I suspect many of you are knee-deep in preparations for the forthcoming festive season by now, but before you get stuck into the turkey, bread sauce and Christmas pudding, bear with me for one last non-festive meal.
This is a recipe I really recommend you make. It is easy, tasty and memorable. As always, try to get the best salmon you can, by which I mean the freshest. Go for nice and chunky belly fillets as opposed to the tail, and never fear, this is not a labour-intensive recipe at all, and the rewards are enormous, I guarantee it.
What about all those pitted olives, I hear you cry? I am not suggesting you pit them yourself; only a fool, or someone in love would do that. Why someone in love? I had lunch a few days ago with an extremely beautiful and charming young lady who told me that when she first met her husband to be, she pitted a whole bag of cherries for him, because he has a pit-phobia. He is indeed a very lucky man, even if she did admit that she no longer pits cherries for him as she's still quite a catch.
I am getting distracted, beautiful women have that effect on me. If you are planning any dinner parties, can I humbly suggest this as a main course? You see, hardly anyone dislikes salmon. There are people who don't eat lamb or trout, for example, but I have yet to meet anyone who dislikes salmon. Think about it, it is on the menu at most restaurants, and with good reason.
Fish is a tricky thing to cook well, but salmon is easier than most. However, be careful not to overcook it, that is the thing that most often goes awry. The trick is to take it out of the oven when it is ever-so-slightly underdone. And don't be afraid of a bit of rawness in the middle; what do you think sushi is made of? As long as the fish is easily parted with a butter knife, ship it out of the oven when it is done, even if it looks translucent. There should also be some whiteness from the fat on the sides. Enjoy the salmon my dears, and may I suggest some cherries for pudding? Pitted by a beautiful woman, of course.
MAKE IT YOURSELF
Salmon fillets in a tomato and garlic sauce
200g cherry tomatoes (about 60), halved
40 black olives, stoned and halved
4 garlic cloves, crushed
50g capers (about 40)
12 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8 fillets of salmon, (approximately 200g each)
2 small handfuls of fresh basil leaves
Salt and black pepper to taste
1. Place the cherry tomatoes, olives, garlic, capers and olive oil in a pan on a low heat until just warmed.
2. Sear the salmon in a hot, non-stick frying pan and cook for about 1 minute on each side ( it should remain pink in the middle). Season to taste.
3. Place each piece of salmon on a plate and top with the tomato garnish.
4. Decorate with pieces of fresh basil leaves and serve.