I have never been a big fan of seafood. There are only couple of types of fish I can manage to eat – one of them is salmon. Salmon has always had this reputation in my eyes as being the annoying Monday night healthy-not-so-yummy dinner. The day after the weekend, when you've promised yourself to start eating healthy again.
As I'm on my 'Eating a wider range of things/Learning how to cook' experiment, I decided to take up the Salmon Challenge first. Inspired by Bianca's salmon with green beans (much improved, as she always says!).
Don't worry, I'm not planning to send you 'sleeping with the fishes', my fish hate has vanished after this recipe.
There was a lot of trial and error in the process, but finally I have the perfect recipe that will only take 30 minutes to prepare and is guaranteed to leave you with a greasy chin (you'll know what I'm talking about by the time you have finished digging into that deliciousness).
Don't forget that my recipes are for people who are starting their cooking journey – some tips might seem obvious to the amazing home cooks, but have proven to be helpful for the ones who don't have much experience, as myself.
Ingredients: (for 2 people)
4 Salmon fillets - about 140 g each
1 pack Green Beans - about 200 g
1 Sacla Classic Basil Pesto
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Dill or Basil for garnish (optional)
How to do it all in exactly 30 minutes?
I named my oven Nancy, hoping to establishing a better relationship between us. I noticed that it takes Nancy exactly as long to prep herself to 180 degrees as it takes me to prep the fish.
So turn on your own Nancy before you start doing anything else.
Start prepping the fish:
Place the fillets on an oven tray covered with foil. Leave double of the width over the edges to cover the fish before it goes in the oven.
Pour some white wine generously all over the fish fillets. Don't be greedy, there will be enough left over for your liquid dessert, wink wink.
Pour some extra virgin olive oil all over the fillets and massage it in.
Add salt and pepper. I have some Ibizan coarse salt with chilli flakes in it, does wonders to the taste.
Cut one lemon in half, slice up the other.
Squeeze the lemon juice from two halves all over the fish, but remember that lemon cooks the fish, so leave it to the last minute. I learned the hard way - once Luca was late for dinner and I prepped the fish and left it for an hour to stand before it went into the oven. Nearly half of the fish was cooked on top even before it got close to Nancy, and I had no idea what to do with it then.
Put the lemon slices on the thickest parts of the salmon and some butter slices on the thinner part of the fish. That helps to cook the thicker part faster and keep the thinner part moist.
Cover the fish tightly with foil.
By now the oven will pre-heated to 180 degrees. Pop the tray in the oven and don't forget to check the time.
They go in for exactly 15 minutes - even 1 minute too long and it starts getting too dry.
Put water to boil on the stove.
While the water is starting to boil, chop off the bean stems and place the beans to the water.
Boil them for 5-6 minutes according to how soft you like them.
Meanwhile prepare the dressing for the green beans with some butter, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
When the fish has been in the oven for 15 minutes, take it out and open the foil.
Take the beans from boiling and pour the dressing on them – add salt and pepper.
Add green beans on the plate and drizzle the dressing with a spoon on the plate, place the fish on top of the beans and basil pesto on top of the fish – the more the merrier.
Garnish with lemon and dill or basil. There you go - you are ready to dig in :) All in under 30 minutes.
I usually buy the salmon on the same day of cooking to guarantee the freshest you can get, but if you plan ahead and you know that you will be cooking this dish in 2 days and you want to make it a bit special then I would go and buy some vodka, dill and cucumber to make a nice refreshing cocktail to go with the dish.
Dillicious Cocktail (for 2 people)
2 cups of Vodka
½ cup loose Dill
It is very easy to make infused vodka, specially with these ingredients, since they don't need too long a time to give the wanted flavour.
Put your peeled and sliced up cucumber, with the dill (big stems removed) and vodka into a mason jar or another air tight glass container and leave it to infuse for 48 hours.
When finished, strain the infused vodka through a fine mesh strainer and/or a coffee filter if the vodka seems a bit cloudy. And you are ready to mix your cocktail to taste!
Squeeze fresh lime juice into your dill & cucumber vodka and add tonic & prosecco to taste.
It will take the edge off the rich fish with it's freshness in a second. Another option to compliment the fish is a good old Gin & Tonic.