If you like your food with a bit of extra hot flavour then Dan May’s new book The Red Hot Chilli Cookbook is a must. It’s packed full of clever hot – and not so hot – recipes, all made with different types of chilli. It includes Chilli chocolate chunk and ginger cookies, Thai beef noodle soup, amazing sauces, salsas and marinades as well as starters and main meals. Flicking through the book, this Whole Roast Salmon with Salsa Verde recipe caught my eye. Perfect for any family gathering on a sunny day, let’s just hope it’s as hot this weekend as it was last weekend so we can open up the patio doors and dine outside…
A few years ago Dan May saw a version of this dish being cooked by English chef Rick Stein on one of his fabulous cookery series. ‘It immediately became a favourite in our household and over the years has evolved to become something that we love so much that we prepared it for our wedding guests,’ says Dan. ‘It was a great pleasure to cook for everyone who had travelled all the way to Northumberland and it seemed fitting to serve this dish within earshot of the South Tyne, one of the UK’s great salmon rivers.’
Whole Roast Salmon with Salsa Verde recipe
Sea salt and freshly ground
Salsa verde piccante
Handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1⁄2 tablespoons finely chopped wild garlic leaves (optional)
Small handful of fresh basil, torn
A few fresh mint leaves, chopped
2–3 tablespoons capers
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 small, hot green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
6 anchovy fillets, drained, rinsed and chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon extra virgin
Whole roast salmon
2 beef tomatoes, sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon capers
1 fresh bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, sliced
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1⁄2 teaspoon dried chilli/
Red pepper flakes
2 large sprigs of fresh thyme
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
50 ml/3 tablespoons dry white wine
1 teaspoon Pastis, Pernod or Ricard (optional)
2.7-kg/6-lb. salmon, scaled and filleted, skin on (ask your fishmonger to do this for you)
baking sheet about 40 x 28 cm/
16 x 11 inches, lined with greaseproof/parchment paper
1. Preheat the oven to 220˚C (425˚F) Gas 7.
2. Put all the ingredients for the salsa verde piccante into a large mortar and mash to a rough paste with the pestle. Alternatively, use a food processor and pulse briefly for a few seconds. Season with a little salt and pepper, if required.
3. To make the whole roast salmon, arrange the tomato and fennel slices over the prepared baking sheet to make a bed for the salmon. Scatter the capers, bay leaf, garlic, half the lemon zest and half the chilli/red pepper flakes over the bed. Lay the sprigs of thyme on top. Whisk together the oil, wine, Pastis, if using, and 3 tablespoons water, then pour over the bed.
4. Take one of the salmon fillets and season both sides with a little salt and pepper. Lay the fillet, skin side down, on the tomato/fennel bed. Spread the salsa verde piccante evenly over the exposed flesh of the fillet. Season the other fillet and lay this on top of the salsa verde, flesh side down. With a pastry brush, paint the uppermost skin side of the salmon with some of the oil mixture that has seeped out onto the paper from the tomato/fennel bed and scatter the rest of the lemon zest and chilli/red pepper flakes over the top.
5. Generously season with salt and pepper. If the fish is a little large for the baking sheet, arrange diagonally or fold the tail around slightly.
6. Roast in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes. The skin will go slightly brown and begin to crisp. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Serve with the tomato and fennel mixture. It works well with new potatoes, salad and Fresh Aïoli It’s also delicious cold.
Recommended chillies: Any small, hot, green Cayenne for the salsa.
Recipe taken from Red Hot Chilli Cookbook by Dan May, photographer Peter Cassidy (Ryland Peters & Small).
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Emma Morton Turner, Guest Editor
View all posts by Emma Morton Turner, Guest Editor