pan-fried salmon with roast tomatoes and parsley and chilli dressing

in a bit of a mood today. it's monday, for a start. and 17 years is quite a long time, however you look at it.

needed a dinner that would cheer me up and there is usually just one answer to that (okay, two - the other one is booze): excessive amounts of chilli. in fact, i knew from about 11 in the morning that what i wanted to eat is crispy, seared salmon skin doused in some kind of chilli sauce. first i thought i'd go down the thai route and make something with fish sauce, lime juice and spring onions but then i decided it can be a bit too overpowering. so i settled on just plain parsley and chilli, with a bit of vinegar for the acid kick.

for two

2 salmon fillets, skin on
8 small tomatoes
a few sprigs of thyme
a handful of parsley, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped (or to taste - 1/2 is plenty if you're not used to it)
1 tbs white wine vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
olive oil

the roast tomatoes take around 3 hours so this is not something to make when you come home from work. it's worth cooking a bigger batch and just having them in salads or as a side dish during the week. also nice in omelettes.

halve the tomatoes and put them in a roasting dish, cut side up. sprinkle with olive oil, season generously with salt and pepper and sprinkle some thyme leaves on top. cook in a very low oven, around 70C, for 2.5 hours or 3 hours. you want tomatoes to dry out a little and for the flavour to concentrate. (you can also leave them in the oven for longer, like overnight, they will dry out even more. i rarely have the patience for this.)

to make the parsley and chilli dressing, mix the finely chopped parsley, chilli, vinegar, and a tablespoon of olive oil. season and taste. you want it to be quite acidic but not overwhelmingly so, so you might not need the lemon juice at all. i think you have to do this by taste. you can, of course, swap the vinegar and lemon juice but i find it a bit much, somehow.

for salmon, open the window, put the extractor fan on and take the battery out of the smoke alarm. heat the pan till smoking hot and fry the salmon fillets, skin side down and undisturbed, for 3 to 4 minutes. turn and cook for another minute or so.

divide the tomatoes between two plates, put the salmon fillet on top. we had it with some wilted spinach and - surprise, surprise - purple-sprouting broccoli. finish with the parsley and chilli dressing spooned over the salmon.

put the battery back in the smoke alarm.


  1. Anything that involved copious chilli and no smoke alarm is Right Up My Street


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