Happy New Year! Once again, Elix and I are trying to be healthy – she is on a bikini diet before her holiday to sunny Dubai and I’m just on a health kick along for the ride! This is difficult given the collection of new cookbooks I got for Christmas, Nigella, Gizzi, Nigel Slater and Elix got the Spuntino book from your’s truly aswell.
Our meals this week have consisted of Vietnamese Salmon Salad, Spiced Butternut Squash and Vegetable Soup and the delight which Elix made last night (and I helped a bit) which was a twist on Nigel Slater’s Salmon and Courgette Fishcakes with the Spuntino Asparagus and Hazelnut Salad with a Soft Boiled Egg on the side.
The original fishcake recipe uses potatoes but we adapted for Sweet Potato – healthier, lighter, tastier and more nutritious. Sweet Potatoes are packed with Vitamins A, B6 and C and antioxidants aswell as being a good source of fiber and magnesium and being low in sodium and saturated fat. We didn’t add any salt to this recipe as we found the fishcakes were tasty enough especially with the salad and egg on the side.
Serves 3 (we saved a portion for packed lunch another day!)
2 Salmon fillets
1 large sweet potato
2 Spring Onions – sliced
2 Courgettes – grated
Grate the courgette and leave to dry out on some kitchen paper for 30 minutes or so. Peel the sweet potato and cut into chunks and boil until soft enough to mash (should take around 10-15 minutes). Bake the salmon in the oven at 180 degrees until cooked through.
Once the courgettes have lost some moisture (we didn’t manage to get them “dry” ) fry lightly in some olive oil with the spring onions until lightly golden, then mix in the mashed sweet potato until all combined. Lastly flake the salmon through and mix together. Let the mixture cool slightly (Elix did not do this and burnt her hands!) and using a little flour shape into 6 fishcakes – leave to cool thoroughly in the fridge for 30 minutes as they are easier to fry and less likely to fall apart in the pan when cooking.
Whilst you are waiting for this – get onto the Salad. Apologies in advance for my casual approach to measurements for the dressing and hazelnut crumb – i went by taste for this one and you should too…..
Bag of Mixed Leaves – we used lambs lettuce, frisee and rocket
Asparagus – boiled until al dente
2 Spring Onions – sliced
Handful of Hazelnuts
1 Tsp each of Cumin Seeds, Caraway Seeds, Black Sesame Seeds & Coriander Seeds
3tbsp Olive Oil
1tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1tsp Dijon Mustard
Salt & Pepper
Dry toast the hazelnuts in a pan, be careful not to burn them. Remove and toast the seeds until the spicy, warm aroma arrives, the seeds may start to pop so be careful – remove from the pan and leave to cool with the hazelnuts.
For the dressing, mix all the ingredients together, this gives a lovely vinaigrette which complements the nutty crumb perfectly and is so light it doesn’t clash with the fishcakes. You may wish to add grated garlic for extra heat and adjust if you like your dressing to have more punch by adding more mustard or vinegar.
Boil the eggs – I find that popping the eggs into already boiled water for 6 minutes usually gives a good soft centre –not too runny so good for salads like this one but stick with your own method for boiling eggs as I find everyone seems to have their own way which works for them!
Once cooled, grind the nuts and seeds down either with a pestle and mortar or in a food processor (we used the nutribullet).
Assemble the salad simply by tangling the leaves on the plate, scattering with the asparagus and spring onion and finally top with the egg. Dress with the vinaigrette and then sprinkle with the spicy nutty crumb for texture at the end.
Finally, for the fishcakes, lightly fry in olive oil until golden on the bottom and then carefully flip over for a few minutes on the other side. We followed Nigel’s advice in the book by frying them and not moving them around the pan to avoid them breaking up and ensure even cooking – it took about 6 minutes on each side to cook through and get a lovely crisp on the outside.