This didn’t start as a blog post. Like the multi-coloured spicy rice recipe, I was staring into the fridge wondering what to eat, and this just sort of evolved out of the different ingredients I managed to find. And I really do mean evolve – sometimes if I start cooking when I am really tired I forget what I was planning on making halfway through and do something completely different. Usually this really doesn’t work, in a ‘that Friends episode with the shepherd’s pie trifle’ kind of way, but this time it really did. I have never combined fresh tomatoes with ginger in this way before, and I really love the way that it turned out. Having such few key ingredients means that the flavour is really defined and punchy. If I was really pretentious I would call the sauce a tomato-ginger reduction or something, I probably also wouldn’t have cooked it in the microwave.
Variation: A few days later I made a vegetarian version using cubes of aubergine and tofu instead of salmon and sweet potatoes and it was really fantastic. I started roasting the aubergine and tofu cubes with just a little oil for about 20 minutes before I added the sauce, so they went slightly firm and crispy, as opposed to turning into a ratatouille-kind of mush.
Serves 2 people time: 30 or so mins difficulty: 3/5 taste: 4/5
2 salmon fillets, with skin (cooking times will depend on how big the fillets are, or if they are still a little frozen in the middle, like mine were – use your judgement)
2 or 3 sweet potatoes, depending on how large they are, peeled and cut into wedges or chunks (sized according to the approximate cooking time of the salmon)
1 onion, cut into wedges (a tasty but optional extra – brings gooey, caramelised and burnt edges, irresistible)
Flavourless cooking oil or spray
For the sauce:
2 or 3 large-ish ripe Tomatoes, diced (blanched and skinned if you can be bothered, but it doesn’t really matter for this dish)
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 piece fresh ginger, about 1 ½ times the size as the garlic clove, grated or finely chopped
1 tbsp kecap manis (this is one of my new favourite things, its an Indonesian soy sauce that has been thickened with copious sugar. Ottolenghi features a lot of recipes that call for this – it’s a really useful addition to your spice/condiment cupboard. Essentially its like teriyaki sauce in a handy squeezy bottle, very cheap and available at your local oriental/South-East Asian supermarket. Oh and kecap means sauce in Malay – ketchup, gettit??)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 dessertspoonful sake
1 dessertspoonful ketchup
Preheat the oven to 190-200 c. Make a few slashed in the salmon skin and arrange the fillets skin side up in a tray with the sweet potatoes and onion wedges all around in a snug, single layer. Drizzle with a small amount of oil or spray, shake a little salt over and put in the oven to roast. The idea is that the sauce gets added halfway through the cooking, to allow the fish and veggies to crisp up, and to stop the sauce from burning.
Combine the sauce ingredients in a microwave-friendly bowl and cook on full for about a minute, until it is hot and looks amalgamated and a little bit mushy. You could also warm the ingredients up in a pan. When the salmon and sweet potatoes have had about 10-15 minutes, spoon the tomato sauce on the tray in blobs over it, so that there are bits covered in sauce, and bits that are not, and to continue to cook for another 15 minutes or until the salmon and sweet potatoes are cooked, hopefully with some crispy salmon skin.