Baked salmon with a curry & naan crust, lentil biryani #cookalongfriday

Made a fortuitous discovery last night.  Thought the large slab of salmon in the fridge was smoked, it turned out to be fresh and ready for cooking.  That means we’re getting baked salmon with a curry and naan bread crust tonight, with a biryani of some kind to go with it.  That’s the up side.  The down side is that this is going to be almost entirely made up as I go along.  So here goes…

Taking inspiration from Jamie Oliver’s crusted cod recipe (30 Minute Meals p142), for the salmon we’ll need:-

  • 2 garlic and coriander naan bread
  • 1 onion
  • 5 cardamon pods
  • 1 tsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp each of ground cumin, ground coriander and garam masala

The eagle-eyed might notice a surprising similarity to the curry paste from last week’s recipe.  Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

  • 1 side of salmon (or half a side, depending on what happens to be in the fridge).

I suspect this would work with cod, ling, tusk, basically any firm fish.  Don’t know about monkfish, give it a shot and see how you get on.  How bad can it be?

  1. Put the grill on to medium-high heat.
  2. Put the salmon under the grill for 5 minutes whilst you…
  3. Put the onion, cardamon, garlic & ginger paste, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, cumin, coriander and garam masala into a blender and blitz to a paste.
  4. Crumb one or both of the naans depending on how much fish you’ve got to cover.
  5. Take the salmon out from under the grill, smear the paste all over the top covering fairly evenly.
  6. Cover the paste with the naan crumbs.
  7. Return the salmon to the oven on the middle shelf, turn up the heat, cook until the crust is golden and crisp (or for about 10 minutes).

Now this is where the timing gets interesting because the biryani is going to take a lot longer to do than the salmon.

  • 100g lentils
  • 225g Basmati rice
  • 2 large onions
  • 1tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 25g butter1tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 5 green cardamon pods
  • 1 bay leafsalt and pepper
  • 900ml water
  • 1tsp garam masala
  1. Soak the lentils, wash the rice.
  2. Finely chop the onions
  3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and fry the onions for a couple of minutes
  4. Add the garlic & ginger paste, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, cardamon pods and bay leaf, fry for another 10 minutes or so on a low heat
  5. Drain the rice and lentils, add them to the pan and stir well, coating everything with the buttery oniony mixture.
  6. Add salt and pepper, then the water and bring to the boil.
  7. Stir once, lid on, heat down to lowest setting, leave it alone for 20 minutes.
  8. Start work on the salmon!
  9. Once the 20 minutes are up, remove the pan from the heat and the lid from the pan.  It can sit like this for another 10 minutes happily finishing everything off.

So this is more than a little experimental.  It’s taking elements of a few recipes and putting them together in a way that should (hopefully) work.  And if it doesn’t, well you could always scrape the crust off the salmon and buy in some bagels or chips to serve it with!  But hey, it’s Friday.  Live a little.  It’s the weekend tomorrow and the weather’s set to be good.

I’m not around next Friday, I’m down to Yorkshire to collect a table, amongst other things.  I’ll get my better half to let me know what she’s cooking and we’ll get that posted up here for your delectation and delight.

After the event.  Well, that went alright.  If I do this again, I’ll cook the onion for the salmon crust for 5-10 minutes, sweat it down and start it caramelising.  Either that or substitute for tomato.

The biryani worked very well as an accompaniment, though.  Delicious.

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