Super Salmon Parcels with New Potatoes & Homemade Basil Pesto

 

Call me a bit of a geek, but unwrapping a parcel like this, seeing the steam escape and smelling that punchy homemade basil pesto gets me really excited. Salmon is a great source of vitamin D, which your body needs to absorb calcium to keep your bones and teeth healthy, and cooking it in this way makes it beautifully flaky. I’ve given you more pesto than you’ll need in this recipe, so toss some through cooked pasta or swipe some into a sarnie for tomorrow’s lunch.

SERVES : 2
COOKS IN : 30 MINUTES
DIFFICULTY : NOT TOO TRICKY

INGREDIENTS

25g pine nuts
50g fresh basil
Half small clove garlic
2 lemons
15g Parmesan cheese
extra virgin olive oil
150g green beans
1 120g salmon fillets , skin on, scaled & pin-boned, from sustainable sources
Olive oil
300g new potatoes

METHOD

1.Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Fill and boil the kettle.
2.Place a frying pan over a medium heat and toast the pine nuts for 2 to 3 minutes, or until very lightly golden – keep them moving so they don’t burn. Tip into a bowl and set aside.
3.Pick the basil leaves, discarding the stalks, and pound in a pestle and mortar. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar, very finely chop.
4.Peel the garlic and add to the mortar with a pinch of sea salt and the toasted pine nuts – keep pounding until you have a green paste. Alternatively, very finely chop it all together on a large board, then place into a bowl.
5.Squeeze in the juice from half a lemon and finely grate in the Parmesan.
6.Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and muddle together – you need just enough oil to bind the pesto and get it to an oozy consistency.
7.Trim the stalk-ends from the beans and cook in boiling salted water for 2 minutes, then drain.
8.Fold just over half a metre of tin foil in half so you have a double layer.
9.Place half the hot green beans in the middle of the foil.
10.Lay a salmon fillet on top, skin-side down, and spoon over 1 tablespoon of the basil pesto.
11.Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and season with sea salt and black pepper.
12.Pull the foil edges together and scrunch them up to seal the parcel.
13.Repeat steps 8 to 12 to make the remaining parcel, then place them onto a baking tray.
14.Bake in the hot oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through and the beans are tender.
15.While the salmon is cooking, refill and boil the kettle. Cut any larger potatoes in half, place in a small pan, just cover with boiling salted water and cook for 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain and return to the pan to keep warm until ready to serve up.
16.When the time’s up on the salmon, remove the tray from the oven and leave to stand for 1 minute.
17.Carefully open each parcel (mind out for the steam!) and cut into each salmon fillet to check they’re cooked, then slide onto the plate and serve with the cooked potatoes. Cut the remaining lemon into wedges and serve on the side for squeezing over.