Friday, 18 May 2012

Day 8
You know what it’s like when you have a great idea and then a while into the idea you think “Why did I start this?!!” You know what I’m talking about…deciding to clean out all your kitchen cupboards, de-clutter your wardrobe, sort out your children’s clothes which are too small for them to give away?! Well, after yet another very busy week at work, I was my usual tired Friday-self getting home this evening so I could almost have done with making a handy pasta dish instead but no. I have a saying that is on a continuous loop in my brain which is “Suck it up and get on with it!”. No way was I giving in that easy. So on Day 8, I decided to make two recipes – Salmon en papillote with tomato and basil and Green beans with anchovies and toasted almonds. I also make no apologies for accompanying these dishes with heavenly creamed-potatoes. If I didn’t mess much last night with the Fish Chowder, I certainly made up for it tonight. I probably set a new record for the highest number of dishes, cutlery and pans one can mess whilst making just the one dinner.

Firstly, I decided to put the potatoes on for the creamed potatoes and instead of doing my usual of peeling the potatoes and then boiling them, instead I scrubbed them and boiled them with their jackets on – just like the way I did when I was making the Salmon Fishcakes on page 28 of the cookbook. I’ve discovered that this stops the potatoes filling up with water and makes lighter potatoes when they are mashed. So, the potatoes took 10 minutes to boil, then 20-30 minutes to steam in a small amount of water and then they were mashed with butter and cream. If the Irish Dairy Board was privately owned, I would seriously have a share in the company from the amount of butter I eat and only real butter will do. I don’t believe in all that low-fat, vegetable spread nonsense. I think I have inherited that trait from my father – he eats butter like slices of cheese! And not to do things by halves, it had to be double cream I used for the potatoes too.

The salmon was wrapped up in parchment paper along with sliced tomato, cucumber, fresh basil with a pinch of salt, pepper and sugar. That’s another thing about me – I love salt. Maldon sea salt to be exact. Gorgeous. The Barefoot Contessa aka Ina Garten (who is my second favourite chef) always says that salt brings out the flavour in food and I am with her 100% on that one! It was all fairly neat once it was wrapped up in the parchment paper as a parcel and it took 12-14 minutes in the oven.

The Green Beans literally took 3 minutes to cook and then were mixed with anchovies, toasted flaked almonds and olive oil. I made a vegetarian version of these for myself without the anchovies.

The verdict…

Dear Husband loved this one. He said, and I quote verbatim,it was like something you’d get in a 5-star hotel” yet he gave the whole meal 8.5 out of 10! What is going on with that??!!! Of course, I am mildly obsessing as to how I can get those other 1.5 marks in future recipes (!). Dear Son loved the creamed potatoes but wouldn’t venture near the salmon part. Children really are fickle. He ate salmon in the chowder last night but wouldn’t go near it tonight! I had the creamed potato and beans – heaven! The almonds in the beans were absolutely beautiful. This dish is a keeper so make this on a Saturday night if you decide to sit-in.

To conclude, salmon or no salmon, I really do love potatoes and although pasta is apparently now more popular on Irish dinner tables, all I can say is “Long live the Irish potato….

…and the Kerrygold butter too, of course!”

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