I absolutely love this recipe, courtesy of my culinary hero Nigel Slater. Nigel is arguably the best food writer in the UK and has the ability to make cold mashed potato sound seductive.
This recipe transforms a piece of salmon or trout with minced kaffir lime leaves, garlic and a little red chili – a perfect blend of perfume and fire.
Kaffir lime leaves come from the oddly shaped kaffir lime (unlike the Persian limes or Key limes that are readily available) and as they freeze really well, I recommend buying online in bulk if your local supermarket doesn’t have them: http://importfood.com
You could – but you shouldn’t substitute anything else for the lime leaves as they have a wonderful, unique fragrance. They’re perfect for perfuming Asian curries or soups but you wouldn’t normally eat them, unless they’re very finely minced as they are here.
I’ve also made this with chicken and it’s really good. Slice a chicken breast into thin strips and marinade everything together for an hour then grill in the same way as the fish.
GRILLED FISH with LIME LEAVES & CHILI
A 6-7 oz (275-200g) fillet of trout or salmon (not too thick and with the skin left on)
One clove of garlic, peeled
One small red chili, seeds and membranes removed, finely chopped
4 lime leaves
The juice of half a lime
One tablespoon of olive oil
Crush the garlic with a pinch of sea salt (a pestle and mortar is ideal for this). Stack the lime leaves together, roll them up tightly, slice across into small shreds then chop finely – add these and the minced red chili to the mashed garlic, followed by the lime juice and olive oil. Mix everything together.
Heat your grill pan (preferable a ridged one) until its really hot. Spread the paste over the flesh of the fish then stick it in the hot pan, skin-side down – press it down with a spatula to get a good charred sizzle on the skin. Cook for about 2 minutes then carefully flip it over and give the fish another 1-3 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet (trout will take less time than salmon) – or until its barely opaque in the middle.
Eat immediately, perhaps with a green salad on the side.
A perfect dessert to follow this would be a lovely creamy coconut rice pudding with lime zest and maybe some sliced mango. But you’ll have to wait for next week’s blog for that recipe!