Food You Can Eat: Movie-Inspired Salmon

Life imitates art...

I found this recipe in the Yotam Ottolenghi cook book set Simple and Plenty More. I usually fiddle around with recipes, but this one was good as-is.

The intro is as follows, “This is the dish Patrick Dempsey’s character tells Renée Zellweger’s Bridget Jones that he would have brought her on their imaginary second date in Bridget Jones’s Baby. “From Ottolenghi,” says Dempsey, “delicious and healthy!” And easy, we might add! What sounded like a bit of product placement on our part was in fact no such thing. The recipe didn’t even exist on our menu, so this is a retrospective acknowledgment.”

How could I not give it try? It was good, even if Patrick Dempsey didn’t cook mine, and the extra accompanying salsa was excellent used with seafood tacos. Here is his recipe:


  • 3/4 cup currants
  • 4 salmon fillets, skin on and pin bones removed (1 lb. 2 oz.)
  • 7 Tbs. olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 4 medium celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch dice (1-3/4 cups), leaves removed but kept for garnish
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup capers, plus 2 Tbs. of their brine
  • 1/3 cup large green olives, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 8)
  • 1 good pinch (1/4 tsp.) of saffron threads, mixed with 1 Tbs. hot water
  • 1 cup parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon: finely zest to get 1 tsp., then juice to get 1 tsp.


  • Cover the currants with boiling water and set aside to soak for 20 minutes while you prep the salmon and make the salsa.
  • Mix the salmon with 1 Tbs. of the oil, a rounded 1/4 tsp. salt, and a good grind of black pepper. Set aside while you make     the salsa.
  • Put 5 Tbs. of the olive oil into a large sauté pan and place on high heat. Add the celery and pine nuts and fry for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the nuts begin to brown (don’t take your eyes off them, as they can easily burn). Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the capers and their brine, the olives, saffron and its water, and a pinch of salt. Drain the currants and add these, along with the parsley, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Set aside.
  • Put the remaining 1 Tbs. of oil into a large frying pan and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the salmon fillets, skin side down, and fry for 3 minutes, until the skin is crisp. Decrease the heat to medium, then flip the fillets over and continue to fry for 2 to 4 minutes (depending on how much you like the salmon cooked). Remove from the pan and set aside.

    Arrange the salmon on four plates and spoon on the salsa. Scatter the celery leaves on top.

About Elliecoo 518 Articles
Four dogs, one partner. The dogs win.


  1. Yay!  Finally a recipe that your husband can eat!!!  Looks great and we eat lots of salmon so will definitely try this.  I have never looked for currants, where do you find those in your grocery store?  Bulk?  Baking?

  2. Definitely will give this one a go.  Only good thing about the pandemic is that I’ve boosted my cooking vocabulary and done things I didn’t try (lazy.)  These FYCE help a lot.

  3. This got me wondering what else didn’t exist in reality until after a fictional version was created.

    I know the leg lamp in A Christmas Story and the red Swingline stapler in Office Space are two examples of after the fact realization, but there must be more….

    • This is very late and I’ve mentioned this before: the Motorola engineer who invented the flip phone credited the idea with “Star Trek” communicators. He imagined there would be a lot of resistance to a phone you could actually slip into your pocket (surely it wouldn’t work) so he thought by giving it a cover and making it look like what they had on the Enterprise people might be more comfortable with it. He was right.

  4. This sounds good! I rarely cook fish at home… there’s no vent fan in this kitchen and the smell just lingers for days. Also, I’m not very good at cooking fish, probably because I so rarely do it!

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