There seems to be some consensus in the medical profession that eating salmon regularly is a good thing. Health benefits claimed for salmon include everything from the high levels of essential fatty acids it contains (which help maintain our immune and circulatory systems as well as reducing the risk of arterial blood clots) and helping eliminate dry eye syndrome and possibly reducing the risk of sunburn (?! ). It even turns up in longevity diets, along with dark chocolate and red wine. But forgetting about the health benefits, I love salmon for two very good few reasons:
- it makes for a very fast dinner and
- the kids like it, possibly because fresh salmon does not have the same sort of "fishy" smell as some other fishes, and is easy to eat.
I made this salmon the other night, at least partly because I had a stale lump of bread that I wanted to use up, and these crumbs were a perfect use of bread too good to throw out. Even though I was serving this to the kids, I kept in the chilli (it was a very mild chilli and I chopped it very finely) and the capers. Both just gave some background depth of flavour, but no really strong tastes. In fact, my elder daughter declared half way through the meal that this was definitely her favourite ever salmon dish. Incidentally, I forgot to buy tarragon, so if you're not keen on herbs or don't like the slightly aniseed-y flavour of tarragon, you can leave it out. The recipe is still great without it. It comes from Tobie Puttock's book "Italian Local" and is the second fantastic thing I have made from this book. He is definitely batting 2 for 2 so far, and I still have a few more things bookmarked to try out.
Roast Salmon With Crispy Pangrattato Crumbs
adaped from "Italian Local" by Tobie Puttock
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 chilli, seeded and finely chopped*
1 tbl extra virgin olive oil
4 x 1 cm thick slices of ciabatta or other good bread, crusts removed and roughly chopped then blitzed in a food processor until they are crumbs
1/4 cup salted capers, rinsed and chopped finely
2 tbl chopped flat leaf parsley
a small handful of chopped tarragon (I forgot this !)
4 x 200g salmon fillets, boned with skin on
Heat the oven to 220C. For the pangrattato crumbs, combine garlic, chilli and olive oil. Place the bread crumbs in a dry frypan over medium heat, stirring often until the crumbs are very crispy. Add the chopped capers and fry for 5 minutes then add the garlic and chilli oil and cook for another five minutes. Remove the crumbs to some paper towels to drain for 5 minutes, then add parsley and tarragon and season to taste.
Season salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Heat a large ovenproof frypan over high heat then add the salmon, skin side down and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, scatter the crumbs over he top, then roast in the oven for 3-4 minutes for medium rare fish, or longer if you prefer your salmon well-done. When the salmon is ready, squeeze over some lemon juice.
I served this with some steamed green beans and some cherry tomatoes.
*the easiest way to seed a chilli is slice it in half lengthways with a knife and fork. Then holding it still with the fork, scrape the seeds out with a teaspoon. This spares you the irritation of getting hot chilli on your hands.