Salmon and Cabbage


2 leeks
1 (3-pound) head cabbage
1 slice bacon
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 cup butter
3 to 3 1/2 pounds salmon filets, center-cut preferably
salt, pepper
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup whipping cream


Trim tough green tops from leeks, leaving only whites and pale green lower leaves. Leaving leeks attached at bottom, slice in quarters lengthwise. Rinse well under cold running water until all sand and mud are gone. Slice thinly crosswise. Quarter head of cabbage and remove tough white core. Slice thinly. Slice bacon in thin crosswise strips. Toast cumin seeds in dry pan over medium heat, shaking frequently until fragrant about 5 minutes. Combine bacon and 2 tablespoons butter in bottom of large skillet and cook over medium-high heat until bacon is rendered and crisp, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add toasted cumin and leek slices, then cook until leeks soften, about 5 minutes. Add half of cabbage and cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add half of remaining cabbage and cook until that is soft, 10 more minutes.

While cabbage is cooking, score salmon on skin-side, cutting just deep enough to pierce skin. Cut salmon into 8 equal pieces. Salt and pepper to taste on both sides. Add remaining cabbage to first skillet along with cream. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cream is no longer visible when pan is tilted from side to side. Season to taste with salt. Just before serving add remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and cook just until sauce thickens, less than a minute. Heat oil in wide nonstick skillet over high heat. Add salmon fillets, skin side down, and cook until skin has crisped and flesh has lightened about one-third up side, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn filets over and remove skillet from stove to finish cooking off heat. Divide leek and cabbage mixture evenly among 8 plates or shallow bowls. Place salmon on top, skin side up. The skin should be very crisp. Serve immediately.

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