Bolognese is banned in our house – it was made so much as an easy go-to dinner that the kids can no longer even utter the word. Thinking of ideas every day that will please the crowd and not be too onerous after a day at work can be tricky but you can use regular staples if you ring the changes with the methods. Salmon is, in my house, one of those things that I can use pretty much every week in different guises. It’s quite economical (I get a large salmon side from my fishmonger for a tenner and that feeds five and leaves some leftovers for lunch the next day), it’s healthy (fish oils etc..) and good protein for meaty/gym types.
It’s also very versatile; here are my (and my sisters’) 6 faves:
1. Poached Salmon with Potato Salad:
Make the poaching liquor: 200mls white wine vinegar, 2.5l water, sliced fennel, bay leaf, parsley stalks, peppercorns, salt – boil for 10 mins. Pour into a roasting tin on the hob, add the side of salmon and some lemon slices; simmer for 5 mins then turn off the heat and cover with foil to finish cooking. Leave to cool.
Serve with a potato salad, made with chopped boiled potatoes, finely sliced onion, chopped sweet and sour gherkins (which, I’m told, make all the difference..) and full fat mayo. I also serve it with green beans or green salad.
2. Baked Salmon with a citrus breadcrumb topping, roast gnocchi and salad:
Blitz up 3/4 pieces of stale bread into breadcrumbs. Add lemon zest and juice from 1 lemon, 1 chopped clove of garlic, chopped parsley, a drizzle of olive oil and 2 tbsp grated Parmesan. Mix thoroughly and add s&p. Press the mixture onto a side of salmon and bake in the oven for about 20 mins, adding some gnocchi (bought or made depending on how mad you’re feeling) with a little olive oil on them around the fish to roast.
Serve with a simple salad and maybe a little pesto on the gnocchi.
3. Teriyaki Salmon Parcels (love this-Zoe (13) makes it):
In a square of foil, brushed with sesame oil, place 3/4 tenderstem broccoli pieces. Lay a salmon fillet on top. Drizzle with a stirred mixture of soy sauce, lime juice, ginger chopped into matchsticks, mirin and chopped garlic. Seal up the parcel and repeat for each person. Bake for 20 mins in a medium oven. Serve with rice or noodles and a mixture of chopped spring onions and sesame seeds. Yum…
4. Salmon Filo Parcels with Tomato Chutney (kids are suckers for parcels..):
Mix about 50g butter with chopped basil, garlic, dill and lemon zest. Spread this over fillets of salmon and wrap each fillet in sheets of filo, brushing with a little melted butter as you go. Bake for 20 mins at 180c.
For the chutney: chop 1 red onion, 2 cloves garlic, half a red chilli, an inch of ginger and 5/6 tomatoes. Put in a pan with 125g brown sugar, 75 ml of red wine vinegar and 2 cardamom seeds. Boil then simmer until thick and chutneyish.
Serve the parcels with the chutney and either salad or new potatoes and peas.
5. Salmon Fishcakes (or burgers to Bobby who will eat all things burger-shaped):
Boil about 500g fluffy potatoes and roughly mash. Grill 3 salmon fillets then flake into the mash. Add chopped parsley or dill (or both), 1tsp mustard, s&p and some lemon zest and shape into fishcakes. You can cook them like this or (a bit of extra effort for a nice crispy outside) coat in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs and fry in olive or sunflower oil until golden.
Serve with oven baked sweet potato chips (make these all the time now-especially good with Cajun seasoning) and home made mayo (if possible-or jarred mayo mixed with natural yoghurt and lemon juice).
6. Mel’s Salmon HotPot (a regular at my sis’s house):
Dice onion, leek, celery and carrot and put in an oven-proof dish with pieces of salmon fillet on top. Mix together soy sauce and water, enough to cover the veg and cook with a lid on in the oven until veg are soft. Serve with rice and sprinkle with coriander (and a little chopped chilli for the oldies).
To use any leftovers, try pieces of salmon and broccoli tossed with tagliatelle, creme fraiche and lemon juice or this yummy salmon noodle broth with sesame seeds (using miso sachets as a base and some shredded vegetables and ginger):
I can probably make these a few more times before I have to ring the changes again-I’ll get thinking…