Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Sesame-Roasted Salmon with Stir-Fried Vegetable Noodles

Only a few days in, and I'm TOTALLY over the London effing Olympics.

I've been stuck in traffic for hours to make a simple journey, all because someone from China wants to beat someone from Australia in a running race in my home town. Whoop-de-do.

Haven't these people got anything better to do with their lives than be good at table tennis/archery/judo/diving? I like diving as much as the next guy, but I don't expect people to gather at the pool in my summer holiday hotel and see whether I can hold my arms in the air really parallel while I try not to make a splash. GO HOME!

Anyway, just a fortnight to go and our London mayor Boris Johnson can begin the process of taking down all the posters, scrubbing out the new cycle race lanes and putting the Olympic stadium to good long term use. Then, our chancellor, George Osborne, can figure out how we are going to repay all our spent Olympic money. Good luck to 'em.

As for me? I just go to work as usual, come home (a bit late, thanks to the traffic -grrr) and cook my adorable wife, Mrs Ribeye, today's delicious dish - sesame-roasted salmon with a Chinese stir fry. The thing about stir-fries, is that you want to keep the flavours as clean and simple as possible. AVOID those disgusting brown-paint sauces you always see next to the packs of vegetables in the chiller counter. They're not remotely authentic, or even delicious - you may as well coat your stir fry in HP sauce or Marmite.

Having spent a lovely night recently at my Chinese friend Ying's house, where a sumptuous Chinese feast was laid on for me, I can tell you that there was not a creosote-coloured stir fry sauce to be found on any menu item at all. Instead, all of the bright colourful dishes were briefly introduced to maybe some soy, sesame oil or Shaoxing rice wine, before being quickly roasted, poached or fried in spring onion, garlic, ginger, chilli and/or Szechuan peppercorns. Incredible. I can't wait to be invited back.

The other thing about stir-fried vegetables, is that I have always been told to fry them over a searingly hot heat, for a very short time, to keep them fresh and vibrant. I can see the logic in it, but I don't agree. If you do that, then the minute you take away the heat the vegetables become soggy, as their moisture has not been allowed to fully evaporate away. I prefer to stir fry my vegetables over a lowish heat and make sure they are fully-cooked to intensify their flavours. If you then want to add just a little of the almost raw vegetables before serving, to give some vibrancy, then feel free.

I like salmon steak with my stir fry, with a little sesame oil and soy marinade - but you could give the same treatment to pork fillet, chicken breast or prawns. All are delish.

Morrison's Supermarket on the A1 near Elstree in north London are selling salmon, on offer, at a fantastic £6.49 per kilo (which they do about once a week/fortnight), which means that I can cook this dish with salmon and still come in at under my Potless budget - £2.75 per serving. Otherwise, I'd probably use their always reasonably-priced pork fillet instead, whether it's on offer or not.

Serves 2


2 salmon steaks
1 tablespoon of dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 x 600g pack of stir-fry vegetables
2 tablespoons of sunflower or vegetable oil
1 thumb of ginger, grated
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 x 400g pack of cooked egg noodles
2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
Sesame seeds, for sprinkling

Marinate the salmon steaks in the sesame oil, dark soy and olive oil for an hour and then sear them in a blisteringly hot ridged grill pan on one side. Turn down the pan to moderate and turn the steaks to cook them until done (10 minutes approx). In the meantime, stir fry the vegetables in a wok on a moderate heat in the sunflower oil with the ginger and garlic (15 minutes approx). Add the noodles and the light soy sauce and heat them through. Transfer the stir fry to serving bowls and top with the salmon steaks. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

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