Missing Ingredients

Don't you just hate it when a recipe doesn't come together? I started out last night's dinner with all but two of the ingredients - we improvised to make up the rest, but it certainly didn't come out the way I had planned. The items in question were capers and horseradish sauce. I know I've used both in my kitchen before, and assumed the little jars would still be sitting there in the fridge. However, when I got home and started to prepare the fish supper we were going to have, I discovered a great lack of both.

IMPROVISE. It's the best part of cooking. As long as you know what tastes good together, one ingredient lost is another ingredient gained! We threw in some baby plum tomatoes and artichoke hearts instead, and it was damn good.

Which fish to choose? Recently here in the UK, there has been a big campaign to buy sustainable fish from the waters surrounding Great Britain, as it has been discovered that "half of all the fish caught in the North Sea are thrown back overboard dead". This information comes from hugh's fish fight - a campaign started by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, one of my favorite British celebrity chefs. He is using his powers for good, and getting a massive following via facebook, twitter, the website, and a 3-part tv series on channel 4. Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, and Heston Blumenthal are all behind the cause as well. And it's great because this brings the issue into the public's collective conscience.

Fish is obviously a big part of the diet here - but we're not necessarily talking fresh, catch of the day. Ever heard of fish n chips? That deep-fried version may be tasty to most, but perhaps not when we strip away the batter and chips. Hugh's message is to try some of the lesser-appreciated types of fish, the ones that are cruelly chucked back into the sea - like flounder, coley, and dab. We know what we're used to seeing on menus and in shops: salmon, cod, haddock, tuna. Perhaps it's time to try something different.

Now, i've said all this - but guess what we had for dinner last night? Salmon. I KNOW! Practice what you preach, lady! Now before you accuse me of being a selfish flounder hater, I chose the salmon for its lovely, dark, rich color and the fact that it is wild Alaskan. If I'm gonna eat salmon, it's gonna be the good stuff and not farmed, pumped full of junk. While I could do better to choose a sustainable, overlooked variety, preferably a local one, I can at least choose the salmon I buy carefully. Better yet, I picked up a few packets and put the other two in the freezer for future use. After all, weddings are expensive!

So, dinner. Here it is, in all its one-pan glory. super easy to make, nice flavors, and best of all - you can throw in whatever you want if you're not sure you can be bothered to pick up a bag of pea shoots (which they may not even grow where you live). Anything green and leafy will do :)

Roasted Salmon & Potato Supper

Serves two

The particulars:

  • 500g organic baby potatoes (about 12), thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, cut into wedges
  • 8 baby plum or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 6 artichoke hearts, sliced in half
  • optional: 2 cups radishes, quartered; 4 cooked beets, quartered; 1 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • a handful of pea shoots or other leafy green veg
  • lemon wedges and horseradish sauce to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. In a large roasting pan, toss the potatoes with the red onion, tomatoes, artichokes, and radishes (if using) in the olive oil. Add plenty of salt and pepper, and throw in the beets (if using). Roast for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the pan from the oven, stir everything around, then place the salmon fillets on top of the vegetables. Place back in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the salmon is fully cooked through.
  3. Divide the pea shoots between two plates, serve the vegetables and salmon on each, then sprinkle some dill and capers (if using) on top. Squeeze the lemon on the fish before serving.