Monday, 17 June 2013

Oven baked salmon with olives and feta

When I was a child, I hated it when I had to take the clean dishes out of the dishwasher and put them away in the cupboards. I thought it was incredibly tedious. Now I would kill to get to just place all my dirty dishes in a machine which would magically make them clean, and then I would just need to put them back in the cupboards. Oh how I hate washing dishes. It's possibly my number one most hated house chore right now. Last weekend I cooked so many different dishes to have food for us all week. And the cooking part is mostly fun. But the washing up... And apparently "the cook doesn't clean" does not apply in this house. It's the cook who does the dishes, cleans the kitchen, cleans the bathroom, and everything else. I used to frown at the expression "a woman's touch". As in "this place certainly needs a woman's touch". I'm a big believer in equality, and I've always imagined men are certainly as capable as taking care of themselves and their homes as women. It turns out that living with a man for just a few weeks has completely changed my view. Well, enough about that subject. And on to food, a much more fun subject.

When I was working on my PhD, we had a really sub-par cafeteria at the research institute where I worked. The food was absolutely horrible. According to my colleagues who work there, it is still as horrible if not even worse. There was one thing they did well though, a dish called greek salmon. It was simply oven baked salmon with feta and olives on top. The dish had a sad history though, as food prices kept creeping up and the cafeteria wanted to make more profit, they swapped part of the salmon to cod, so it was a strange hybrid fish, half white and half pink under the veil of olives and feta. Then they left out the salmon completely, and then the feta and the olives. And so it was just oven baked cod. But back in the day, that was definitely the best dish they were serving. This recipe is based on that idea, but I have taken it a bit further adding yogurt and fresh herbs to the topping.

Oven baked salmon with olives and feta (serves 6-8):
1 kg salmon fillet
150 g feta 
10-15 large olives (I used green olives in oil with herb seasoning)
2 tbsp olive oil (I used the oil from the olives)
3 tbsp greek yoghurt
1 clove of garlic (or to taste. I used smoked garlic)
a big bunch of flatleaf parsley
black pepper to taste

The howto:
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/400 degrees F/gas mark 6. Place the salmon in an oven proof dish. Grind black pepper to taste on the salmon. In a bowl, mix crumbled feta, chopped olives, olive oil, yoghurt, garlic and herbs. Spoon the topping onto the salmon. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked and the topping is starting to brown. 

The verdict:
Of all fish, salmon might possibly be my favourite. Even if it's crappy quality cheap salmon from the supermarket. Mix that with the massive punch of flavour from the feta, olives and parsley and you can't lose. The salmon is great out of the oven, but it also works cold to have along with your lunch salad. You could tweak the topping to include any leftovers you want to get rid of. Sundried tomatoes, other herbs, capers... so many options. This is definitely my favourite way of cooking salmon. Just make sure you don't overcook it, the topping does help keep the fish all nice and moist. Admittedly, this is not the most beautiful food, but as I have said before, this blog is all about the flavour!
Card of the day:
This weekend I finally got an opportunity to dig out all my crafting equipment from the moving boxes. To be honest, lately the problem has not been restricted to finding time for crafting. It's about finding a place for crafting. The bachelor pad has only one table. And don't be fooled to believe it would be a dining table. No, it's a desk in the bedroom. And on this desk you can usually find... oh, wait for it... a bike! But this weekend, I was lucky enough that the bike was gone from the table temporarily, so I decided to make the most of it. I think that might be the only crafting fix I will get for as long as we are staying in the bachelor pad, so I made the most out of it. I pulled out all my three boxes of crafting equipment and made a right mess. There might or might not be a few ink stains on the desk which didn't come off... The first card I made was a congratulatory card for the Culinary Consultant's uncle whose 45 year wedding anniversary we are attending next weekend. I wanted the card to be simple and elegant. The colour of the cardstock doesn't show very well on the pictures, the top one shows the colour of the cardstock pretty accurately whereas the bottom picture shows the details a bit better. The background is embossed using a Cuttlebug folder, and the thin panel to the left is stamped with black ink and then heat embossed using a silver embossing powder. The stamp is the Hero Arts Flourish background stamp. The sentiment is from my trusty Hobbycraft General Sentimets set, stamped using black ink and heat embossed using silver embossing powder. The matting has been done using a silver paper, and to finish off, three silver gems and a grey bow. Very elegant and dignified.

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