Oh the joys of being back at home for Christmas and having a kitchen again! This is a lovely comforting dinner but isn’t too heavy as light flaky salmon and fresh greens are used. It takes a bit of time to put together but the steps are easy then you just bung it in the oven when you’re ready and you’re left with a a dish that delivers on flavour and wow factor.
- 250g ready-made puff pastry
For the filling:
- 450g piece of salmon fillet, skinned and any bones remove, cut into 3 even sized steaks (or 3 skinless and boneless salmon fillets weighing approximately 150g each)
- 10g butter (a heaped teaspoon)
- 150g spinach
- 1 rounded tablespoon crème fraîche
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1 dessertspoon lemon juice
- Whole nutmeg, freshly grated
- Salt and freshly milled black pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- Place the frying pan on a high heat then add the butter followed by the spinach leaves and wilt it for about 1 minute, stirring it around until it has collapsed then tip it into a sieve over a bowl and leave it to cool.
- Then use the back of a wooden spoon to press the wilted greens against the sieve and extract any juices. Now place it on a chopping board and press with several sheets of kitchen paper to extract any wetness that remains. Spoon it into a small bowl then stir in the crème fraîche, lemon juice, some freshly grated nutmeg and some seasoning.
- Sweat off the onion and garlic in a small saucepan then remove from the heat, add the spinach mix and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Divide the rested pastry into 3 even pieces then roll the first piece very thinly into a rectangle the same shape as the salmon fillet, roughly 21cm by 15cm (you will need to adjust the size of the pastry to according to the shape of the salmon fillet).
- Then place a piece of salmon on one half of each piece of pastry and spread a third of the spinach mix on top of each fillet.
- Using a pastry brush dampen the corners of the pastry with beaten egg then fold the pastry over the salmon to encase it and crimp the corners with a fork to seal.
- Put each parcel onto a parchment lined tray. Pop them in the fridge until you need them.
- If you are preparing them in advance cover them with a piece of cling film.
- When you are ready to bake them, pre-heat the oven to 220°C.
- Place the parcels on the baking sheet, with a liner, then make a few diagonal slashes in each one and brush each one with beaten egg. Bake for 20 minutes on a high shelf until crisp and golden.
- Serve with seasonal greens, new potatoes and parsley sauce.
A traditional Brazilian dish of fish and bell peppers (capsicum) in a delicately flavoured coconut base broth, this stew really is quite unique.
I made this after being inspired by a visit to a Brazilian restaurant where they carved copious amounts of tender meat onto your plate quicker than you could eat it. I was in heaven. While the selection of meat was absolutely beautiful, what stood out for me most was the ‘salad bar’ that was on offer. There was a variety of Brazilian delicacies ranging from lentil salads, herb and garlic roast potatoes, black bean stew, rices, pastas, salsas, olives, garlic mushrooms, fresh fruits and vegetables, and many other things including moqueca. The spices were subtle but flavourful and the fish was welcome change from the heavy going grilled meats. I cooked up a batch for the family the day after and it was a total success.
This is actually quite refreshing rather than rich and heavy. In addition to coconut milk, the broth has in it canned tomatoes, lime juice, paprika and cumin powder. The paprika and cumin flavour is subtle, and to me, the standout is the lime flavour which cuts through the richness of the coconut milk.
The broth is quite refreshing and not too rich, unlike many strong flavoured, rich coconut based curries. I made this just using fish but it is also made as a seafood stew with prawns and calamari.
- 3-4 salmon fillets, skinned and cut into chunks
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- ¼ tsp salt
- Black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1½ tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 large red bell pepper, halved and sliced
- 1 tsp each of cumin and coriander powder
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- ½ tsp salt
- 200ml coconut milk
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 100ml fish or chicken broth
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander
- For the fish: Combine the fish, lime juice, salt and pepper in a bowl. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- For the broth: Heat a large pan over a medium high and add 1½ tbsp olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 1½ minutes or until the onion is starting to become translucent.
- Add the bell peppers and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the remaining broth ingredients. Bring to simmer then turn down to medium.
- Add the salmon chunks, stir to coat and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens and the salmon is tender. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir through lime juice.
- Garnish with coriander and serve with rice.
Yes, another fish dish. That’ll teach me to buy a whole side of salmon when it’s on offer.
From the western shores of India, this delicious baked fish dish looks very impressive when you serve it wrapped in banana leaves. As you unwrap it, release some mouth-watering aromas. If you can’t get banana leaves then you can use lightly oiled foil or baking parchment instead.
- 2 thick salmon fillets, skinned
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- Fresh banana leaves (or oiled foil)
For the spice paste:
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 50g creamed coconut
- 50g freshly grated coconut
- 2 fresh chillies, deseeded and chopped
- 50g fresh coriander, chopped
- 10g fresh mint, chopped
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- 1tsp grated fresh ginger
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Make the spice paste by placing all the paste ingredients in a food processor and blending until fairly smooth.
- Place the fish fillets on a plate. Sprinkle with turmeric, rubbing it into the fish, and keep to one side.
- Cut the banana leaves into approx. 24cm squares and soften by dipping into a pan of hot water for a few seconds. Wipe dry and arrange on a work surface.
- Spread the spice paste on both the fish pieces.
- Place a piece of fish on each square and wrap it up like a parcel securing with bamboo skewers. If using foil, simply scrunch up to seal.
- Place the parcels on a baking sheet and bake in the oven to 12 minutes or until cooked through.
- Serve immediately with basmati rice, lemon wedges and maybe some minty yoghurt dip and poppadoms.
I’ve been eating a lot of fish recently in an attempt to cut down on other meats and improve my diet. Salmon, in particular, is rich in omega 3 and incredibly versatile. It also happens to be on offer in my local shop at the moment so expect plenty of salmon related goodness.
The recipe below is for a gorgeous oriental style dish with a whole side of salmon that is marinated in a sticky soy marinade and delicately oven cooked for a ridiculously moist and tender result.
You could use this marinade on salmon portions but using a whole side gives really succulent results. To be honest, you could serve this sauce on a piece of scabby roadkill and it would still be amaze-balls!
- 1 whole side salmon
- coriander, finely chopped,
- Spring onions, sliced
- Sesame seeds
- red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped,
- lime wedges to serve
For the marinade:
- 2 tbsp each soy sauce and rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 2 star anise
- 1 tsp Thai 7 spice (optional)
- 2 tsp Thai fish sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a large dish. Place the salmon, skin side up, into the dish. Leave in the fridge to marinate for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
- To cook, heat the oven to 220C, 200C fan. Remove the salmon from the marinade and place on a foil lined roasting tray. Roast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on whether you want it opaque in the middle or completely cooked.
- Meanwhile, transfer the marinade to a pan, bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes until thick and syrupy. Pour half over the salmon for the last 5 minutes of cooking, then, when sticky and slightly caramelised, remove from the oven and scatter with coriander, spring onions, sesame seeds and chilli. Cut the salmon into portions and with a fish slice, serve the salmon up on plates, removing the skin as you serve. Serve with sticky rice, green veg and lime wedges. Drizzle with the remaining sauce if desired.