Thursday, 9 June 2011

Mangetout Stirfry with Baked Sesame Salmon

As promised, we harvested the first of the mangetout yesterday - 'Golden Sweet' yellow-podded mangetout from Real Seeds. I couldn't resist munching on a few raw - they're so sweet and lovely, and completely untouched by pea-moths and their ghastly offspring (the curse of allotment peas!). Think I'll have a few more with lunch today. And if I manage to stay organised over summer (ha!) I think I'll try a second sowing for an autumn crop too...

After a quick whiz round the garden for some other bits, we were ready for a stir-fry! We added some salsola, a couple of baby courgettes that seemed to be struggling (they're still having a hard time getting going) and some spring onions. Check out those onions! For some reason I always struggle with spring onions but this 'Eiffel' variety, grown on the doorstep in a big pot, are doing me proud! (The mushrooms were not grown by us. Sadly.)

I used to have trouble knowing how to flavour stir-fried veg. I wanted something to spice them up a bit, but I'm not keen on some of the common Chinese flavourings such as five-spice powder, and if I keep fancy stuff like fish sauce and rice wine in my cupboards, most of it will go out of date before I use it up (while sherry never sticks around long enough!). But I've found the perfect combination of flavourings - it gives that oriental feel and a bit of punch but doesn't drown out the flavours of the vegetables. Just a little soy sauce and red wine vinegar, and a dash of white pepper. Garlic, chilli and ginger can all be used to taste, too, but I don't tend to use them with a fish dish like this - I prefer to let the pea, salmon and sesame flavours rule.

Mangetout Stirfry with Baked Sesame Salmon
(serves two)
  • Slather two salmon fillets in a little olive oil and soy sauce. Place on a baking tray and sprinkle generously with sesame seeds. Then pop in the oven at 180C for around 15-18 minutes (when it is just opaque in the middle, it's done).
  • Wash your vegetables and slice bigger ones thinly. You'll need a big handful per person and you can use pretty much anything; mangetout, babycorn, peppers, courgettes, asparagus, mushrooms, carrots, greens, broccoli, pak choi, beansprouts... but I recommend a heavy emphasis on the mangetout!
  • Put some rice or noodles on to boil.
  • Put a wok or large saucepan on a high heat, add a little oil and let it get hot. Chuck all the veg in, with 2 tsps soy sauce, 2 tsps red wine vinegar and a dash of white pepper, and stir gently.
  • The veg will only need a few minutes, depending on how crunchy (or not) you like them. Three to five minutes should be plenty for most veg. If at any stage the pan seems too dry or things are starting to brown, add a tablespoon or two of water.
  • If you're using noodles, toss them in a little sesame oil.
  • Serve rice or noodles and stir-fried veg with the baked salmon on top.

Doh! I forgot to put the salsola in! Guess I'll have that for lunch too. I was too busy getting excited about the leftover asparagus I remembered in the fridge and throwing that in! Next time...


Nut_Chocoboo said...

Yes, soy sauce is a good choice. Don't ever stir fry anything (meat or veg)with five spice powder. It's not supposed to be used in a stir fry. In fact I only use it as a dry rub for roasting certain meats. The Chinese use five spice in slow cooked meat and soy sauce tea eggs, but usually use whole spice instead of powder. Powdered spice loose its aroma really quickly and can taste chalky. There is no strict rule of how to make veg stir fry but try keep it simple, don't throw in too many types of veg. Think of flavors and textures. In China veg are usually cooked individually and several veg dish can be served at the meal. My general order is: heat oil, add aromatics(usually garlic and chilli but quite offer I don't use aromatics at all ) , add veg that has been washed and got a few drops of water on (it creates steam and stops tender veg getting caught), toss for a few sec, add soy sauce to hot work so it caramalises a bit, then a drop of water to cool it down slightly. You can add extra salt, pinch of sugar for veg such as spinach, and to finish off, turn off heat, add a few dash of sesame oil and a twist of pepper. But to be honest I only use soy sauce for French beans, courgette, aubergine and green pepper. For mangetout and all leafy greens I use only salt, sugar , and garlic sesame oil and black pepper for spinach type of veg. People from other regions of China may add garlic and chilli for all leafy greens. For broccoli you can use garlic, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and black pepper. When stir fry harder veg such as broccoli, adding a few drops of water will help cooking it while maintaining the crunchy juicy texture. And no you don't have to put noodles in. Too much food lowers the temperature of the work and everything stews.

Nut_Chocoboo said...

sorry about the very long comment...I've been reading your blog back to back lately. Love it! I've been growing veg on and off for 5 years but no way as dedicated as you are. Started our veg plot this year "properly" for the first time. Looking fine so far, fingers crossed...I though I went crazy with sowing until I saw yours...

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