Dish up an early taste of summer
Over the past few months, people have been asking me for tasty recipes for both salmon and pork. There is something about these two foods that makes it difficult for us to get them tasting really good.
The best thing to do is to give them a good strong flavour. They tend to marry quite well with spicy and more daring ingredients. Pork is a favourite of mine and I love it roasted, but here I have tried to provide some quick and tasty options for those of you who are strapped for time.
The Cajun pork brings me back to a trip to Louisiana, where Cajun cuisine comes from. It is an eclectic mix of cuisines that's often defined as French mixed with South African, Spanish and Native American.
The Cajun pork dish contains what has affectionately been called the 'holy trinity' of flavours: 'bell pepper, celery and onion'. The dish also contains some juicy pineapple, which I, like so many others, use in lots of pork dishes to aid digestion. I also love the taste of nuts and the crunch that they add to this spicy dish.
The salmon is equally delicious, flavoured with a very simple marinade and then served with a noodle salad. I love the flavour of salmon with soy sauce.
While it is probably not at the front of your mind at the moment, we will be dusting the cobwebs off our barbecues in no time at all, and the marinade for the salmon works wonderfully with most seafood for indoor or outdoor cooking.
The noodle salad can be served hot or cold, which just adds to its appeal.
And then to dessert -- I have chosen a very indulgent chocolate ganache cake. I use ganache for so many things and I love to have some standing by in the fridge, even if it's just to melt over ice cream.
This cake lasts very well too... that's if you are disciplined enough to leave it alone.
Chilli-Crusted Salmon on Spiced Noodle Salad
The flavour of this salmon is delicious and gives a wonderful kick to what can otherwise be quite a mild-flavoured fish.
I love the combination of hot with cold, and this is an ideal way of having things prepared before your guests arrive.
This salad makes quite a substantial starter or light lunch in itself.
what you need
Chilli-crusted salmon 6 darnes of salmon
2 red chillies (seeds retained if you like it hot)
2 cloves of garlic
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Juice of 1 lime
3½fl oz/100ml soy sauce
2 stems spring onions, chopped
3 large dsps oil
Spiced noodle salad 4 'shells' of dried noodles
1 level tsp dried, crushed chilli flakes
2oz/50g chorizo, finely diced
5-6 mushrooms, sliced
1½ mixed peppers, chopped
½ courgette, diced
½ cucumber, diced
2 dsps basil pesto
Juice of 1 lime
1 dsp oil
Sesame seeds (garnish)
1For the salmon, put all the ingredients (except the salmon) into a food processor, then spread over the fish. Allow the salmon to marinate for no more than four to six hours; the marinade acts as a crust of sorts for the salmon.
2Pan-fry the salmon on either side and finish in the oven for eight to 10 minutes, or place on a baking tray and cook at 180°C/Gas Mark 4 for 17-20 minutes, depending on thickness. When cooked, the salmon should be firm to the touch.
3Prepare the vegetables. Cook the noodles according to packet instructions. Heat a large wok and add a small amount of oil.
4Stir-fry the diced chorizo and vegetables for four to five minutes until warmed and softened slightly, but still retaining their colour and slightly crisp. Allow the chorizo and vegetable mixture to cool down completely.
5Mix the cooled chorizo and vegetables into the cooked noodles. Stir in the pesto, oil, chilli flakes and lime juice. Season accordingly.
6Arrange the salad on each plate with the salmon and scatter sesame seeds over the top.