Sometimes it’s impossible to ignore a spanking fresh whole salmon at the fish counter. It fixes you with its beady glare as if to say “resistance is futile”. I was unable to resist one such salmon yesterday, although there are just 4 of us to feed in our household so it seemed extravagantly huge. But this heroic fish has already yielded 3 meals, and there’s plenty left for sandwiches tomorrow. Or even Vietnamese rice rolls if you have a bit of time and patience to spare!
Back to the fish counter… Ask the fishmonger to scale the fish for you (a horribly messy job to do at home). If they’re the helpful type, ask them to also remove the fins and score it deeply for you – this helps with even cooking and makes it easier to serve.
Meal 1: Asian baked salmon
Stuff the clean fish with roughly chopped lime and fresh coriander. Rub the outside with a little sesame oil, douse with soy sauce and lime juice inside and out and wrap loosely with 2 layers of tinfoil. Bake for 45 mins and let it sit in the cooling oven a while longer. Serve with shortgrain brown rice (which helpfully also takes 45 mins to cook) and any veg you have handy – sugar snap beans, carrots, pak choi etc – cooked al dente of course. I always like to have a peeled sliced cucumber on the side to pick at – a palate cleanser to offset the richness of the salmon.
Meal 2: Stirfried rice with salmon, peas and mushroom (for the kids)
This is too easy to have to describe in detail, I just fry the mushrooms a bit then add peas and a little water to steam, then add the rice and lastly the salmon (flaked) and a bit of soy. The kids wolfed this down.
Meal 3: Salmon and pomegranate salad with yoghurt dressing (for the grown-ups)
This impromptu lunch was delicious – fresh, crunchy, high protein and low fat – I felt terribly virtuous afterwards. Because I happened to have a pomegranate (what luxury!) I used half of it along with a dressing made up of natural yoghurt, a teaspoon of pomegranate molasses (wonderful stuff but hard to come by – if you don’t have it you could substitute a half teaspoon of sugar), juice of half a lime or more to taste and a good pinch of sea salt. I’d imagine that a tiny bit of wasabi paste or horseradish would be worth experimenting with. Garnish the salad with more fresh coriander. I did a taste test with rocket vs little gem lettuce, and I think the latter worked best.
Read all about the Irish legend of the Salmon of Knowledge here.