By MasterChef UK contestant James Bacon @jamesbaconcooks
Cherry Tomato and Basil Salad
- Cherry tomatoes - estimate a handful per person and use a variety of colours to keep it vibrant
- A couple of sprigs of basil
- 2-3 tbs of olive Oil
- 1tsp- 2tsp of salt
- A pinch of ground black pepper
- Prepare the tomato salad first so the salt can bring out flavour of the tomatoes. Cut the cherry tomatoes in to quarters and roughly chop the basil, place in a medium sized mixing bowl and stir in the salt and olive oil.
- This dish relies on its seasoning - the salt and oil really bring the flavours together. A good quality olive oil will really enhance the tomatoes flavours while salt should draw out the juice to intensify their flavour. Season well.
- Set the dish aside.
Lemon & Dill Pasta with Pan fried Salmon Fillet
This beautiful Scandi-Italian dish is fantastic served both hot or cold making it the perfect summer meal. You could also box both elements up separately and have as part of a picnic! The base of the sauce is a velvety crème fraiche with dill spiked with lemon making it cooling, light and zingy, which is beautifully offset by the heat of the chilli and smoky warmth of the salmon - perfect summer food!
Kitchen tools needed: Cole & Mason herb cutter and bowl Cole & Mason Saunderton spice shaker, frying pan, saucepan, zester.
Ingredients for the Smoked Salmon and Dill Pasta, pan fried Salmon
- 100g of your favourite pasta (I used orecchiette)
- 100g of smoked salmon (cut in to 1cm pieces)
- 100g crème fraiche
- 1 lemon (zest and juice)
- Medium bunch of dill
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- 1 small garlic clove finely grated
- A drizzle of olive oil
- A pinch of sea salt
- 2 salmon fillets
- To make the pasta dressing, zest the whole lemon on a fine grater and place in a mixing bowl, along with the crème fraiche. Halve the lemon and squeeze all of the juice into the bowl. Add a small clove of finely grated garlic for a little warmth (optional).
- Roughly chop the dill in the herb hachoir and add to the mixing bowl.
- Finely chop the chilli - de-seed for a little less heat and add to the mixing bowl. Season well with sea salt, black pepper and a good shake of the Saunderton spice shaker’s chilli flakes! Set the dressing aside
- Boil the pasta according to the shape until al dente, or not too soft
- Heat up your frying pan with a little oil, and place the salmon fillets skin side down, and cook on this side for 5 mins. Turn the salmon and cook for a further 2 mins until golden. This dish can be made with steamed, grilled or pan fried salmon.
- Drain the pasta once cooked, reserving some of the starchy pasta water - this will help to loosen the sauce if it feels too thick.
- Into the mixing bowl tear the smoked salmon into bitesize pieces and incorporate not the dressing, I like to leave this stage as close to adding to the pasta, so as not to over cure/ cook the salmon in the acidic sauce. This can make the salmon a little tougher.
- Mix the sauce not the pasta with a good drizzle of good quality olive oil, and add some of the pasta water if necessary - the sauce should coat the pasta but not stick it together! If taking for a a picnic the dish can be ready at this stage making it easer to transport - but to turn it into a show stopping summer dish continue to the next step.
- Serve on a plate or a shallow bowl, and top with the golden fillet of salmon from the pan. Dress with dill, a little lemon zest, a shake of dried chillis and a drizzle of oil.