I cannot count how many articles have popped up on my news page the last few days with unwelcome tips on how the ‘fit and healthy’ enjoy their christmas. Including advice on how to keep ‘on track’, ideas for ‘lighter’ dishes and other smug tips on not gaining half a stone over Christmas. To me the idea of making health and weight the focus of Christmas is a crazy one. Its like someone with a sun allergy booking a holiday to the Caribbean. This time is purely about the unnecessary amounts of booze, lavish spreads and sumptuous puddings. Focusing on being abstemious, or controlled, on what is, or isn’t, vegan, sugar-free and health ticked just defeats the point.
As such, I have kept my laptop firmly closed for the most part and any #fitspo #cleaneating hashtags, or overly colourful plates of greens, has promptly been deleted from my Instagram. At least until the last of the leftover turkey is finished. I don’t want a side of guilt with my slice of double cardamom chocolate fudge cake. Thanks so much.
That said, now that the big day has passed, I have rather predictably found myself feeling a less energetic than usual. A hangover and newly developed sugar addiction to kick, I am pre-empting my hunger for health and have developed a few simple and speedy dishes for the new year. Recipes that will satisfy the tastebuds and fill any overstretched tummy with some goodness. Oily fish, vitamin c and (bowl-moving) fibre friendly dishes, like this little number are exactly the ticket. These are the things we need to get our body back on balance and help our body restoration before 2016 rolls around.
This simple seared salmon is a superb 10 minute recipe. Its a great high protein, low carb option and absolutely delicious served with a simple pea and chilli mash and a creamy smoked almond sauce. It is such a convenient dish as it relies mainly on ingredients from the freezer or cupboards (the fish you use is interchangeable). In the absence of peas, you can use edamame beans. You can also swap the almond sauce to a tahini dressing (try the one in my book) for an asian-inspired option.
Salmon with Pea and Chilli Pea Mash and Almond Sauce
For the Peas
- 2 cups garden peas, defrosted
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
- a pinch of lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Blend half the defrosted peas with the lemon zest, garlic and olive oil in a food processor so they achieve the texture of a chunky puree.
Add the puree to a bowl with the remaining peas, spring onions, chilli and mix through. You are looking for a rustic chunky mash.
For the Salmon
- 2 fillets of skinless salmon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Pat the fillets of salmon with kitchen paper so they are fully dry.
Season both fillets with a good pinch of sea salt
Add a frying pan to the stove and heat over a high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Place the salmon carefully in the pan.
You want the fillet to develop a good golden colour on one side before you flip it to cook on the other side. This should take about 3 minutes. Once it is golden, flip and cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side. You can reduce the cooking time if you want the salmon to be slightly underdone and blushing pink on the inside
For the Almond Sauce
- 40g blanched almonds, soaked for 1-2 hours
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon smoked garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 50ml water
- sea salt
Place the almonds in a bowl to soak for 1-2 hours.
If you are short of time, you can sock them in just boiled water. This will speed up the process.
Once the almonds are soft. Place them in a blender with the remaining ingredients and process until you achieve a smooth, silky sauce. If you want to ensure the creamiest sauce it is best to pass the mixture through a fine chinois sieve.
Once the salmon is cooked and all the components of the dish prepared, arrange on a plate and serve warm.