SINGAPORE (Apr 24): Take salmon, juicy pineapples and stalks of lemongrass, combine them with herbs and spices, and what do you get? Delicious salmon satay, with a tangy salsa, which you can prep ahead for a satisfying meal with the family. This week, we have issued the Chef’s Challenge to Chef Eric Neo — the executive chef of Intercontinental Singapore — who has risen to the challenge with his recipe for Salmon Satay with Pineapple Raisin Salsa. This delicious take on the more traditional beef or chicken satay is easy to prep ahead and can be grilled to perfection in just minutes.
- Blend all the spices for the marinade to make a paste. Add a little water if needed.
- Cut the fresh salmon into smaller pieces and pierce through with lemongrass stalks.
- Marinade the salmon in the spice paste for at least an hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare the salsa: combine the pineapples, raisins, onions, tomatoes and coriander with some olive oil.
- Grill the salmon, at least one to two minutes on each side.
- Serve warm with salsa.
Chef Neo says: "The culinary trends of the world are always changing. As a Singaporean chef, I need to innovate. My inspiration is the satay, but I wanted to use fish instead of the usual peanut sauce; and instead of pineapple puree, I thought a pineapple raisin salsa would be perfect. The key to this dish is to ensure the fish is portioned and marinated well, and set aside in the fridge for at least an hour for the flavour to be infused from the spice paste. Similarly, the salsa also needs to be set aside in the fridge for an hour. Be careful not to burn the salmon — cook it on low heat, taking care when turning it over. While it’s of course ideal to follow the recipe, there are ready-made satay spices that can be used to replace the homemade paste to make things easier for busy, working parents. You can also omit the lemongrass and shallots from the paste, if pressed for time."
Having started out as a chef at the age of 16, Chef Eric Neo brings with him more than 20 years of culinary and catering experience across varied cuisines including Cantonese, Western, Peranakan and Asian. He rose through the ranks to become Head Chef of international buffet restaurant Aquamarine in the Marina Mandarin, before being promoted to the hotel’s Executive Sous Chef in 2006. He then joined Crowne Plaza Changi Airport as Executive Chef in 2008, where he was an integral part of the pre-opening team responsible for developing menus and implementing operational procedures for the hotel’s food and beverage outlets. In October 201, he was appointed InterContinental Singapore’s Executive Chef, and he oversees the hotel’s culinary operations and menus of its restaurants and bars, namely Ash & Elm, Man Fu Yuan, Lobby Lounge and Victoria Bar, as well as the banqueting department.
His expertise and culinary skills as both chef and leader have earned him extensive recognition in the industry. Among other accolades, he was the team manager of the culinary team representing Singapore at the Pattaya City Culinary Challenge 2011, and Dubai World Hospitality Championship 2013, where he led the team to win the gold medal. He was also one of two elected Singapore representatives for the Tiger Brands World Cook’s Tour for Hunger in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, South Africa, for which he received a commendation for outstanding service. He is currently President of Singapore Chefs’ Association. He appears regularly as a guest chef or judge on popular television food programmes such as Koji Cooks and Wok Stars on Channel 5; and Neighbourhood Chefs and Love On A Plate on Channel 8.