cabbage wrapped salmon to the rack -- as many as will fit. You may need to do this in two batches, depending on the size of your pot. Cover and steam for 3 to 4 minutes. Just slice into one if you're unsure if they're done -- you want the very center to be orange and almost raw.
- Slice rolls, drizzle with heated vinaigrette and serve. Heat the vinaigrette in a small sauté pan and slice each cabbage steamed salmon in half, diagonally. Drizzle each portion with the vinaigrette and serve.