Friday, 4 November 2011

Smoked Salmon with zucchini, leek tomato sauce

There used to be a pasta bar next door to where my husband worked,. We'd go there occasionally and my two all time favorites from there were, the mozzarella, tomato and basil pasta  (tricolore) and the salmon and leek pasta. Simple fresh ingredients but too heavy to have for lunch when you added in the huge plate of penne noodles with it. This is a twist on the salmon and leek dish. Just salmon and leeks wouldn't be filling enough so I needed to bulk it out a little. By adding some fresh cherry tomatoes and zucchini it gave it a little extra flavor. I really liked this, and didn't miss the pasta at all. The basics of this recipe is somewhat similar to the shrimps with feta, that's because I like to adapt recipes to reflect what's in my fridge or what's seasonal and plentiful at the time.

Ingredients Serves 2
2 fillets of smoked salmon, flaked with the skin off (not the thinly sliced smoked salmon (Gravdlax) but the whole chunks) We buy these in Aldi and they are about 2.75 each. You could also use a smoked trout fillet if you can't find the salmon or even substitute it for shrimp.
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 medium zucchini cut in half lengthways and sliced across into semi circles, about 3mm thick
250g/8oz cherry tomatoes, left whole
1 leek thinly sliced
pinch of hot chili powder or 1/4 small red chili finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 tablespoon freshly chopped oregano
1/2 cup chicken stock or you can also use dry white wine
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons of coconut milk
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a non stick pan over medium high heat. When it is heated, add the chopped zucchini and leek along with the garlic and cook until the zucchini and leek starts to soften.
Add the cherry tomatoes, oregano and stock (or wine). Cover with a lid and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes, allowing the tomatoes to steam.
Remove the lid and with the back of a spoon gently crush the tomatoes to allow the juices to run into the pan.
Try not to be heavy handed like I was..... and do this!!
 Add the chili powder (or fresh chili) the flaked salmon and the coconut milk and stir until it is hot. Season well with salt and lots of freshly ground pepper and sprinkle two tablespoons of Parmesan over the top.

Shimp and tomatoes with feta

In England we really don't get large or even jumbo shrimps unless you go to a really good quality fishmonger and pay through the nose for imported ones. We do however have prawns which are like little baby shrimp. When I was a kid, they were sold at a seafood stall, nearly always located outside a pub, on a Sunday morning, and most importantly only when there was an R in the month. These pre-cooked little pink beauties, were sold by the half pint or pint. I'd be sent off to the stall with my dad (so mum could have 10 minutes peace) and he'd order what we wanted and they'd scoop them up in a half pint or full pint beer mug and put them into a plastic bag. Seafood was a popular Sunday afternoon treat, you'd have a Sunday roast with all the trimmings around 1.30pm and then around 6pm, mum would get out the prawns, and if we were feeling extravagant, a dressed crab, some cockles, winkles, whelks and to my horror, if Grandad was visiting, some jellied eels!!  Kids were dispatched to help peel the prawns and pick the 'eyes' out of the winkles. Served with bread and butter, some dusty white pepper (we weren't posh enough to have discovered the delights of freshly ground pepper in the 70's!) and a dash of malt vinegar it was a quintessential Cockney Sunday.

Now of course we can have them all year round and I for one can't get enough of them. They cook quickly and we've always got a couple of bags in the freezer for quick lunches or dinners. This is one way of cooking them that I tend to do time and time again.

Ingredients Serves 2 greedy people!
1 pound of uncooked, large or jumbo shrimps, head and tail removed.
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 garlic cloves crushed
pinch of hot chili powder or about 1" piece of fresh chili, de-seeded and chopped
250g/8oz cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
1/2 cup chicken broth or if you are feeling decadent dry white wine
3oz/80g  crumbled feta cheesesalt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons flat leaf parlsey finely chopped

Heat the olive oil in a non stick pan over medium high heat. When the oil is heated add the shrimps and keep stirring them around until they have lost their greyness and have turned pink, this is no more than about 2 minutes.
Remove the shrimps from the pan and put to one side. Try and stop yourself from picking at them, even though they are delicious as is!! Add the whole cherry tomatoes to the pan along with the garlic, chili powder/chopped chili, fresh oregano, and chicken broth or wine.
Put a lid on the pan and leave for 3-4 minutes. Remove the lid from the pan and with the back of a wooden spoon carefully squash the tomatoes, some will have already split but if not a gentle push with the back of a spoon will split them and release their sweet 'tomatoey' juices into the pan.
Now add the shrimp back to the pan along with the crumbled feta cheese and the fresh parsley, just long enough to reheat the shrimp, about a minute or so is plenty, any longer and the shrimp will be rubbery. Season well with salt and lots of black pepper and sprinkle over a tiny bit more feta to garnish if required.