This is an easy, low mess meal which can be made with one saucepan and a single decent sized roasting dish.
The salmon can be replaced with other similar fish such as trout,
whitefish or tuna, or even (with slightly increased cooking time) pork
chops. For vegetarians, try removing the fish and
adding red peppers, garlic and carrots.
To serve four, you will need:
To cook, which will take you a little over an hour:
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C (200°C for a fan oven). Put
enough water in the saucepan to cover the potatoes and place it on a hob to
boil. Wash the potatoes and chop them into even sized chunks. Once the water
is boiling, add the potatoes and cook for eight to ten minutes.
Whilst the potatoes are cooking, chop the onion, but not too finely
— the individual pieces should remain visible in the end product. If
home grown herbs are being used, remove the non-leafy parts and chop finely;
if they came from a little plastic tub, someone else has done this for you
Place the salmon on a plate and cover with the juice of the lemon,
the capers and a sprinkling of black pepper.
Once the potatoes start to go fluffy on the outside, remove from the
heat and drain the water. Place the lid back on and shake the saucepan from
side to side several times — this helps add crunch to the
Drizzle a little oil over the base of a ceramic baking dish. Add the
potatoes, the chopped onion and the herbs. Place in the oven and cook for
forty to fifty minutes.
Once the potatoes start to go golden and crispy, remove the dish from
the oven. Make room for the salmon in the middle of the dish — it is
best if it can lie flat. Add a little more oil if necessary, and add the
fish skin-side down. Pour over any lemon juice that remained on the
plate, and put the dish back in the oven.
The cooking time for salmon fillet depends upon the thickness, but
around ten minutes will do for an average chunk. The aim is to cook the fish
the whole way through, but not so much that it dries out.
Shortly before the salmon is cooked, add the baby tomatoes. Cook for
another two to three minutes and remove from the oven. Serve immediately,
taking care not to break apart the fish or tomatoes.
The exploding part? If cooked for just the right amount of time, the insides
of the baby tomatoes will heat up significantly, but the skin, being reasonably
strong, will not break. This leads to increased pressure inside the tomatoes
which in turn, when the skins are broken (for example by the eaters' teeth),
gives a small explosion. It may take a few attempts to find the perfect
temperature and duration for this effect — one way is to watch carefully
and stop cooking as soon as the first skin breaks.
This meal goes well with medium-bodied dry white wine. Any generic Australian
Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc will work, but for full effect try a Chablis (the real thing,
which comes from France and should be marked AOC, not the Californian drink
which uses the same name) or even a Lachryma Christi del Vesuvio Bianco.