Student Suppers: Pea & Mint Crusted Salmon with Rice & Kale
This post was created in collaboration with Appletiser. When I’m not testing recipes, I like really simple meals most nights, sometimes just with a little twist so I don’t get bored of having the same thing over and over. A classic ‘Rachel Weeknight’ is a bowl or plate of baked or poached salmon, kale, and either plain brown or cauliflower rice. Sometimes I make a quick marinade for the salmon from a pre-made curry paste, crust the fish with herbs and nuts, and the salmon crusted with pesto breadcrumbs is one of my favourite recipes in Student Eats. Spring is *finally* here, so I’ve taken to topping my salmon with a lemony pea and mint mash, craving all of the green. It is so quick and easy to do, and while it does not look like much, it is the sort of supper that feels really light, but still really nourishing at the end of a long day.
I only have two ingredient notes for this dish, because, as I mentioned, this supper is supposed to be simplicity itself. First, keep frozen petit pois in your freezer rather than garden peas. They’re smaller, sweeter and juicier, and will usually taste even better than if you plucked fresh peas straight from the pod, standing in your garden. Second, I know I’m a broken record when it comes to talking about buying the best meat, fish and dairy you can afford, but in this dish it is the salmon that stops this being just a plate of brown and green. It is a little pricier than regular salmon (so I fill my freezer when it is on special offer!) but recently I’ve started buying wild alaskan sockeye salmon (you can get it in Waitrose) for its richer flavour and brilliant colour. When you’re doing dishes that are all about the ingredients, it is worth shopping around for something a special!
This year I’ve teamed up with Appletiser to bring you a brand new recipe each month that helps you pack in at least one extra portion of fruit and veg a day, made even better for you with no added sugar. Appletiser is my go-to when trying to cut down on alcohol but I want something a little more fun than feeding my sparkling water habit, so here is trying to be a bit healthier in 2018! I know it does not look as exciting as some of my other recipes (probably due to my lack of skill as a food stylist!) but I really do hope you try it, because the bright, fresh flavours are just amazing. However, if you can’t find any salmon that takes your fancy next time you go shopping, bookmark this and make last month’s recipe instead, Spiced Aubergine with Barley, Yogurt and Pomegranate. I’ve made the measurements below to serve one, but it is easily a thing you can do on a baking tray to feed however hungry mouths are around for dinner.
- 75g (3 oz) Frozen Petit Pois
- Zest of 1/4 Lemon
- Leaves from 3 Mint Sprigs, finely chopped
- 1/2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 tbsp Panko Breadcrumbs
- Sea Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Salmon Fillet
- Large Handful Chopped Curly Kale
- (2 oz) 55g Brown Basmanti Rice
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (350 Fahrenheit). Boil the kettle, and cook the rice in a pan full of water for 25 minutes. I know most rice recipes tell you to measure the water out so it is fully absorbed, but this is the easiest way to burn rice. Unless you’re doing something with spices and flavours that requires more precision, just cook it like pasta!
Defrost the peas in a sieve under a cold running tap, drain well and transfer to a small bowl or mortar and pestle. I love using my Cole & Mason one John Lewis gave me eons ago (mine is ceramic as it is lighter, but I adore the granite ones!), but if you don’t have one a fork and bowl will do! Add the lemon zest, chopped mint and olive oil. Mash until you have a chunky paste, and stir in the breadcrumbs and a bit of salt and pepper.
Lay the salmon skin side down on a baking parchment lined baking tray, and press the pea mixture onto the top. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until the salmon is just cooked through. Meanwhile, prepare the kale. Try both as a general side to see what you prefer, but you can either blanch it or cook it until crisp. To blanch your kale, remove any bits of hard, tough stem (the downside to buying those wonderfully cheap £1 for 1kg of chopped kale bags) and place it in a heatproof bowl. Pour over freshly boiled water and leave for two minutes. Drain it well, toss with a little sea salt and serve straight away (it loses heat quickly!) To crisp it, again remove the stems, and add to a frying pan with a good splash of oil (you can use any light cooking oil, but my preference is for extra virgin avocado oil here) over a high heat. Stir fry until it has gone a vibrant green and is a bit crispy around the edges. Again, toss with sea salt and serve right away. All that needs doing to get everything on the table is to carefully slide the salmon onto the plate, add the kale, and the rice, remembering to drain it really, really well!
Because, let us be honest, the reason I chose this dish to pair with Appletiser is because it is bright green, here are some of my other favourite green dishes (because green foods are not just for St. Patricks Day!): Green Eggs & Ham, Pea & Mozzarella Soup, Pasta with Courgette, Lemon & Chilli, How To Make Any Delicious Green Smoothie, Easy Avocado Spaghetti, Pea Pesto Whole Wheat Penne, Farro, Avocado & Egg Breakfast Bowl with Miso Yogurt, Skinny Buttermilk Ranch & Crispy Bacon Wedge Salads, Steak with Pickled Jalapeño Relish, Chocolate Cake with Lazy Piped Matcha Frosting.
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