Dearest darling reader,
How are you? How’s your day going? Ready for your 3 day weekend? Well of course you are…God bless the Bank Holiday in all it’s brief-respite-from-work-even-though-it’s-guaranteed-to-rain loveliness. We’re British and we’re used to doing things in a state of perpetual change when it comes to the weather because if we didn’t go out every day with sunglasses, an umbrella & a set of snowshoes in our bags, frankly, we’d never leave the house.
The sun appears to have departed these shores to be replaced in residency by a polar wind – pop up only I hope – so this post comes to you from the hands of a lady wearing several more layers than you’d hope for in May, who can currently be found in that slightly overwhelmed, definitely overfed state that arises post-birthday. Or more accurately, post-week-long-and-eating-out-every-day-birthday celebrations.
I love it, I love any excuse to go and eat out and normally J and I don’t have to look very far to find one.
It’s someone’s birthday? Great!
You had an excellent ,meeting at work? Ace!
Oh look, it’s Tuesday? Woo-hoo!
The plus side of all this feasting is that you get to travel the world on your plate without the need for excess baggage fees or learning to sleep upright – I’ve been to India at Dishoom, Italy via Polpo, Britain thanks to the Soho Hotel, Peru through Lima and Japan by way of Shackfuyu this week alone – but the downside is the mysterious & unfathomable shrinking of one’s waistband followed by a general feeling of utter lethargy and the craving for something fresh, healthy & reinvigorating.
This is where today’s delightfully cheeky little dish comes in – something that you can eat with sheer gusto knowing that it’s every bit as good for you as it tastes. Luscious, fat-on-your-fork flakes of salmon are smothered with a marinade that combines a citrus kick with the faintest hint of floral and served alongside a juicy pineapple salsa, coconut oil roasted sweet potato half moons, sweet & nutty red rice and creamy hunks of avocado, it’s the perfect dish for getting back on the culinary straight and narrow…
I’m a tad obsessed with Sabrina Ghayour’s cookbook ‘Persiana’ at the moment and truth be told, have been ever since it was published. I love the dishes in it that are perfect for dinner parties with friends when you want to lay out a spread of platters & bowls destined to wow but I also love the quick, clean & uncomplicated suggestions for sprucing up the simplest of weekday dinners when time is at a premium. On this particular occasion, I had salmon fillets in the fridge and a desire to bring a something more to them than my standard chilli flakes & lime so Sabrina’s Citrus Spiced Salmon was exactly what I was after.
This is adapted slightly from the original recipe as I used what I had in the house but the substitutions are minimal, for example using tangerines instead of an orange and omitting the dried lime but throwing in a squeeze of fresh lime juice instead.
Citrus Spiced Salmon (for 2 people)
- 2 salmon fillets
- 2 tbsp dried rose petals, finely ground (I used a pestle & mortar but a small food processor would work well)
- 1 tbsp sumac
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 lime, zest and juice
- 2 tangerines, zest and juice
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
- 1 tsp of coconut oil
- 100g red camargue rice
- 1 small tin of pineapple in juice (usually 227g when drained; rings or pieces are fine)
- half a red pepper
- half a red onion
- 2 salad tomatoes
- 1 avocado
- Start by grinding your rose petals either in a pestle & mortar or in a small food processor – if you’ve managed to buy them already ground, ignore this step. I know a pestle & mortar aren’t necessarily commonplace in all kitchens, but I absolutely love the romanticism – and upper bicep workout – of them plus the fragrance from the petals as you grind them in it is heavenly.
- In a small bowl, combine the ground rose petals, sumac, cumin, cinnamon, zest, salt & pepper until they’re well mixed.
- Add the olive oil and squeeze the juice from half your lime into this as well then blend until you have a fragrant, shiny, wet paste.
- Lay your salmon fillets onto non-stick paper in a small baking tray.
- Generously coat the marinade on your salmon fillets – you can either do this in a separate bowl then lay them on the paper in which case all of your fillets will be covered in the sauce or you can simply put the sauce on top of the fish which I did as I like to see the beautiful colour of the salmon underneath it.
- Cover your tray with clingfilm and pop it into your fridge for anytime between 30 minutes to overnight; mine were in there for approximately 3 hours but obviously, the longer you leave them, the more intense the flavours will be.
- About 10 minutes before you’re ready to start cooking your fish, you can begin to prepare your accompaniments; pre-heat the oven to 200/180/gas mark 6, put a teaspoon of coconut oil onto another baking tray and allow to melt in the oven.
- Slice your sweet potato into rounds about 5mm thick then into half moons and place on the melted coconut oil. Put this tray into the oven on the middle shelf for 10 minutes.
- Put your red rice on to cook – this will take around 15 minutes on a low heat, giving it the occasional stir to ensure nothing is sticking.
- When the first 10 minutes of sweet potato cooking time are up, remove the tray from the oven, turn over your half moons and place back in the oven on a lower shelf to continue cooking. On the middle shelf slide your salmon fillets and allow to bake for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your salmon fillets. Ours were quite long and skinny but deep and took around 14 minutes so keep an eye on them as the last thing you want is dry fish.
- While your salmon, rice & potato moons are cooking, finely dice your onion, pepper, tomatoes and pineapple then mix together in a bowl and squeeze the juice from the tangerines over the top and remove your avocado flesh from the skins.
- Once the rice is cooked, drain, rinse and serve on 2 plates alongside the the avocado and salsa.
- Remove the salmon and potatoes from the oven and add to the plates; with your remaining half of lime, squeeze the juice over the top of the rice which will give it a lovely, fresh scent and serve.
The texture of the marinade is a gorgeous contrast against the softness of the fish while the fragrance conjures up images of the exotic, the coconut oiled sweet potatoes pair beautifully with the tropical pineapple salsa and the avocado with all its blessed fats and the rice with all its blessed fibre offer a wonderful balance of creamy & nutty flavours and textures.
This is a dish worthy of finding a home in your cooking repertoire not only for its glorious flavours but also for the complete goodness of it, proving that healthy doesn’t have to be frighteningly dull so embrace something a touch out of the ordinary tonight and let me know how you get on!