Asian steamed salmon

Salmon is my weekly treat. It’s my favourite fish, with a fantastic texture; and it’s not overwhelmingly, well, fishy. It’s incredibly versatile, lending to so many flavours; my preferred way of eating it is simply roasting with a drizzle of oil, and splashing with fresh lemon juice.

But this week, I decided to mix things up. This recipe idea came from Tesco’s website, which I recommend as a great source of ideas for meal planning and general food inspiration.

You’ll need, to serve one:

  • one salmon fillet
  • a small piece of ginger
  • 1/4 red chilli
  • a clove of garlic (not in the recipe, but I thought: why not?)
  • half a lemon
  • soy sauce.

 

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Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, or gas mark 5. Peel and slice the ginger into small matchsticks. Slice the chilli, a few thin pieces of lemon, and finely chop the garlic.

Simply lay the salmon on a piece of tin foil, and scatter with the spices. Lay the lemon slices on top, drizzle with soy sauce, and wrap the salmon into a parcel. Then, bake in the oven for fifteen minutes (twenty to twenty five, if from frozen.)

The ginger gave the salmon a lovely flavour, combined with the roasted lemon and the soy sauce. I enjoyed this with cumin and paprika sweet potato wedges, broccoli, and a yoghurt and tahini dip. Delicious!

(Salmon can easily be substituted with chicken – I’ve made it this way before, and served with courgette and tagliatelle. I will try this next time with noodles and stir-fried vegetables!)

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Fish and Chips

Fish and chips beats all other takeaways, for me. It’s not the cheapest, nor does it offer the most variety – but it’s spot on for filling up a hungry belly at the end of a long day.

Another plus of fish and chips is that it’s generally more traceable than a cheap pizza or a dubious Chinese. There is less grease, fewer oily chunks of meats, and no runny vibrant-coloured sauces.

I had a go at making my own, using sweet potato instead of boring old ordinary potatoes.

You’ll need:

  • one salmon or cod fillet
  • a beaten egg
  • 30g plain flour
  • paprika
  • a handful of breadcrumbs
  • one sweet potato
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 80g frozen peas
  • condiments of your choice: ketchup / mayo / sweet chilli sauce

Start by preheating the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Slice the sweet potato into chips, and give them a light coating of olive oil, salt, and pepper. (I normally give them a sprinkling of rosemary or paprika, but I thought I’d keep it simple this time – and sweet potato chips are surprisingly tasty when relatively naked.) Put them in the oven to roast for thirty-five to forty minutes.

In the meantime, beat the egg into a bowl. In another bowl, mix the breacrumbs with the paprika. When the sweet potatoes have about ten minutes left, dip the fish fillet in the egg, then coat in breadcrumbs, and place in a heated pan. Fry it for six minutes or until golden on each side. If you fancy going the whole traditional fish and chip hog, boil some peas and cut a slice of lemon for the fish. (Don’t do mushy peas – they’re hideous.)

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Serve up the fish and chips with whatever dips you fancy: I made a quick garlic and lemon mayo. Enjoy on a windy pier at the seaside – or in your cramped student kitchen.

Salmon, courgette, and spinach pasta

At the end of my last term at university, I had an abundance of frozen food to use up. Throughout the year I’d gradually accumulated a variety of frozen veg bags – peas, sweetcorn, spinach – as well as frozen white fish and salmon. (With these, on top of my bread, wraps, blackberries, meal portions, and beanburgers, I’d actually managed to break the door of my section of the freezer. What can I say? The freezer is an invaluable part of my life. So I should probably treat it better.)

So, wanting a quick dinner fix, I turned to my trusty friend. I also had plenty of pasta and garlic, and half of a lemon cling-filmed in the fridge. This was the result:

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Salmon, courgette and spinach pasta

The surprisingly satisfying feature of this impromptu meal was the textures of the  slightly chewy salmon, balanced with the similarly tender courgette and spinach. The lemon set the fish off well with a citrus zing. The garlic and the chilli gave the dish a bit of a kick, and brightened up the undeniable plainness of the frozen spinach. (I buy the stuff for the sake of ease; fresh spinach is better, and doesn’t require pressing down with kitchen towels to absorb excess water. But it just won’t keep long enough!) I dished the fish and veg on top of spaghetti, but tagliatelle probably would have been better suited.

I love it when recipes like these are born from a bit of experimental cooking! Here’s how I did it.

You will need:

  • half a courgette
  • as much frozen/fresh spinach as you like
  • a portion of frozen salmon
  • a clove of garlic
  • chilli flakes
  • olive oil
  • pasta (to suit your appetite – I had 70g)
  • half a lemon

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Unwrap the salmon, place in tin foil, and squeeze over a little lemon juice. Drizzle over some olive oil, then seal the parcel neatly, but not too tightly – you want excess moisture to escape. Pop in the oven for twenty minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the courgette into pieces of about 25mm – they need to be thin enough to cook quickly, but not too thick, else they’ll require a lot of cutting up as you eat. Finely chop the garlic. Stick the blobs of frozen spinach into the microwave, and defrost.

Take the spinach out to cool down while you carry on, then drain off the excess liquid, and press down with some kitchen roll.

Get a pan of water boiling. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan, before throwing in the courgette and frying for about ten minutes, or until the courgette slices have absorbed the oil and are soft and tender. Halfway through, add the garlic – you don’t want to add it too soon, or it will burn. If you want chilli, add the flakes now, to taste. Put the pasta in to cook according to the packet instructions, but make sure it’s still got a bit of bite.

Check that the salmon is cooked: you’ll be able to tell if it is visibly flakey when you cut inside. Leave it to cool.

Add the spinach to the courgette, and flake the salmon over the top. Squeeze lemon juice over it all, and season with salt and pepper if you like. Drain the pasta, and add the fish and veg on top.

Enjoy!