There is something wrong with my DNA.
I must be the only person on the face of the Earth that gets ill and all they crave is healthy food.
I came down with the cold this week (although I’m convinced I’m dying, but I do veer on the dramatic sometimes) and in the pits of my ill despair, I never crave cheesy carbohydrates.
When I am ill, I always look for highly flavoured, deeply spiced yet light proteins that feel like I’m eating my body back to life. Eating to recover. It’s poetic.
I went through a bit of a love affair with salmon. It’s probably my favourite fish, but my mother went through a salmon phase when I was growing up (it too went through a big fussy phase during the mid 00’s) and I got sick of it.
However, like all good trends, they reappear in an updated incarnation and the horrors of old suddenly become lovely memories and the tastes like beautiful framed family photos you seek when you’re feeling cosy.
Seared, braised, broiled, fried – salmon is just GOOD, isn’t it? Flaky, falls apart in your mouth, tender… it manages to be everything all at once and even if it’s cooked and the pink has been swapped for a softer hue, you know it’s still got the goods.
This recipe uses broth in 3 different places – to steam the salmon, to flavour the rice and to use as a ‘sauce’ afterwards. But don’t be put off by that – the broth is nothing more than chopping and the boil of a kettle.
The apricots bring a fresh sweetness to this dish. I love spicy food, but when you throw a whole chili in the mix, sometimes you need a balance just to make sure your palette doesn’t jump out of your mouth in search of a more respectable vessel.
Begin with your broth by boiling a kettle. Throw a chopped carrot, some chopped spring onions, some chopped ginger (unpeeled), a celery stick and a bashed garlic clove into a big jug or pan – it’s not going on the heat don’t worry.
Now cover the vegetables with boiling water.
Splash in a tablespoon of soy sauce, a tablespoon of brown sugar (or honey) and squeeze in the juice of two limes. Cover the jug or pan and leave to one side.
I tend to do something else for an hour or so to let the vegetables flavour the water. I was also very ill when I made this so I applied Vix to some tissues, shoved it up my nose and napped.
Now you’re ready to cook.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Slice up two or three spring onions, a handful of dried apricots and one red chili – take the seeds out if you don’t want it too spicy.
In a big wok, heat a little olive oil and throw in the onion, apricots and chilli. Cook these until they begin to soften.
Now take two fillets of salmon and place in a roasting pan. Salt them generous before ladling over some of the lime broth.
Cover the pan with some foil and slide in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes.
In the wok, throw in a handful of spinach leaves and a cup of cooked rice. I would absolutely not judge you here if you used pre-cooked rice from a packet.
I was ill, so I did.
Now take two ladles of the lime broth and pour into the wok. Keep the vegetables and rice cooking on a high heat for the rest of the salmons cooking time, keeping everything stirring.
Take the salmon out of the oven.
Plate up by putting the rice on the plate and then carefully placing the salmon on top of the rice.
Now take ladle or two of the lime broth and pour over the salmon and rice.
Finish off with a dusting of coriander and if you want to be fancy like I was, some thinly sliced celery.
Also as a final USE UP EVERYTHING note, you may have some lime broth leftover. What I do is decant this into an empty washed out milk carton (including the fishy spiked lime broth from the roasting tin that held the salmon) and keep in the fridge. It’s perfect in a risotto like this Spinach Risotto with Baked Feta & Mint you can find here or even in a seafood laden soup, like this Crayfish Soup)