Using the oven has become my principle technique for cooking salmon, a method necessitated by co-habitation in small spaces.
There were several initial occasions on which I pan-fried salmon in my first apartment, completely forgetting just how strong the smell of frying fish can be and how it rapidly spreads everywhere – including my housemate’s bedroom.
To the person cooking, the pungent salty aroma of seared salmon in a hot frypan can only be a promise of a delicious meal to follow.
But when the smell’s still hanging around the house the next day at breakfast… well, it can be enough to put you off your cereal.
Then one day I stumbled across a recipe that called for the salmon to be cooked in the oven and the rest is history.
Ten minutes in a blasting hot oven cooks an average fillet perfectly – golden on the outside but still verging on rare in the centre.
I swear this will be the summer that I invest in a small barbeque for my balcony, so I can cook my salmon and steaks and everything else in the breezy outdoors without the threat of my smoke detector shrieking into action – but I’ve said that for the last three years so don’t hold me to it…
salmon noodle salad with chilli & lime dressing
500g skinless salmon fillets
1 tbsp sunflower oil
200g rice vermicelli noodles
half punnet of cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
1 avocado, roughly chopped
1 red chilli, de-seeded and sliced
⅓ cup each chopped mint, coriander and Thai basil leaves (or regular basil if you can’t find the Thai variety)
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp castor sugar
If you choose to cook the salmon in a frypan or on a barbeque grill plate, heat the oil over medium high heat and sear for 2-3 minutes each side, leaving a little rare and pink in the middle.
Place salmon on a warm plate, cover loosely with foil and set aside while making the noodle salad.
Alternatively, heat your oven to 250°C and brush the salmon fillet with oil. Place on a lined baking tray in the oven for exactly 10 minutes, until the fish is almost cooked through.
Cover and set aside, as above.
To prepare the noodles, cover them with boiling water and sit for about 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and place in a large bowl.
Whisk all the dressing ingredients together until the sugar has dissolved and pour over the noodles.
Add the cherry tomatoes, avocado, herbs and sliced red chillies, gently tossing to mix the ingredients through the noodles.
Divide the salad among four bowls. Break up the salmon into bite-sized chunks with your fingers over the top of the noodles.
Scatter with chopped coriander and serve with lime wedges.