Busy, busy, busy here as our house extension is really happening now. Cement mixers scaffolding, piles of bricks, mini diggers and builders galore! The house is constantly dusty and gritty and the mud being dragged in from the back garden from the kids and pets means the house and my day-to-day life is just not what it used to be.
It’s a losing battle trying to keep things running “normally” and this is being directly reflected in my dwindling enthusiasm for cooking. My oven decides on a day-today basis if it’s going to work, the old kitchen units are coming apart and not being fixed, half of my utensils and cooking equipment have already been boxed and put into storage and we are down to 3 working kitchen downlighter bulbs - again not being replaced!
Despite the slow death of my kitchen I am getting really excited about my new forthcoming kitchen, pantry and utility room design, thanks to Mike @ Robinsons in Belfast. I’m lining up lots of recipes to christen my new kitchen come October! However in the meantime meals are more so what can I throw together really quickly that don’t rely on the oven’s temperamental mood? Plus I’ve download the Dominos and Just Eat apps…
For this recipe I usually cook a small side of Northern Irish salmon, however as mentioned above I can no longer rely on the oven so I cheated and bought some already poached salmon fillets from Marks & Spencer which obviously doesn’t pack the same flavours, but it does mean that this salad can be rustled up in no time at all.
Hope you like it - let me know…
Salmon & Herb Salad with Watercress Dressing
750g fillet of salmon
2 tablespoons white wine
salt & freshly ground black pepper
12 asparagus spears
300g frozen peas
small handful of dill, stems removed
small handful of mint leaves, roughly torn
small handful of tarragon leaves, stems removed
a handful of watercress
½ cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
juice of ½ a lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
200ml crème fraîche
a few sprigs of dill
handful of pea shoots
Cooking the Salmon:
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to make a parcel for the salmon. Place the paper on a baking sheet and add the salmon. Spoon the wine over the salmon and season it well. Wrap the salmon in the parcel making sure the edges are well sealed. Cook in the oven until just cooked through - about 20-25 minutes. [If you're unsure whether thicker fillets are ready, check the internal temperature. Insert a thermometer in the thickest part of the fillet and look for a temperature of 120°F for medium rare.] Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Then remove the skin and gently flake the salmon into large pieces.
Meanwhile prepare the salad ingredients and dressing.
Fry the shallot in the olive oil with the salt and pepper until softened, without letting the onions taking on any colour. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for a while, then put the onions into a food processor with the watercress and whizz together. Add the crème fraîche and pulse until well blended. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Have a bowl of cold iced water ready for when the vegetables are cooked.
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add the peas and asparagus. Cook until just softened - around 5-6 minutes depending on the size of the asparagus stems. When cooked plunge the vegetables into the iced water to cool quickly, avoid further cooking and to retain their green colour.
Put all the salad greens into a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice and olive oil then arrange around the edge of one big platter or individual plates. Put the flakes of salmon in the middle and spoon, or pour, some watercress dressing over the salad. Top with some pea shoots and sprigs of dill.
Serve extra watercress dressing on the side.