365 days of lockdown. Who would have thought ey? I have cooked, pickled and fried, I have made my own noodles, pasta, several kinds of gnocchi and have just about covered every popular cuisine out there.
Keeping it creative in the kitchen has played a fundamental role in keeping me sane during this year -researching recipes, planning shopping trips to my much beloved Barbican Waitrose and picking nice wines to go with dinners that became the highlights of my weekends.
Well, it looks like we are not quite of the woods yet and a return to normality may still be some time off which is why I will endeavour to keep the fun, tasty and unusual recipes coming, for me AND for you guys.
In that vain it was about time for me to take my first stab at confit cooking via this wonderful confit salmon pasta dish by the great Yotam Ottolenghi.
It was actually surprisingly easy to do and the end result was the most wonderful juicy, fragrant salmon that worked an absolute treat with a herby and surprisingly light dressing.
A dish that screams spring and a dish that will be a much needed dinner treat to celebrate an anniversary we all really did not need nor want.
- 35g coriander leaves (from about 1 small bunch)
- 35g basil leaves
- 1 large salmon fillet, about 450g, skinned
- Salt and black pepper
- 200g sweet red cherry tomatoes, such as datterini
- 2 red chillies, chopped widthways into 2½cm-thick rounds
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed with the flat of a knife
- 3 banana shallots, peeled and cut into 2½cm-thick rounds
- 10 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
- 300ml olive oil
- 75ml lime juice
- 500g dried pappardelle
- Combine the herb leaves in a medium bowl.
- Dry the salmon well with kitchen towel, then season all over with two-thirds of a teaspoon of salt.
- Heat a large saute pan for which you have a lid on a high heat.
- Once very hot, add the tomatoes, chilli, garlic and shallots, keeping them all spaced apart, and cook for eight minutes, turning everything once halfway, until it’s all nicely charred.
- Add the cardamom and two tablespoons (or 10g) of the fresh herb mix and char for another two minutes.
- Turn the heat as low as it will go, add the oil, two tablespoons of lime juice, two teaspoons of salt and a very generous grind of pepper, then gently lay the salmon in the pan.
- Spoon the oil and aromatics over the fish, leave it on the heat for two minutes, then turn off the heat, cover the pan and leave the salmon to confit in the residual heat for 30 minutes, carefully turning the fillet once halfway.
- Transfer the fish to a plate and use two forks gently to flake it apart into large chunks.
- Strain the remaining oil into a large bowl, pick out and discard the cardamom and herbs, and keep the remaining aromatics and oil separately.
- Don’t wash out the pan, because you’ll use it again later.
- For the salsa, put 40g of the fresh herb mix in the small bowl of a food processor with 75ml reserved confit oil and two tablespoons of lime juice, and blitz to a smooth paste.
- Cook the pasta until al dente, then drain, and reserve two tablespoons of the cooking water.
- Return the sauté pan to a medium-high heat, add the drained pasta, reserved cooking water, strained aromatics and a tablespoon each of the confit oil and lime juice.
- Toss, gently heat for two to three minutes, then stir through the remaining herbs.
- Transfer the pasta to a large platter, top with the flaked salmon and spoon over the salsa.
- Finish with plenty of black pepper and serve.
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