Right now in Finland we enjoy a truly lovely, sunny weekend, with temperatures going up to 27C in Helsinki! Such weather is not very common here and it makes me appreciate cloudless sky more and more the longer I live here. As much as the sun awakens my inner resources of energy, it makes me a bit lazy when it comes to cooking. The summer days definitely require light and quick dishes, made without the necessity of tedious standing by a burning hot cooker. I made this dish for the first time as a way to clean our fridge from some leftovers, yet the sauce came out so tasty and easy to do that I repeat it from time to time, particularly during hot, lazy days. I prefer to use cold smoked salmon or gravlax, as the fish flavour is more intense, yet any leftover salmon will do, let it be hot smoked one or even oven baked one. It’s a lovely summer lunch dish, to be made in no time. The amounts given below are enough for 2 people.
250ml crème fraiche
a bunch of dill, finely chopped
5-6 slices of cold smoked salmon, sliced to small pieces
3 tbsp small capers
freshly ground black pepper – quite much
salt and lemon juice to taste
1. Cook the proper amount of spaghetti for 2 people. In the meantime, slowly heat up crème fraiche.
2. Add dill, capers, pepper and lemon juice and simmer for a minute or two.
3. Add the salmon and immediately take the sauce away from the heat. Season with salt.
The good point of living in Finland is that it it always easy and pretty cheap to get your hands on salmon. It is one of the cheapest and most abundant fish here, not to mention how delicious it is. We have it quite often as a midweek dinner, simply baked with pesto and served with a seasonal salad. Nowadays, one can buy here pestos of a really good quality, and it is extremely fast to prepare salmon this way. As much as both of us love red pesto, Mr. No Onion Please complains that the green basil pesto has too strong herby taste for him. Therefore, I tried to create a kind of herby paste that wouldn’t have such a strong taste, but would compliment salmon nicely. I decided to incorporate some citrus flavour as well. The outcome was pretty good and both of us liked it. The salmon was served on a salad bed made of wild rucola, goat cheese and cherry tomatoes confit.
500g salmon filet
3 toast breads (skin cut off)
zest from 1 lemon
juice from half a lemon
half a glass of basil leaves
half a glass of thyme leaves
2-3 tbsp of olive oil
1. Wash the salmon filet and put it into greased ovenproof dish.
2. Put the bread, lemon zest and juice, basil and thyme into a bowl and blend it well to a paste
3. Add olive oil and salt to your liking. My paste was pretty thick, I wanted it to create a nice layer of it on the salmon. If you wish you may add a bit more of olive oil to make it more pesto like. Spread the paste on top of the filet.
4. Bake in 200C for 25 min of until ready. I put the aluminium foil after 15 min of baking to avoid browning of the paste.
This is a second dish I have prepared for previously mentioned South-East Asian festival. I’ve recently noticed we definitely don’t eat enough fish. We buy smoked salmon quite frequently, but fish as a main dish appears on our table maybe 4-5 times a month what is definitely too few. Finland is plentiful in salmon and trout and I’ve decided from now on to incorporate them more frequently to our menu. Let’s hope this is a good start and I’ll keep to my resolution 😉 This recipe comes from the book “The food and cooking of Vietnam and Cambodia”.
200ml coconut cream
2 tsp raw cane sugar
1 tbsp oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 chili, finely chopped
4cm piece of ginger, grated
1 star anise, grated on powder
a handful of fresh Thai basil leaves
a handful of cashew nuts, chopped
salt and pepper
1. Heat the oil in a pan and fry garlic, chili and ginger. Turn down the heat, add coconut cream and sugar. Stir till sugar dissolves, take out from the heat.
2. Place the fish on a wide piece of foil and tuck up the sides to form a boat shape container. Cut several slashes into the meat and rub them as well as the inside of fish with salt, pepper and star anise. Scatter half of the Thai basil leaves on top. Spoon the coconut cream into the container and close it firmly.
3. Steam or put to the oven (180C) for about 20 min.
4. Roast the cashew nuts in the frying pan. Once the fish is ready transfer it to a plate, drizzle with cooking juices and sprinkle with nuts and remaining Thai basil leaves
Ohoh, summer has really come here, I’m so lazy with writing new posts 😀 Not that I don’t cook, but I just don’t feel like writing somehow…. at all…. Lately I have lots of writing to do at work and in the evenings I just can’t put myself to write several simple sentences. I need holidays. Fortunately, they are nearly here! We’re flying on Saturday to Poland for whole two weeks 🙂 Can’t wait, I also hope we will make a day trip to Slovakia and be sure I’ll post lots of pictures from our beautiful Tatra mountains :). However, now time for a copy-cat recipe 😉 I’ve found it on Trissalicious blog, it’s fast and gives a really nice outcome. I’ve just noticed I’ve never posted any fish recipe here before. And again it’s the same story we eat them but I don’t write about them, or no wait… it’s rather that I don’t find fish photogenic. Or …. ok, well ok I’ll just admit it… I can’t make nice fish pics… there I said it…. snif…. I kept to recipe pretty much, apart from folding the fish and adding still a spoon of Parmesan to the crust as well as omitting egg white (ups … I forgot about it). Below is an original recipe, enjoy 🙂
2 cod fillets, skinned and deboned
35 grams butter
75 grams pistachios
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 springs thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg white
4 slices lemon
Preheat the oven to 180c
Season the fillets with salt and pepper
In a food processor combine the pistachios, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper (Parmesan optionally)
Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the pistachio mixture. Cook for around 2 to 3 minutes.
Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes. Add the egg white and mix well (not necessary)
Bend fillets in half, put 2 slices of lemon inside. Coat the fillets in the pistachio mixture
Place the coated fillets in an ovenproof dish
Bake the fillets for around 10 to 12 minutes until cooked through.