It was a busy old weekend, hence the slight lack of attention, or indeed subject matter for Food Frankly, and by busy, I technically mean excessive.
Helen and I headed to a favourite restaurant on Friday for a delicious steak and just a couple of really good beers (well I did, somebody else got driving duties 😉 )Then, Saturday morning, I headed down to Manchester to catch up with old friends and plan a stag do, or bachelor party, depending which side of the pond you live on of course.
After a delicious beef sandwich and pork-pie lunch, we headed off to watch my mate’s mighty Oldham Athletic nick a home win. Then, it was off to watch England take on the French at rugby, in a local pub before heading off on the tram into Manchester for far more beer than we really ought to, or can cope with these days. Dinner comprised fried chicken and pork rinds. Now, I’m no nutritionist, but I’m pretty sure that was not a balanced meal, although I believe there was lettuce involved somewhere in fairness.
The planning wasn’t ‘comprehensive’ it’s fair to say. “Germany somewhere, probably Munich” was the outcome. I think.
And so today was about countering the excess and for dinner I made something light and delicate. Fish is the obvious choice for me and to avoid heavy sauces, I paired it with a quick red pesto and a light basil infused tomato broth. I used salmon simply because I had it, but this would work with a variety of white fish. Crushed new potatoes and steamed purple broccoli finished it off. I pan fried the fish using a non-stick pan to keep the oil and therefore calories down, but I could have grilled it to be even healthier. The broccoli was steamed but left with plenty of ‘bite’. It was all surprisingly good actually and packed with flavour, so much so I think this might be a ‘keeper’.
Serves 2, takes half an hour.
- 400g salmon fillets (these were skinless)
- 2 tsp olive oil
For the red pesto:
- Large handful (50g) of pine nuts
- 2 garlic cloves
- Half a jar of sundried tomatoes (about 10 pieces), drained if in oil.
- Half a red pepper
- Handful of grated parmesan
- 1 good lug of quality virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
For the tomato broth:
- 3 large fresh tomatoes, quartered and de-seeded
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- 1 pinch of chilli flakes
- 4 basil leaves, shredded
- 200ml vegetable stock (I used good vegetable bouillon powder for speed, mixed with boiling water)
- 10-12 twelve new potatoes, cleaned, skins on
- 8 pieces of purple broccoli (or regular broccoli if not available)
Make the pesto by simply toasting the pine nuts in a dry pan until browned (but not burnt!) then combining all the ingredients in a food processor. Blitz to a rough paste, taste and season if needed and set aside.
Start the tomato broth by frying the garlic and chilli flakes in the oil. Add the tomatoes and balsamic and fry until the tomatoes give up a bit of juice. When they do, add the stock and leave to very gently simmer. Add the basil towards the end otherwise the flavour will be lost.
Whilst doing the broth, in the bottom of a steamer, bring the potatoes to a boil. They take about 15 minutes, so after half that time, add the broccoli in a steamer insert and place above the potatoes.
I started the salmon now too as they were quite thin pieces. I used a non-stick pan to keep the oil to a minimum. Season with a little salt and cook until well browned on a moderate heat – there was no skin on these so I had to be careful not to break them. Set aside in a warm oven once done.
Taste the tomato broth and season if needed. Strain into a warm jug using a fine seive.
Drain the potatoes and crush them roughly and add a pinch of salt if you like. Put them on a very warm plate with the salmon on top. Add the broccoli and pour around the tomato broth. Add about a tablespoon of the red pesto and you’re done!