Last week we had ground breaking news from Paris, “It’s not arrogant or pretentious to say that France is the foundation of gastronomy for the planet,” five Michelin star chef, Guy Savoy said, “It’s a fact!”
Crumbs, what hope do we aspiring chefs have?
With the rose-coloured, calendar event most affiliated with the romance and ambience of Paris just around the corner, a statement such as this, (hot off the press from a press conference in the bright, romantic beacon, that is the Eifel Tower) would certainly strike fear in the hearts of ameteur, but enthusiastic home cooks. The ‘Restaurant’ section of the Yellow Pages, never felt so appealing.
Try not, however, to book that table just yet. I have a feeling that Mr. Savoy, had no idea what gastronomic brilliance was about to occur in a quiet South Wales suburbia, the weekend before Valentines Day.
A combination of “…imagination and science, poetry and technique”  has caused my dedicated team of amateur chef’s to develop the very first of our meals to help wayward lovers this Valentines Day.
The first potential meal in this palatable parade of delectable dinners is the quickest and easiest. Should you have no time to prepare at the weekend, except for a quick shopping trip, this is the one for you.
Chilli and Ginger Salmon: The Recipe
Served on a bed of asparagus and a side of rice.
Your essential ingredient and equipment list for a faultless first effort are as follows;
|Ingredients (add weights/quantities)||Equipment|
|*Fresh Ginger||Tin foil|
|*2 Cloves Garlic||Sharp knife and cutting board|
|*2 Chillis||Baking Tray|
|*Olive Oil||3 Pans|
|*2 Fillets Salmon||Mixing Bowl|
|Asparagus||Pestle and Mortar|
|*Salt and Pepper|
|*Fresh Coriander Leaves|
|*Fresh Basil Leaves|
|*1 Tablespoon Butter|
*purchased at Masala Bazaar store
Preheat the oven to 160ºC.
Crush the chillis with a pestle and mortar, with the garlic, 2cm² finely chopped ginger, muscovado sugar and a pinch of salt.
Gently warm a pan over a low heat. Melt the butter and add a splash of oil. A nice tip here is to add chillis to the oil a few days prior to cooking to add an extra kick. Add the melted butter to the spice mix and stir. Add oil to help soften into a thick fluid that can pour.
Prepare a large piece of foil in an oven proof dish by pouring a little olive oil onto it and spread around the bottom.
Sit the Salmon fillets (you can leave or remove the skin as to preference,) onto the oiled foil and apply the spice marinade evenly over the fillets using a spoon.
Slice the tomato into even, slim slices. Layer the tomato slices over the salmon in an overlapping pattern.
Fold the edges of the foil together around the salmon to seal the pack. Leave a little air space over the ingredients.
Place into a pre-heated oven for between 20-30mins, keep checking the salmon after 20 mins and remove when a creamy pink.
While cooking, prepare the rice, asparagus, coriander and basil leaves.
Pour the rice into already warming water, ready to boil. Keep checking the progress of the rice as it cooks, but it should take between 15 and 20mins. This should coincide with the salmon being ready to serve. Place the rice in a separate bowl, with a spoon ready for serving.
Chop the coriander and basil leaves finely and use as much as necessary to cover each piece of salmon. These will be sprinkled on-top of the tomato slices and will delicately wilt in post cooking steam.
To prepare the asparagus, cut off the woody stems. Boil the kettle and prepare a pan for boiling. Add the asparagus to hot water. The asparagus will only need to be cooked for between 2-3 minutes, or until it has a bright green appearance. Lay asparagus in a line, ready for the salmon to be placed on-top.
When cooked, remove salmon from the oven. Open the foil carefully (the foil edges cool quickly out from the heat) and sprinkle in the leaf vegetables as an aromatic garnish, they will provide a deep green contrast to the pink salmon and red tomatoes.
Use a large slice to safely serve each fillet whole onto a warmed plate.
Tried and Tested?
- Chilli and Ginger Salmon uses ingredients traditionally associated with cooking for love, (that includes garlic.) It will be a subconscious nod to romance without you even having to light a candle.
- The meal is very warming and aromatic, your kitchen and house will smell delicious after cooking.
- The dish is simple to prepare and manage, perfect for those who have a busy lifestyle, or who aren’t too confident in the kitchen.
- Although the look of this dish is clearly intended to be sleek and contemporary, the taste sensation will be of complexity, intrigue and spice. If your guest is nervous about new foods, the appearance of this meal will put them at ease.
- The only issue is the amount of garlic in this recipe. It adds to the flavour and aromatic quality of the dish, but of course it is the aromatic element which might cause a problem. If you are unsure, reduce the number of cloves to 1 and perhaps add a touch more ginger and chilli to compensate.
This is a family recipe, having eaten it a great many times, I can say for certain it is a regular winner at our after-work dinner times, but it is also something that has been marvelled at by guests at lovely dinner parties.
At home, we serve this with a fine Chenin Blanc, like a Vouvray. A chilled Savignon Blanc would be a nice alternative.
 &  www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/01/french-food-chefs-promotion