What’s a collop, you may ask?
Well, according to the definitive Oxford English Dictionary, collop may be related to the Swedish kollops which was itself derived from colhoppe, the old Swedish word (from the 15th century) that meant ember-hops, from how thin slices of dried salted mutton would dance on a glowing hot skillet.
At any rate, this recipe is an old Colonial American recipe from Williamsburg, one of America’s historical colonial treasures. (If you haven’t been, it’s worth a trip.) And instead of mutton or beef, it uses fresh salmon.
Start with 1 1/4 pounds of fresh salmon fillet; ground sea salt (or table salt) and cracked pepper to taste; about 1/4 cup of flour; and (optional) whatever herbs you’d like to use. (I used @PenzeysSpices’ Sunny Paris, which is a blend of shallots, chives, green peppercorn, basil, tarragon, chervil, bay leaf, and dill.)
First put a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. As it’s warming up, rinse and pat dry the salmon fillet.
Skin the salmon fillet. You may do this either by using a very sharp knife to trim the skin off. Or you can place the salmon fillet, skin side down (very important!), in the pan and let it heat for about 30-45 seconds, then remove from the heat and place, skin side up, on a cutting board. The skin will peel off in your fingers.
Cut the salmon into six or seven pieces (I did seven pieces because of the configuration of the fillet).
Place each trimmed salmon fillet between two pieces of wax paper, then pound (gently!) with the flat side of a meat mallet until the salmon is about 1/2 inch thick (about 1.25 cm). Don’t pound it too hard or the fillet will start to disintegrate! (Ask me how I know.)
Add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the sauté pan. Dip each piece of salmon in regular flour, then add to the hot pan. Season with ground sea salt, pepper, and (optional!) herbs.
Sauté about 90 to 120 seconds, then flip to the other side and season again with salt, pepper, and herbs.
After 90 seconds, remove from heat, then plate and serve. I combined the salmon collops tonight with tiny baby potatoes drizzled with avocado oil and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and herbs (then roasted) and steamed broccoli.
We served this with King Family Vineyards’ Roseland, a blend of Viognier, Chardonnay, and Petit Manseng. On the nose, just a hint of white peach; on the palate, a rich, full vanilla and white peach flavor with a nice acidic uplift at the end of the medium-long finish. Perfect!