Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Mustard and Herb Baked Salmon

Can you believe I'm *ahem* thirty-something and have never cooked a piece of salmon before?  Well I've put salmon into things like fishcakes and 'luxury' (said a la Come Dine with Me with a Dave Lamb fake Midlands accent) fish pie and smoked salmon bagels.  But I've never actually taken a piece of salmon and cooked it as a dish before.

I've eaten it plenty of times when my family have been 'being' good.  But it's really not my fish of choice. Give me a nice piece of yellowfin tuna or some monkfish.  Even haddock or cod.  But there's something about salmon that's never means it's never really jumped out at me as a fish to buy and cook myself.

Back last month, I made Lorraine Pascale's salmon and sweet potato fish cakes, currently the second most popular post on my blog so far, and had a spare piece of salmon left which I froze with the intention of trying this recipe.

It worked well because every Wednesday, without fail, the husband has chicken sprinkled with Schwarz chargrilled chicken spice, a pack of Uncle Ben's Express tomato rice, two bits of buttered bread and some instant Bisto gravy (his choice entirely - nothing to do with my culinary skills; he was eating this meal several nights a week before I met him!) so as I work a long day (early start, late finish) it's good to have a really quick dish for tea and this one went well alongside the baked chicken.

The topping is really quick and simple to make and smelled beautifully fresh and healthy.  To make it even quicker, I used Garden Gourmet parsley so there was no faffing around chopping herbs.  Just stick a few spoonfuls of various things into a bowl, give it a stir, put it on the salmon and into the oven.

What I liked most was that you could actually taste all the different flavours in the topping.  The parsley was distinct, the mustard cut through nicely and it was accented by lime zest with the salt and sugar enhancing the sweet/savoury taste.

Tasty dinner, poor perspective!
The topping also kept the salmon really moist because whilst juggling lunch box making and zapping rice in the microwave (sigh), I forgot that the salmon was in the oven for 20 mins yet it was still nicely cooked and not at all dry in the middle.

Did it work with the salmon?  I'm not sure.  I enjoyed the dish but the topping was really flavoursome and when eaten with the fish, the delicate salmon flavour was overpowered.

I think it would have worked better with a fish that had a less defined taste.  Or, indeed, on top of chicken.  But a nice, easy, tasty dish for a harassed mum of two - sorry, mum of one, wife of one who set herself a daft cooking challenge on top of a demanding full time job, a demanding child and a demanding toddler.  I mean...  I'm sure you get my drift.

Will I make it again?  I'd probably cook it for guests if we ever had any and if the husband wasn't present as I don't think he'd like the sweet/savoury combo even if it was on chicken.  I might road test it on the child one day and I'd give it a whirl for a quick healthy tea if I had some leftover salmon.

Recipe - Serves 4

  • 100g dried breadcrumbs
  • 1.5 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • zest of 2-3 limes
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • knob of butter
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 4 salmon fillets
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c (180 fan), 400f, Gas 6.
  2. Mix the breadcrumbs, sugar, lime, mustard, butter and parsley together in a small bowl
  3. Place the salmon fillets in an ovenproof dish.  Divide the topping between the four salmon fillets and squish down on top.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on your preference.
  5. Serve with potatoes and green veggies.

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