Tuesday, July 3, 2012

salmon with warm tomato basil oil

Last week, I mentioned my love affair with Ricardo videos. (Luckily, Scott also loves the videos, so it's all above board.)

This week, I'd like to tell you about the other chef I let pop into my world on a regular basis: Laura Calder.

There are many reasons I love Laura. Let me count them for you.

1. She always wears dresses.
2. When she says "just a little bit of butter," she puts a huge bit of butter into the pan.
3. She has a somewhat similar background to me: languages, journalism, public relations, appreciation of bacon . . .

Laura has also worked on food in France, as a cookbook writer and helping to run a cooking school. She is a genius with meat and has taught me how to sear and brown and braise.

(My mother is also very good at cooking meat, but I completely threw away my chance to learn from her, since I was a vegetarian during my teenage years at home. Alas. She teaches me things now when I visit.)

Anyway, I bet you're wondering about this fish and these tomatoes and that basil?

Turns out, tomatoes and basil aren't just for pasta! Or bread!

Nope, they're also for salmon. Just take a bit of olive oil, warm it gently, throw in the tomatoes and basil and you have a lovely treat for your salmon, which has been baking in the oven for a few minutes.

We also tried this with a very light salmon that was almost a trout and it was a very happy fish indeed with its slick of tomatoes and basil. (Trout: so close to salmon and yet so different. How does that work? Are they related?)

What to serve it with? I'd suggest new potatoes and a simple green salad with loganberry vinaigrette. Your plate may look like it came from the cafeteria at IKEA, but it will taste a lot fresher. (Don't new boiled potatoes rolling around your plate and bumping into a piece of salmon make you think of IKEA?)

One year ago: Kristina's nuss kuchen (cherry hazelnut cake)
Two years ago: honey orange cream

salmon with warm tomato basil oil
slightly adapted from Laura Calder
serves 4 6

a filet of salmon or trout to serve 4 – 6 people (about 600 – 800 g.)
salt and pepper
1/3 – 1/2 c. virgin olive oil
2 tomatoes, seeded* and finely diced
1 handful basil leaves, cut in fine strips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celcius).

Rub a good amount of salt and pepper into the salmon. Bake until it's just cooked through. It should take about 15 minutes; start checking on it after 12.

In the meantime, set a small pot with a heavy bottom over medium-low heat. Pour in the olive oil and warm it. This will happen quickly, possibly in 1 – 2 minutes. Whatever you do, err on the side of not overheating the oil. Remove it from the heat.

Check that you haven't heated the oil too hot. Standing as far away as you can, drop a piece of tomato into it and step back. If it fizzes and suddenly deep-fries, the oil is too hot. Give it a few minutes to cool down. If the tomato just sits happily in the oil, you may carry on.

Stir the tomato and basil into the oil. Taste and season with salt and pepper, keeping in mind that you've already put salt and pepper on the salmon.

Once the fish is done and out of the oven, move it to a serving platter. Spoon the warm tomato and basil oil over. Serve.

*Here's an easy way to seed a tomato. Cut it into wedges. Use a sharp paring knife to scrape out the seeds. Done.


  1. I've been loving your blog, so I nominated you for the Beautiful Blog Award! Have a look! :) http://redbikeinagreyworld.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/things-are-getting-beautiful/

  2. Danke, Britta! Your blog looks beautiful, too! (: