Fresh salmon the way it should be served!

Here’s a recap of a conversation I had last night with one of my Irish friends last night:

Me: “I’m going to have a dinner party soon…what should I make?”

Friend: “Don’t make fish. I don’t like it.”

Me: “But you eat fish and chips, right?”

Friend: “Yes, but it’s fried. I don’t like fish unless it’s fried.”

Me: “Have you ever tried it not fried?”

Friend: “No, because I don’t like it.”

After a few more back-and-forths, it was determined that my friend has never eaten fish in any other form but fried, yet is adamant that he hates it. How does he know he doesn’t like something he’s never tried?

Strangely enough, we live in a fishing town and there is a wide selection of fresh, beautiful fish available at every grocery store in town. There are also several fishmongers who sell seafood that’s literally been caught that day. But from what I’ve observed so far, most people I know here not only prefer the fried variety, they actually like fish that’s had the shit cooked out of it – the complete opposite of what any fishmonger would recommend in regards to preparing fish.


Fishing boats in Clogherhead

While I’m not keen about forcing change on people who don’t seek it, I really would love the opportunity to show my fish-hating friends that they are missing out. Today I bought some gorgeous salmon and prepared it with nothing but a squirt of lemon and a pinch of salt and pepper. Served with a vegetable medley of green beans, onions and corn, it made for a healthy and satisfying dinner. Sometimes less is more, and in the case of seafood, I think this concept is essential to getting the most flavor and best texture.

Make a meal worthy of a dinner party by putting together a beetroot and fresh mozzarella salad for a starter to go with this salmon dish, like I did tonight. Enjoy!

Beetroot (called beets in the U.S.) and mozzarella salad

Beetroot and Mozzarella “Caprese” Salad
(serves 2)

2 medium-sized beetroot, cooked and peeled
65 grams of fresh mozzarella (packed in water)
4 fresh basil leaves
4 leaves of gem lettuce
2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper for seasoning

Slice the beetroot into ¼-inch slices, then cut the mozzarella into slices about the same thickness as the beetroot and set aside. Take the basil leaves and stack them on top of each other, one by one, on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut into thin slivers. To organize the salad: Place two gem lettuce leaves on each plate, then put the beetroot slices on top of the lettuce leaves. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and pepper. Next, stack the mozzarella slices on top of the beetroot slices. Again, season with salt and pepper. Finish by garnishing each salad with the basil slivers, then drizzle each salad with the olive oil. Serve immediately.

Better-Than-Fried Salmon
(serves 2)

To prepare salmon: Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius (375 F). Put two, 120-gram salmon filets on a baking sheet and squirt a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice on each filet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then bake for 15 minutes. Serve on top of Spring Vegetable Medley.

Spring Vegetable Medley

125 grams of haricot vert (baby green beans)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small white onion, sliced thinly
2 cobs of corn
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, and cook the haricot vert until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. In a sauté pan, heat up the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. While the onions cook, take a sharp knife and cut the corn kernels off the cobs. After the onions have softened, add the corn and cook for one minute. Add in the haricot vert and toss to mix all the vegetables together. Cook for about 3-5 minutes or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with Baked Salmon.