Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Quick Warm Potato, Green Bean, Lemon and Caper Salad (with Salmon) including Thermomix method

This quick, warm potato and green bean salad is the epitome of why simple is often delicious, with just six ingredients.

Absolutely perfect with salmon or trout (which you can cook all-in-one in the Thermomix), or for a vegetarian alternative toss with some quartered boiled eggs and a handful of olives and top with toasted pine nuts, or if you want to cut the carbs, replace the potatoes with thick chunks of sliced courgettes (zucchini).

After craving salmon for a few days, and dreaming up just how might be the very perfect way to cook it I also had to think what would be the perfect accompaniment to it as well. I thought about quite a few things, and then finally settled on making something light and lemony, warm and simple. Which also just so happened to cook in around the same time as my salmon took to cook to perfection.

Serves two, calories per serving: 145 each for the warm potato and bean salad (if you want to cut the calories and carbs substitute thickly sliced courgettes for the potatoes this reduces the salad to to 95 calories per serving), and 140 calories per serving for smoked trout or from 211 calories per serving for hot smoked salmon (see ingredients).

So, for a really light meal, the warm salad made with courgettes and served with smoked trout (see below) would come in at 145 calories per serving.

Feel free to substitute and add your favourite vegetables to the warm salad - asparagus, broccoli, mange tout, snow peas etc. would all be great.

This salad is so quick and easy to throw together, and I've given you a number of options in the ingredients for whether you use ready-cooked fish, or cook your own. There's also a method for Thermomix users included for an all in one dish, whether using potatoes or courgettes/zucchini in the salad.

I served this with my Quick-brined, Cold-smoked, Sous-vide Seared Salmon (yes, as you can see, I really DID spend a while thinking about it, and was determined to cook it to perfection!), which you can have a go at if you want to, by going here for the recipe / method (which also includes a few easier alternatives which you don't need any fancy gadgets for!). Luckily, you can buy lightly smoked (raw) salmon fillets and cook them yourself, or you can even buy ready-cooked hot-smoked salmon fillets (or smoked trout), and just transfer from packaging to plate (or warm them through if you prefer!) and have it all cooked and served within 20 minutes.

On the other hand, if you would like to recreate and experience what Heston Blumenthal describes as what for him is "the perfect texture" for cooked salmon, I have included a method involving a large pot, a sugar thermometer (or any thermometer which can measure 50C / 122F), resealable food bags and 15 minutes of your time. You can do that with plain salmon, lightly smoked (raw) salmon, or with my quick-brined salmon. More in the salmon post about that... this would also be delicious with plain grilled, steamed, barbecued, poached or griddled salmon steaks. Whichever you prefer!

But if you're wondering, he's talking about salmon that looks something like this inside... Mmmm!

Anyway, to the recipe (and salmon/trout options, if you're buying or counting calories!)... [Calories in square brackets]

The Fish
Weights as per availability of suggested suppliers
2 x lightly smoked (raw) salmon fillets (130g each, e.g. Waitrose) [572]
2 x hot smoked (cooked) salmon fillets (93g each, e.g. Tesco) [422]
2 x boneless salmon fillets (preferable if following Paleo, to avoid any potential added sugars etc. - raw with skin, 120g each, e.g. Waitrose) [442]
2 x smoked (cooked) trout fillets (100g each, e.g. Tesco) [280]

The Warm Potato (or courgette/zucchini) and Green Bean Salad
200g new/baby potatoes, scrubbed (Paleo/low carb diets - substitute thickly sliced courgettes/zucchini, and increase amount if desired - 18 calories per 100g)  [136]
120g fine green beans, trimmed and halved [30]
15g butter (or use olive oil, or oil of choice to suit your diet) [111]
Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tbsp, or to taste - optional zest - see Tips at the bottom for a variation) [8]
10g (2 rounded tsp, or to taste) capers, NonPareille if possible [3]
Small handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped [1]

Method(See below for Thermomix method in italics)

Refer to packaging for how to cook/re-heat fish (depending on whether raw or ready-cooked), or see here for my methods if you're feeling adventurous!

To make the warm salad conventionally
Edit: See tips below for a non-calorie-counted more decadent version of this, that we made tonight, which was rather luscious! As you were...

Bring a pan of lightly salted water to the boil and slice the potatoes into 1cm thick slices. Add the potatoes (if using thick courgette slices reduce the cooking time to just a couple of minutes to blanch, or steam them). Cook for 11 minutes, or until just tender, then drain.

After the potatoes have been on for 6 or 7 minutes, put a non-stick medium-sized frying pan (which has a tight-fitting lid) over a medium heat. Add the butter, and once it melts, add 60ml water (4 tbsp) and the beans, put the lid on, give it a good shake, then after a minute turn the heat down to medium-low. Once the lid is on, cook for 6 minutes, shaking occasionally.

Add the drained potatoes and capers to the beans, and toss together (check the beans are cooked to your liking). Add the lemon juice and gently toss again to coat the potatoes and beans, then serve immediately, scattered with the parsley, with a grinding of fresh black pepper if you like. If the liquid in your pan reduced to almost nothing before you served, you can always add a couple of tbsp of water, and give a quick stir over the heat until reduced slightly, and then drizzle this over the salad and/or fish. Don't add the lemon juice, or make in advance, as the acid will start to brown the beans (although this is only an aesthetic effect, if you don't mind it).

Thermomix method
Put 1 litre of in the TM bowl with a pinch of salt. If using potatoes, insert internal steaming basket and add whole potatoes (if they are bigger than around 4cm, then halve them / cut to around 4cm). Put lid on, leaving MC off. Oil the Varoma lightly and place the raw salmon fillets inside (if using - if you have cooked smoked trout or cooked salmon, just flake into the salad at room temperature), skin side down (if they have skin on), and season unless they're smoked. Put the green beans, and thick courgette/zucchini slices (if using) into the Varoma tray and put the lid on top. Steam 15 minutes / Varoma Temperature / Speed 3. Check the salmon is cooked to your liking (you can always sear it in a pan, if you want a little colour on one side), cut the potatoes in half, and toss with the butter, capers, green beans and lemon juice. Serve scattered with the chopped parsley and a grinding of fresh black pepper if desired.

For a slightly different (and delicious) way to make the salad to serve four people, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, par-boil 750g new/baby potatoes (half if large) for 10-12 minutes, then add the potatoes, 1 tbsp oil and zest of one lemon, grated to an oven-proof dish (no salt or pepper), and bake for 20-25 minutes until just starting to turn golden brown. Add two large knobs of butter
and 1/4 finely diced mild onion or 1 finely diced shallot 2 minutes before the end. Meanwhile, boil 300g halved green beans for 3 or 4 minutes and throw in 150g petit pois at the end, then when they're all cooked toss together with the potatoes, 3-4 heaped teaspoons capers, juice of one lemon, a large handful of chopped parsley, season with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt and serve immediately (you can't hang around or the lemon juice will start to turn the beans and peas yellowy brown). Utterly gorgeous with the smoked, seared salmon.

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