This asparagus mixture is wonderful on its own or with fish, meat, or poultry. Vary the ingredients according to whatever is fresh and exciting in the market.–Alastair Hendy
LC Underselling Oneself Note
Hendy is right about the vegetables being wonderful. And about them being variable according to what’s in season. But what he doesn’t mention is the brilliance of his approach to salmon, in which gently spiced cooked couscous forms a surprisingly superb (not to mention remarkably quick-to-make) crust for the salmon. The cooked couscous serves as barrier between salmon and skillet, ensuring the fish remains moist while creating a crisp textural contrast.
Salmon Fish Fingers with Asparagus and Spring Peas Recipe
Hands-On Time: | Total Time: | Serves 6
- For the fish fingers
- Six 6-ounce salmon filets
- 3/4 cup uncooked cousous (NOT Israeli couscous)
- Boiling water
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- Flour for dusting
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more as needed
- For the mustard and mint buttered vegetables
- 30 asparagus tips
- 6 baby zucchini or pattypans, roughly chopped or halved
- 9 ounces mixed spring peas (including snow peas, sugar snap peas, or shelled peas) or slender green beans
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
- Chopped fresh mint and chives, to serve
- Start the fish fingers
- 1. Pour the couscous into a bowl, add enough boiling water to just cover, and then set aside until doubled in size, about 5 minutes. Fluff up the couscous with a fork, leave for 5 minutes more, and then fluff up again. Spread the couscous out on a wide plate and let dry for 10 minutes.
- Start the mustard- and mint-buttered vegetables
- 2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the asparagus until bright green, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Repeat with the zucchini or pattypans, and then again with the peas or green beans.
- Finish the fish fingers
- 3. To the couscous, add the garlic, lemon zest, cumin, coriander, ginger, salt, and pepper and toss.
- 4. Pat the salmon dry with paper towels. Dip the salmon first in the flour, then in the beaten egg, then in the couscous mixture, patting on extra couscous to completely coat it. Transfer to a plate and refrigerate for just a few minutes.
- 5. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the couscous-coated salmon and sear gently, turning once, until cooked to the desired doneness, about 2 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Transfer to paper towels and let rest.
- Finish the vegetables
- 6. Heat the butter and mustard in a large skillet or wok. Add the drained vegetables and toss well. Heat through for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then toss in the mint and chives.
- To serve
- 7. Slice each salmon fillet lengthwise to make 2 fingers. Place 2 pieces of salmon on each plate and pile the mustard-and-mint-buttered vegetables on top. Sprinkle with the chives and serve.
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Salmon Fish Fingers with Asparagus and Spring Peas Recipe © 2000 Alastair Hendy. Photo © 2000 David Loftus. All rights reserved.