tea smoked salmon salad
This is, perhaps, one of the more inauspicious meals I’ve made.
In fact, both times it’s graced my dining room table, a minor calamity has accompanied it.
The first, a dreary Autumn Day that saw me head back to the shops not just once, but thrice thanks to my fearfully bad memory, and the second? Well, I managed to lock myself out of the apartment whilst letting Trish in, didn’t I?
It’s a good thing it tastes so good. And looks so good. And comes together so surprisingly quickly.
My Koji loves eating fish.
White fish, oily fish, pink fish, small fish.
His favourite fish is gently steamed fish with bits of ginger and shallots and a splash of soy and sesame oil.
But by the time I finish work, by the time I haul myself back home along the wet and windy roads of Sydney, by the time I plod upstairs and into the kitchen and pull everything together for a meal, well let’s just say I’m not in the right frame of mind to wait for a fish to finish steaming before it lands in my belly.
Well, everything is easily prepared in advance.
Eggs and potatoes can be pre-boiled, beans blanched and cooled. The fish can be smoked and popped in the fridge and the dressing is just a chop and a whisk away from being ready.
A pan on heat, a quick skin-side-down sear. (A sneaky minute in the microwave to reheat the taters and such if you really want). And dinner is ready with a faintly-artful flourish.
We made lasagna for dinner last night, a celebration of the end of Autumn. A big sigh of relief at making it through the last couple of months of overseas weddings, at home weddings and overseas family visiting for weddings.
A silent thank you for my slowly abating cough (I got sick six weeks ago and still have this accursed cough! Though it only really emerges when I’m huffing and puffing or trying to fall asleep). For electrically heated throw rugs and too many cups of tea.
But one can’t live on lasagna alone. Or stew for that matter. Or soup. (Though the pea & ham I made last weekend was definitely on point).
So salad. Warm salad. Probably best as warm lunch salad, if your fingers are as apt at going numb as mine are, though I wouldn’t say no to dinner.
- 30ml water
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt flakes
- 600g salmon fillets
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp roasted rice green tea leaves
- 3 small potatoes per person
- 1 egg per person
- 8-10 beans per person
- 1 mini cucumber (or ¼ cucumber) per person
- 200ml natural yoghurt
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 5-6 stalks of dill, fronds only
- Mix the water, salt and 1 tbsp of brown sugar together in a non-reactive bowl and toss your salmon fillets in it. Set this aside while you prepare the smoking mixture.
- In a small bowl, toss the green tea and the 2 tbsp of brown sugar together.
- Line a deep wok or pot with foil so that the foil overlaps the edge of your wok by 20cm or more. Make another little dish out of foil, curling and scrunching the edges so that it forms a lip. Pop the green tea mixture into the foil dish and place it at the bottom of the foil lined wok.
- Arrange the salmon, skin side up, onto a wire rack and place it over the green tea mixture, making sure the two do not touch, and that the lid fits on the wok without touching the fish. (I had to use another upturned wok on top as my lid was too close fitting).
- Turn the heat on under the wok at a medium heat and, when you can smell the tea starting to smoke, pop the lid on and use the excess foil to scrunch a seal around the lid so that all of the smoke stays trapped in the wok.
- Leave the salmon on the heat for 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it sit for a further 15 minutes in the smoke.
- When the fish is finished smoking, it should be lightly cooked. If you aren't able to eat semi-cooked fish or if, like me, you prefer it more opaque, pan fry the fish, skin side down first, in a fry pan until it's cooked to your liking.
- While the fish is cooking, boil the potatoes in salted water until tender and boil the eggs until the yolk is just set.
- Top and tail the beans and blanch then for just 30 seconds before dunking them in a bowl of cool water so they stay crisp and a little squeaky. Chop the cucumber into chunks.
- To make the dressing, pull the fronds off the dill and chop them finely. Mix the dill fronds into the yoghurt along with the mustard.
- To serve, quarter the potatoes, slice any long beans in half, quarter the eggs and arrange everything nicely on a plate. Pop 100g of salmon on the top, flaked or whole, and dollop spoonfuls of dressing over the lot. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper before serving!