Sunday, 25 November 2012

Spring Salmon

As spring careers into summer, and the slow cooker edges back into the cupboard, I’m starting to think about summer recipes and salads – especially at the end of long hot days in the garden.  Being the organised type, I’m also starting to think about this year’s Christmas Day menu… and this recipe is a definite contender.

This recipe can expand or contract to fit the number of people needing to eat.  You could poach one slice of salmon and have a lovely meal for one, or any number from there.

Baked Salmon with Grape and Hazelnut Salad
Serves 8

1 side salmon – around 1-1½ kg
3-4 tbsp Mandy’s horseradish

You can buy your salmon with the pin bones removed, or pay a little less and remove them yourself.  A pair of needle-nosed pliers is handy for removing them, or you can invite Laughykate around for dinner – she’s a dab hand at removing pin bones!

Line a baking tray with foil and place the salmon on top. Add a slosh of wine, a squeeze of lemon, some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until just cooked through.  As the salmon will be covered with the salad when served, you can test with a sharp knife in the thickest part of the salmon.  For this recipe you want it cooked through, but only just – and it will keep cooking after it’s out of the oven, so take it out when still slightly underdone.  Cool and refrigerate.

Grape and hazelnut salad
70-100g fresh hazelnuts, roasted, skinned and roughly chopped (one's mother is very good at the skinning bit, thankfully)
200g seedless green grapes, cut in quarters
1 red chilli, thinly sliced  (optional)
2-3 tbsp baby capers
¼ C each flat-leaf parsley and mint, roughly chopped (feel free to add dill or sorrel)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper

This salad is a fantasic combination of flavours and textures.  It would happily accompany other fish dishes or barbequed chicken. Combine the hazelnuts, grapes, chilli and capers.  Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and add the herbs.  Toss the herbed dressing through the salad and allow to sit for up to an hour to let the flavours develop (ok, to climb into a nice glass of chilled rosé or a pre-lunch bubbly).

To assemble
Take the salmon out of the fridge about 1 hour before serving, to allow to come up to room temperature.  Gently slide the salmon onto a serving dish and mop up any extra juices.

Just before serving, cover the salmon with a layer of Mandy’s horseradish sauce.  If you don’t live in New Zealand, you may not have access to this delicious condiment.  You could try to recreate it by combining freshly grated horseradish with a thick (not pouring consistency) mayonnaise.  Alternatively you could use crème fraiche, with some garlic and lemon zest.  The main thing is to have a creamy layer between the salmon and the salad.
Toss the salad and spoon over the salmon, making sure all the juices go with the salad.  Serve with a salad and new potatoes or fresh bread.

I haven’t made it this year, but here’s how it looked for Christmas lunch last year (although I think I served the Mandy's horseradish on the side – can't see it in the picture).

1 comment:

laughykate said...

Vouching for that salmon. It's stunning.