Wednesday 8 October 2008

Poached Wild Salmon on Roast pumpkin with Mussels and Samphire

One of my very favourite vegetables in this season of great produce is the pumpkin. Most families around the country will soon be carving faces into them, sticking a candle inside and wandering the dark streets in an attempt to get a few sweets from people. The pumpkin will then probably get thrown into the bin and forgotten about for another year.

What a shame. Anybody that condemns this supreme vegetable to such a sorry end is missing out on one of Mother Nature's finest versatile vegetables. Carve out that face, but ensure you scrape out as much flesh as possible and use that flesh in a multitude of recipes. There is nothing simpler than a plain old pumpkin soup, hopefully roasted before pureeing to ensure a deep sweetness. Bacon added to the mix make things even better. Or get the flesh into a casserole or stew instead of the carrots or parsnips for a change. Keep the seeds and roast them with a little soy sauce and chilli flakes for a healthy snack.

I like to slice one up into thin slices, toss in a little olive oil and season with plenty of black pepper and good salt then roast until the flesh is toasty and caramelised, the skin chewy and sweet. You then have an alternative vegetable accompaniment to your fish or meat. A dressing of orange, chilli, honey and parsley and a scattering of a spicy leaf such as watercress or rocket, you can skip the rest and simply eat this beautiful vegetable as it is. Now get carving.

Poached Wild Salmon on Roast pumpkin with Mussels and Samphire

Feeds 4

1 small pumpkin, deseeded and sliced into 16 lengths
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 pieces of wild salmon fillets, skinned
8 handfuls of live mussels
A small glass of water
4 handfuls of samphire
50g butter
Juice of one lemon
4 handfuls of basil leaves
4 tbsp olive oil

1 – Pre-heat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/GM 6. Put the pumpkin into a baking tray and rub in the olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Place onto a high shelf and bake for 20-30 minutes until beginning to colour and soften.
2 – Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Place in the salmon fillets, reduce the heat and poach for 5 minutes.
3 – Heat up a pan with a lid until hot then place in the mussels. Pour in the water and replace the lid. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the shells have opened. Drain in a colander, put back into the pan and add the samphire and butter. Cook for a further minute.
4 – Bash the basil with a little salt in a pestle and mortar until you have a green paste. Stir in the lemon juice and the olive oil. Taste for seasoning.
5 – Arrange 3 slices of pumpkin onto each plate. Place on the salmon. Surround with the mussels and samphire then drizzle on some dressing.


Peter M said...

David, I always shake my head at all the people who pitch the pumpkin out after Hallowe'en..a shame.

I'll have to try this pumpkin & seafood combo...BOO!

Hollow Legs said...

I don't think I've tried a pumpkin that tasted as they should; they seem to grow them as big as possible for Hallowe'en and they lose some of the taste.

I still haven't tried samphire either - so many foods, so little time!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Can you just pop over here and whizz that up for me RIGHT NOW?!

Had some fantastic samphire while in Ireland (take a peek at my blog), and just wish it had a longer season. I absolutely love it, but can never get enough of it!

Aimée said...

Bacon always improves anything. I love roasting pumpkin, too, it brings out the otherwise mild flavor. This dish should be on a menu somewhere!

Anonymous said...

Oh I am totally with you on the pumpkin David, I love it! In fact, it almost seems a shame to carve them. I love the seeds too and will definitely try your soy and chilli combo. I recently saw black melon seeds in a local shop - haven't tried them yet but will report back!

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

I think we are all getting into the swing of pumpkin season just now! It really does let you know that autumn is definitely here.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...


Some of the pumpkins they sell for carving now you can't cook. I noticed this last year when I was going to make some soup with the flesh, there was a little sign saying not for consumption. I guess because they are ferociously treated with chemicals to make them grow.

Amanda x

Sylvie said...

Pumpkin and sprouts are my two favourite things at the green grocer's right now! I love pumpkin curries as well, the sweetness goes so well with the spicy curry flavours.

Rosie said...

I like to eat pumpkin in soups, stews, bakes etc... my pumpkins are not just for carving they are for eating :)

Lovely recipe David, a must try!

Rosie x

Unknown said...

It is the reverse over here David, pumpkin is hugely popular, the greengrocers sell it by the wedge - only us daft English that carve faces into them :) always a good soup the day after though.

The H.I. said...

The Missus is looking forward to trying this recipe out! That's good for me seeing as she has dinner duty now.
Haven't found samphire but I think you said last time that I could use asparagus?

Sam Sotiropoulos said...

Trick or treat! I simply love pumpkin and we have always tried to use as much of our Jack o' Lanterns as possible, even down to salting and roasting the seeds.

Chef Jeena said...

I always love your fish and seafood recipes David, delicious always. :-)

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