I was inspired by the recipe for Salmon with Cucumber Couscous, Chickpea Sauce, and Pomegranate in the latest Cuisine magazine. I'm not much of a recipe follower though. I'm a dedicated recipe reader, but once I've read one that grabs my attention, I usually wander off and do my own thing with it. Which is exactly what I did last night.
Salmon with Chickpea, Spring Vegetable and Pomegranate Couscous Salad (yes, a mouthful, which in this case is fitting).
Make a salad with:
- Half a cup of couscous soaked for 15 minutes or so in half a cup of boiling water. When the water is absorbed, use a fork to gently fluff the couscous into a bowl.
- Half a can of chick peas, drained.
- A big handful of chopped lebanese cucumbers (or any nationality really; just fresh and crunchy).
- A handful of cherry tomatoes halved or quartered. Yes, store bought. No toms in my garden yet.
- Pomegranate seeds if you like. Slice the pomegranate around its equator, hold it over a bowl with the seedy inside facing down, and bash the skin on the top with a wooden spoon or hammer... the seeds will rain down into the bowl.
- A handful or two of lettuce or spinach -- something green and crunchy.
- The white end of the spring onion and/or some finely shopped red onion; just a sprinkle.
- Add some finely chopped mint, parsley and the green bits of the spring onion.
- Drizzle and toss with oil, red wine vinegar and lemon juice, salt and pepper... or whatever dressing you fancy. It doesn't matter as long as there's some oil and zing.
Cook the salmon
I bought salmon tail ends, which are cheaper than regular fillets, taste the same, and cook faster, so I guess that makes them more energy efficient. I'm not sure that my salmon cooking was that energy efficient though. I could easily have forgotten the oven altogether and just pan fried the fish. Over to you on that one. Here's the how it happened:
- Heat your oven to 220 degrees.
- Brush the salmon with a little bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and cut up a lemon to go with it.
- Once the oven's hot, heat an ovenproof pan on the stove until it's on the verge of smoking.
- Put the salmon in flesh-side down for a minute or two, until it slides around the pan when you give it a shake. Ideally, you don't want it sticking, so leave it cooking until it gives up its grip.
- Flip the fish over onto its skin, put the lemons in the pan, and put the pan in the hot oven for 10 - 15 mins, until the salmon is cooked to your liking. Give it a press with your finger if you can handle the heat, or use the back of a spoon or knife. Squishy needs more cooking. Springy is perfect.
Serve up with the roasted lemon wedges squeezed over the salmon and salad, and a few pomegranate seeds on top for luck. This might be just the dinner you've been waiting for.