Sea purslane is a great alternative to marsh samphire, or other coastal vegetables. It has a unique crunch unlike most coastal plants, yet still delivers a distinct salty flavour which enhances many fish or seafood dishes. This recipe is once again inspired by ingredients sent in this month's Forage Box, a subscription service delivering a monthly collection of wild/foraged foods.
This dish features wild, non-farmed salmon but you can use any sustainably-sourced fillets you can get your hands on. The salmon is marinaded in lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, capers and fresh dill then wrapped up in foil parcels to gently bake in the oven.
Once cooked, the salmon fillets are served on a bed of three-cornered leek pesto (recipe here) which I dug out of the freezer, made from last month's box of ingredients. Three-cornered leeks can be found in flowerbeds, hedgerows and verges, tasting similar to baby leeks. You can also use ready-made basil, rocket or watercress pesto or make your own instead. Delicate caper leaves are also tucked under the fillet to add further complexity to the saltiness of the dish and texture.
The salmon fillets are then garnished with our fresh sea purslane (raw, just washed) alongside more fresh capers and dill. To make this recipe worthy of a winters evening, we served alongside creamy dauphinoise potatoes, the kind that make you want to fall asleep afterwards.
Forage Box aim to provide home cooks like me with 'snapshots’ of wild flavours and to showcase their potential in the kitchen. From syrups to salts, freshly picked to powdered, juice to jam, their foraged ingredients will delight and surprise you. Find out more information on the subscription and how to sign up here.
INGREDIENTS (Serves 2)
*Note: this makes enough dauphinoise potatoes for 4 people, to use with other dishes as leftovers.
250ml double cream
2 garlic cloves
4 Maris Piper potatoes, peeled
150g mozzarella cheese, torn into chunks
2 fillets of wild, sustainably sourced salmon
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 bag of fresh dill, roughly chopped
3 tbsp capers
6 caper leaves (optional)
6 tbsp pesto (warmed)
2 handfuls of fresh sea purslane, leaves removed and washed thoroughly
Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.
Tip the double cream, milk and garlic cloves into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Slice the potatoes very finely, about 3-4mm, add them to the cream and simmer for 3 mins until just cooked
Gently stir to separate the potato and stop it sinking and catching on the bottom of the pan. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and place in a wide shallow ovenproof dish so that they are about 5cm in depth. Pour over the cream (discarding the garlic) – just enough to seep through the layers and leave a little moisture on the surface.
Scatter over the mozzarella cheese, if using, then bake for 30 mins until the potatoes are soft and browned – increase the heat for 5 mins if not brown enough.
Whilst the potatoes are cooking, start preparing the salmon. Lay each fillet skin-side down on an individual square of aluminium foil. Season each fillet with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and rub with the crushed garlic.
Zest one of the lemons and add to the salmon fillets. Juice this lemon and drizzle over each fillet. Use the remaining lemon to slice finely. Top each fillet with the 1/2 the chopped fresh dill, a handful of capers and the lemon slices. Seal each parcel by wrapping around the fillet tightly, place on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes (depending on the size of your fillets).
Remove both the salmon and potatoes from the oven. Warm your pesto in a small milk pan or the microwave ready for serving. Serve the salmon fillets on a bed of pesto, caper leaves (if you have them) and top with more capers, dill and plenty of fresh sea purslane leaves alongside the creamy potatoes.