Up until six o’clock last night I din’t know what I was going to cook for dinner. Inspiration hit me whilst I was out on my evening run, on the return leg of my tri-weekly training session for the Sydney marathon. I’m still in the very early stages of clocking up the kilometres to make my dream of running a marathon reaity and sometimes it feels like my efforts will be in vain to complete the 42 kilometre race. Other days I realise that I am actually getting fitter and that there may still be hope of crossing the finishing line in September. With increasing mileage to come, I’m sure I will have a lot of time to ponder the contents of my fridge and what’s on the menu for dinner. In my fridge last night I had two pieces of salmon, some corn, sweet potato and red cabbage to play with. What might make these ingredients into a satisfying meal? And quickly because it was late and exercise works up an appetite!
To be honest, this is one of my favourite games, putting together a few ingredients and creating a coherent meal from them. Cabbage lends itself to slaw, finely shredded with the addition of salt and lemon juice. Sometimes when making coleslaw I add carrot, onion, fennel, celery, even apple to make a refreshing, crisp and colourful salad. Corn is great cooked directly over the flame on the barbecue, until the kernals are blackened and smoky. At this point you could smear the cob with mayo and anoint with some finely grated sharp cheese like Parmesan, or simply cut the kernels from the cob in long strips and smother them with salt and butter. Sweet potato can be mashed, roasted, cooked whole, in wedges or cubes. As for the salmon, there are so many ways to cook this fish, but by far my favourite method is skin side down, in a pan with a drop of oil, over a medium heat for about 10 minutes. I don’t turn the fish, but watch as it becomes a paler shade of pink from the bottom up. The skin turns to fish crackling, while the interior remains pink and moist.
The seasoning that springs to mind to unite the cabbage slaw, charred corn, roasted sweet potato and crisp skinned salmon is Cajun. A smoky, slightly hot spice mix that lends itself to barbecue cooking and can quickly and easily be made with ingredients from the pantry and garden. Rubbed over the salmon before cooking, it brings together the produce lurking in my fridge into a pretty alright week night dinner.
Cajun salmon seasoning
- Equal quantities smoked paprika, coriander and cumin
- A pinch of cayenne pepper
- A tsp of chopped fresh oregano
- Sea salt and black pepper
Simply combine all ingredients and roll your desired protein in the mix before cooking. The above amount made enough for two pieces of salmon.
Smoky corn slaw
- Red cabbage, finely shredded
- Half a sweet potato cubed and roasted for 20 minutes at 180 degrees
- 2 cobs of corn cooked on the open flame of a barbecue for about 30 minutes, the kernels then cut from the cobs in long strips
- A handful of chopped parsley
- Half a diced red onion
- Strained juice of half a lemon
- generous pinch of sea salt.
Mix all ingredients and leave to mingle while you cook the salmon. Plenty for 2.