QHM #1: Seared Salmon, slaw and chips

 In this series, the Camel’s gonna school you in Quick Healthy Meals, with a catch…every one of these meals will use things you can find readily at your supermarket….they’ll all have basic frameworks upon which you can make enough variations to fool your audience.

Yes, a convenience food … well, I saw Jamie using packet rice pud’, and he’s the Camel’s favourite sphinx, so it’s kosher.

Make sure you buy a heart tick brand. Yes, they’ll use GM canola (but won’t tell you). Good chips take serious time, and serious oil, and you have neither.

Pop the chips flat on a tray, and into a 220c oven…that gives you 25 minutes to make magic happen!

Start with the fish. There are many brands, but most will sell you 2x150g portions for about $10. You will buy a bit cheaper from the local fish shop, and hopefully fresher. Salmon or Salmon trout is fine. This dish, and your body prefers skin on.

Marinade the Salmon for the moment in a few tablespoons of soy sauce. A tip on buying soy sauce…Japanese is best, Singaporean is  next, and Chinese acceptable. Gluten issues? Tamari is the answer, and worth the extra $$ if you can afford it.

Meanwhile we will make a slaw.

Slaw is a highly underrated dish. mostly because we’re used to soggy, mayonnaise based slaws, cut way too thin…yuk!

The dressing we will use for this slaw is a basic vinaigrette.

3 parts oil (sunflower’s best, olive is ok, but a bit strong, Canola is fine if that’s what you have…do not ever buy “vegetable oil”. It is largely palm oil, which is made in plantations grown where forests used to be. Those forests used to have our ancestors in them…Also, check the origin of your oil…you’ll be amazed how many come from our neighbours to the north…if you’re reading this in the States, that’s Malaysia, not Canada! Nothing wrong with imported oil, but you can get Australian at supermarkets)

1 part plain white vinegar (lemon juice if it’s around, but only fresh),

1 part french mustard…

mix it with a whisk, or shake it in a jar…make as much as you like..it’ll keep in the fridge for ages.

Now rummage through your cupboards for the old grater you had somewhere…or play with the new electric gizmo you thought you needed.

Grate some carrot…if this is a standard slaw, 1 part carrot. the slaw in the photo is all carrot and an avocado…why? Because that’s what was in the fridge! My son HATES carrot, but he loves this…

The grate 1 part red capsicum…it will shed a little juice, don’t waste it…

Then 4 parts cabbage…whichever is the cheapest…not grated! simply use a standard knife and slice it off quite thinly, about 2-3mm. It makes lots…alternately do the same with fennel (but get it straight into the dressing so it doesn’t lose colour).

Like raddish in there? Go for it! Spanish onion? Celery?..pretty much anything except mushrooms.

Wash your hands, and add enough dressing to make it moist, but not wet, and use your hands to mix it…add salt and pepper, and make a stack on each plate, and set it aside for now.

Heat a pan for 2 minutes on a low/med heat, and then add oil (sunflower is best again)…enough to coat the pan liberally…you won’t be drinking it!

To the oven, and toss the chips around, and add the salt…back in the oven, and turn it off.

Take the salmon with your hands or tongs, and swirl the skin side down around in the oil before setting it down (this’ll stop it sticking, and I use a plain steel pan…no aluminium or teflon in this place, but whatever you have is fine).

Leave it on that heat, skin down…and put in a glass a mix of 1 part mustard, 1 part garlic (or ginger or both) 4 parts soy, and 1 or 2 parts of white wine or brandy or whatever’s floating about (or more soy, or butter, or nothing) and 2 parts lemon/lime juice (or white vinegar or more soy)…taste it…it should be a weak version of what you want.

Back to the Salmon. Now it should be cooked about half way up the side. Use a spatula to turn it over, and leave the pan/heat on lowest setting, but take the pan off the heat, and put it aside.

Put the chips on the plate.

Take the salmon off the pan, hold the piece to drain the oil, and rest it on the plate as shown.

Drain the oil off the empty pan, and put it back on the low heat…add the glass of liquid, and heat til it comes to the boil (it won’t take long at all, and may happen instantly). Pour the sauce equally over the fish, and serve.

The sauce tastes great with the chips and slaw.

Keen for your feedback.


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