Monday, 8 November 2010

Harissa baked salmon & oven chips with capers

I hate when people are looking for the excuses for not cooking meals at home. The most frequent one is lack of time. They try to convince me that buying take-aways is much quicker. Well if you fancy unhealthy meal I can’t see any problem – at the end of the day it is your body not mine, but do not try to tell me that cooking a proper dinner takes more than 30-40 minutes (this is how long it takes me to drive to take-away and back home). You simply cannot admit that you either can’t cook or don’t like to cook, because cooking a meal is a matter of little over half hour.

The key is an attitude I suppose, and multitasking. Think in advance, reheat the oven and pan in the same time, chop the vegetables and boil the kettle so you will have hot water in the pan ready for cooking. This is how meals in restaurants are being prepared.

Today I had chosen a fish, because it only needs about 15-17 minutes in the oven. And there is one more thing that I would like to say – I only prepared one meal in about 35 minutes. Jamie Oliver in his new series makes 3 course dinners in less than 30 minutes.

Serves 2

2 salmon steaks, skinless, boneless
2 level tsp harissa
3 large potatoes (I used Maris Piper)
3 tbsp olive oil
handful salted capers
2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach
garlic clove
2 lemon slices
some small tomatoes on the vine

Right. Shall we start a timer? Here we go!

I came back from work about 5.45pm on Friday night, dropped coat and shoes and immediately put the oven on, at about 220 C. Also I put the kettle on, and I added about 1 cm of cold water into a pan and put it on a hob so it boiled in a good time.

From my shopping bag I took the salmon, potatoes, tomatoes and spinach out. From the fridge – jar of harissa and one with salted capers.

I peeled the potatoes quickly and chopped each into about 6-8 fat, chunky chips. The water in the kettle has boiled, to I topped the pan on the hob with some hot water and added a sprinkle of salt and boiled the chips for about 8 minutes. (Set the timer – it helps)

I placed handful of capers in a sieve and left it in a sink under running cold water, at the same time I lined two baking trays with some baking paper. I turned the water off and left capers to drain a bit. I put the pan on the hob and reheat it.

On one of the baking trays I have placed the salmon fillets and covered each one with some harissa. The oven was hot already, so I placed the salmon on the lower shelf and I have checked the pan with chips.

I have drained the chips and placed them on the second baking tray, drizzled with 2 tbsp of olive oil and added capers and two slices of lemon. I used very little salt, as capers are quite salty. I have placed the tray over the salmon and set the timer for about 15 minutes.

After 10 minutes I added tomatoes on the vine to the tray with the chips and turned on the grill.

Pan on the hob was really hot already so I added rest of the oil together with unpeeled crushed garlic clove. I fried it for about 1 minute until the garlic infused the oil and then removed from the pan and put it in the bin. Next I added the spinach to the pan with pinch of salt and lept it over a low heat until was lightly wilted and then removed from a hob and covered.

I placed two plates into a microwave and heat them for about 1 minute. Timer went off so I have removed the fish from the oven. Chips were nice and golden too, so I removed them from the oven and turned it off.

I have arranged some spinach on each plate and placed piece of fish onto each. Next I added some chips with capers and slice of lemon and roasted tomatoes. My partner set out the table, lighted the candles, and prepared the wine. I took few photos of our dinner and we sat at the table. It was around 6.20pm. What more would you like (except from dessert)?

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