With the sun finally beginning to shine and summer making a rare appearance dinner can sometimes be a bit of a hassle. You want dinner – obviously – but at the same time you want to be outside enjoying the sun, not slaving over a hot cooker. Making the most of the evening is a must for many of us doing the 9-5 slog, which is why quick-but-delicious dinners are so important.
This sort of dinner is very much part of my life – a guy’s got to eat, right? – which is why there’s a whole category on this blog dedicate to them – Dinner in a Hurry. Take last night, for example: I took the sunny evening as an opportunity to get my bike out and go for a cycle (the photos are on my other blog, Edinburgh Editor); I didn’t get home until about half eight, and was very much in need of dinner (1pm’s salad seemed a lifetime ago) – it called for a quick recipe. Today’s recipe wasn’t from last night (I haven’t even had a chance to take the photos off my camera, but I will soon – lots of sweet potato and feta goodness), but from a similar situation a couple of weekends back; the solution then was salmon.
I don’t cook fish nearly often enough, but one of my favourites is doubtlessly salmon. I’ve also been eating a fair bit of Thai-inspired food lately, so this recipe combines the two. There is the option to do this dinner really quickly, but a little preparation in advance makes it so much better. Getting up ten minutes earlier in the morning (or just being a little more efficient) is invaluable at this time of year. Making a marinade is usually a pretty simple affair and allowing it to works its magic in the fridge whilst you’re out at work delivers big rewards.
I love the combination of ginger, chilli and lime in this dish, but it is completely open to experimentation (salmon is pretty robust, as fish goes, so is great for these flavours). I think perhaps next time I might add in some lemon grass, basil or maybe even mango – it’s totally an open book.
Lime & Chilli Salmon
This recipe is based on a variety of dishes I’ve eaten lately and what I thought might work well, so it’s an original recipe for The Usual Saucepans. The recipe calls for 2 cm of fresh ginger, but you can always substitute that with about 1 tsp of stuff from a tube, if you like. It makes enough for dinner for two.
2 salmon fillets
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp rapeseed oil
1 small bunch coriander
1 small red chilli
2 cm fresh ginger
Salt and pepper to season
rice and mange tout to serve
A few hours before you want to eat (or that morning, if you have time) make the marinade. Zest the lime into a flat-bottomed dish, squeeze half the lime juice in as well. Cut the other half of the lime into wedges and leave to one side. Thinly slice the chilli (should be no more than half a centimetre in any direction) and chop the coriander finely – add both to the dish. Grate the ginger in and then add the fish sauce, soy sauce and oil. Season with salt and pepper, then add in the fillets, using your hands to rub the marinade all over the fish. Cover and put in the fridge to let the flavours develop.
Half an hour before you eat take the salmon out of the fridge. Fifteen minutes before you want to eat, turn your oven on to 180ºC. Using a large sheet of tinfoil (about 130% of what you need to tightly wrap the salmon) make a package of the salmon, with it sitting on the bottom, covered in the marinade, and wrapped loosely on top. Put on an oven tray and bake for about 10-15 minutes until the salmon is cooked through. Serve with ice, mange tout and a glass of ‘gutsy’ white wine.