LIMEY CORNY SAL­MON BAKE

Cuisine - - PREVIEW -

SERVES 6

6 sweet­corn cobs 1 ta­ble­spoon cumin seeds 1 ta­ble­spoon co­rian­der seeds 1 tea­spoon salt 1 tea­spoon ground gin­ger 1 tea­spoon ground turmeric ½ tea­spoon ground black pep­per 6 x 250g skin­less sal­mon fil­lets 4 limes 3 ta­ble­spoons olive oil large hand­ful of co­rian­der leaves 1 chilli, sliced (op­tional)

First: char­grill your corn cobs. I find that the eas­i­est way to do this quickly is on a gas cook­top. Put an old wire rack over a medium flame and crowd your cobs onto it, so they’re right in the flame. Turn them as they brown and blis­ter, en­sur­ing all sides of them get a bit of the heat. You can bal­ance them di­rectly on the hob but it’s messier, plus you get red-hot corn cobs rolling every­where – good com­edy po­ten­tial, but an­noy­ing if you’re pushed for time. Once all the cobs are done, set them aside to cool. (If you don’t have a gas cook­top but you do have a bar­be­cue, use that in­stead. And if you have nei­ther, just cook the cobs un­der a hot grill, turn­ing reg­u­larly.)

Toast the cumin and co­rian­der seeds in a dry fry­ing pan un­til fra­grant, stir­ring of­ten so they don’t burn, then tip the lot into a large mor­tar and pes­tle, along with the salt. Grind to a pow­der, then stir in the ground gin­ger, turmeric and black pep­per.

Choose an oven­proof dish that will hold your sal­mon fil­lets snugly, oblig­ing them to over­lap each other a bit; over­lap is key here. Line the dish: no greas­ing or any­thing, you just want a big sheet of bak­ing pa­per scrunched up then straight­ened out and laid over the dish. Now, take half of your spice mix and rub it all over the sal­mon fil­lets. Lay them – you guessed it – over­lap­ping on top of the bak­ing pa­per.

Back to the corn. With a big sharp knife, cut the ker­nels from the cobs. (I keep the cobs be­cause they make an ex­cel­lent ad­di­tion to stock for Chi­nese soups, but you need not share this par­tic­u­lar be­havioural quirk.) With luck, some of the ker­nels will come off in big sheets. Tuck these be­tween, un­der and on top of the sal­mon fil­lets. Don’t feel all teary and in­ad­e­quate if the ker­nels just crum­ble off, though; it’s no big­gie. Put the rest of the corn into a bowl for the salsa. Zest one of the limes into the bowl, then juice that lime and one of its friends and add that too. Stir in half of the olive oil and the rest of your spice mix. If you’re prep­ping in ad­vance, cover with plas­tic wrap and chill un­til needed.

Juice the other two limes and whisk with the rest of the olive oil. Driz­zle this over the sal­mon in the dish, which is now oven-ready: you can cover the dish with plas­tic wrap and con­sign it to the fridge, or cook it straight­away. Ei­ther way, it needs about 20 min­utes in a pre­heated 200°C (180°C fan) oven, or un­til the sal­mon is just start­ing to brown around the edges – be care­ful not to over­cook it.

At the last minute, toss the co­rian­der leaves through the salsa and add the chilli, if us­ing. Top the baked sal­mon with large dol­lops of salsa: you want a ri­otously colour­ful and loaded look, not just a sprin­kle. Serve straight from the dish at the ta­ble, with any re­main­ing salsa on the side so peo­ple can help them­selves.

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