Spicy seared salmon

The most magical time of the year is right now, the time between the blossoms of bird cherries and blooming lilacs, some few and very precious days that mark the end of spring and the beginning of summer – and LOVE is in the air!

There is a saying , true or not, that back in the old days, when there were still real shoemakers taking care of and mending our shoes, there was this particular shoemaker who every year closed his workshop and put up a sign on the door saying “closed between bird cherries and lilacs” (staengt mellan haegg och syren). He was wise enough to realize that there was more to life than just mending shoes, you must also take time to enjoy and appreciate what’s given to you by nature.

And just “between bird cherries and lilacs” we have the Whitsun holiday (Pentecost) coming up as well as Mother´s Day (always celebrated on the last Sunday of May here in Sweden). In secular Sweden the Whitsun holiday has lost much of its original religious message and is nowadays more thought of as the weekend when an unusually large number of weddings, confirmations and baptisms of little babies are taking place.

In the past, when you didn´t have access to all kinds of food all year around but had to rely on what different seasons produced, the Whitsun was the holiday when a lot of spring primeurs were presented on the table, like asparagus, spring chicken, salmon, rhubarb….

For dinner tonight I’ll put salmon on the table, made from an often returned to recipe from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection.

Spicy seard salmon

Serves 6

  • 6 salmon cutlets
  • 3 fat cloves garlic
  • 2 level teaspoons rock salt
  • a piece of root ginger (3-4 cm)
  • grated zest of 2 limes + juice of one
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 heaped tsp cinnamon
  • 1 heaped tsp ground cumin
  • 1 dl finely chopped parsley (or coriander for those of you who prefer that)
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • freshly milled black pepper
  1. Crush the garlic cloves and rock salt together with a pestle until you get a creamy purée.
  2. Add grated ginger, lime zest and juice, cinnamon, cumin, honey, one tablespoon of olive oil, chopped parsley and a good grind of black pepper and mix together.
  3. Spread the mixture on the salmon cutlets, cover with plastic foil and set aside for a couple of hours for the flavours to permeate the salmon.
  4. Pre-heat the grill to its highest setting.
  5. Brush a baking sheet (that is solid enough not to buckle under the heat) with olive oil and put it under the grill to heat up.
  6. When the baking sheet is really hot remove it and place the salmon cutlets on it. They will sear and sizzle when they touch the hot baking sheet.
  7. Put the baking sheet back into the oven and place it about 7 cm from the grill element and grill the cutlets for exactly 7 minutes (the timing is vital, so use a timer).

Serve immediately with a warm salad of broccoli, carrots and kidney beans coated with olive oil, white vinegar and salt flakes.

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