Thursday, 10 July 2008

Beans with ocean trout, preserved lemons and rocket

It is a real special occasion to get the opportunity to eat this dish. It has been a favourite of mine for many years, but it contains just one too many of the things that make the Young Man turn up his nose for me to be able to make and actually expect him to eat it. Hopefully you don't have such problems, as this is a truly spectacular medley, despite comprising just a handful of ingredients.

I remember printing this out years ago (my printout is well spattered and grease-stained--always a good sign), but forgot where. Happily, it is still on the Net, and wouldn't you know it, it's from my food hero Nigel!

Nigel's version is for flageolet beans and salmon, but I've substituted soy beans and ocean trout, which I reckon is even better. I've also made this with white beans and chickpeas, and spinach instead of rocket (which goes by the name arugula in other parts, apparently) before, so feel free to ring the changes yourself. It is what Nigel would tell you himself.

If you have a stash of pre-cooked pulses in the freezer, you can have this on the table in minutes. Just don't forget to reheat your beans beforehand, to kill off any lurking bacteria. If you have a pressure cooker and remember to soak your beans before going out to work, you'll still be tucking in in no time. Soy beans take around 3 1/2 minutes to cook under pressure. I'll leave Nigel's full instructions here, in case neither of these options are available to you.

Soy beas with ocean trout, preserved lemons and rocket

Serves 2 as a main dish

150g dried soy beans
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
couple of bay leaves (optional)
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
half a preserved (pickled) lemon
a loosely cupped handful of coriander leaves
300g ocean trout fillet (the tail is good here)
2 small bunches (about 100g) rocket leaves

Rinse the beans - they can be dusty - and check them over for any small stones, then soak overnight in cold water. They will need a good five or six hours to plump up. Drain, then tip into a deep pan of furiously boiling water, but adding no salt - it would make them tough. Cook for 10 minutes or so at a fierce boil - a habit that is supposed to stop them from giving you wind later on - then turn them down to a rolling boil. I put a little olive oil and a couple of bay leaves in at this point for no other reason than that it makes the kitchen smell good as they cook.

If the water gets low, top it up from the kettle. The time the beans will take to cook is anyone's guess - much will depend on their age. At this time of year they are certain to be last year's harvest, so they will need at least 40 minutes (mine took an hour yesterday). New-season's dried beans that appear in the autumn should be tender in 20 minutes.

A tender bean will squash easily between your fingers, but the best way is to taste them.

Put the salmon on a dish or grill pan and rub it lightly with oil, then cook it under an overhead grill for 10 minutes or so till the flesh is just opaque.

To make the dressing, add the vinegar to the oil in a large mixing bowl, a grind of salt and pepper (remember that the lemon will be salty), then finely chop the lemon and roughly chop the coriander leaves and add them both to the oil and vinegar. Pull the fish from its skin in fat chunks - I think bigger pieces are more attractive in a salad - and add them to the dressing. No need to toss it yet.

Drain the beans (you can get them ready early in the day and shake them in a little seasoned olive oil while they are warm), then toss them gently with the salmon and dressing. Try not to break up the fish.

Pick the rocket over, discarding anything that is not in good nick, then fold the leaves tenderly into the salad and serve in the next half hour or so, before the leaves wilt in the dressing. Serves 2 as a main dish.



Cynthia said...

I love Nigel's food too.

So, you would call this a salad?

Saffron said...

Hi Cynthia!

How's the book coming along??

Nigel's a legend in our house and sure, I'd call this as salad. If pushed, I suppose it's a "warm salad".