Cherry Tomato and Roasted Lemon Salad

Roasted Candied Lemon With Mixed Tomato Salad (3 of 32)

I am a sucker for colours. Precisely because of that, I was immediately captivated by the vivid kaleidoscope of colours that deck out the pages in Plenty More, Ottolenghi’s vegetarian cookbookOne usually does not equate healthy produce with good taste but trust me, he somehow manages to make vegetables taste phenomenal as if they have undergone some sort of transformative renaissance.

Flipping through the pages, the tomato and roasted lemon salad caught my eye. Who would have thought one could incorporate lemon rind into a salad? So I’ve made an adaptation to Ottolenghi’s “Tomato, Onion, and Roasted Lemon Salad” since (a) I am not a fan of raw red onions, and (b) nor was I able to lay my hands on pomegranate molasses in Hong Kong (okay, I confess, was too ‘lazy’ to make my own). I simply substituted maple syrup for the molasses.

As the man advises, seek out the sweetest tomatoes you can find to balance out the bitterness of the lemon. I personally don’t find that the local tomatoes in Hong Kong deliver enough taste or sweetness so I bought some juicy cherry tomatoes imported from Holland.

Roasted Candied Lemon With Mixed Tomato Salad (8 of 32)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 medium lemons, halved lengthwise, pips removed and cut withways into 2mm eslices (260g)
  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 8 sages leaves, finely shredded
  • 400g baby tomatoes, yelllow or red or a mixture of both, halved
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 10g parsley leaves
  • 15g mint leaves
  • Seeds of 1 small pomegranate (120g)
  • 11/2 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (NB: I used maple syrup instead)
  • 1/2  small red onion, finely sliced (50g)
  • Salt and black pepperRoasted Candied Lemon With Mixed Tomato Salad (28 of 32)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius.
  2. Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil, add the lemon slices and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain well and then place the lemon in a bowl and pour over 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the sugar and sage. Gently mix and then spread out exerting on a parchment lined baking tray.  Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, until the lemons have died out a little. Remove and set aside and cool.Roasted Candied Lemon With Mixed Tomato Salad (22 of 32)Roasted Candied Lemon With Mixed Tomato Salad (21 of 32)Roasted Candied Lemon With Mixed Tomato Salad (16 of 32)
  3. Place the rest of the ingredients in a bowl along with the remaining oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and some black pepper. Add the lemon slices, store gently and serve. 
    Roasted Candied Lemon With Mixed Tomato Salad (14 of 32)

Roasted Candied Lemon With Mixed Tomato Salad (6 of 32)

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Thai Basil Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti

Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (5 of 11)

Friend visiting was allergic to gluten so I gave gluten-free brown rice spaghetti a try today. Verdict: this pasta is a lot stickier than when cooking normal pasta. Luckily though, taste is not compromised and in actual fact, I rather like it (gives it more texture)!

So what exactly is gluten?

Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat and related grains, like barley and rye. Gluten isn’t necessarily bad, but some people are gluten-intolerant, meaning their bodies produce an abnormal immune response when it breaks down gluten from wheat and related grains during digestion. The most well-known form of gluten intolerance is celiac disease, which affects 1 in every 141 people in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health.

When someone with celiac disease consumes gluten, it triggers an immune response that damages their intestines, preventing them from absorbing vital nutrients.

For those gluten intolerant, doctors would typically recommend a gluten-free diet. Patients must avoid eating any foods and ingredients that contains gluten, including bread, beer, french fries, pasta, salad dressing, soy sauce and even some soups (unless otherwise marked as “gluten-free”).

In recent years, however, many people without gluten intolerance have seemed to embark on the fad of the “gluten-free diet”.  Experts express concern that going gluten-free without explicitly needing to could be detrimental to a person’s health as gluten-free foods are often nutrient deficient.

INGREDIENTS (2 servings):

  • Brown rice spaghetti (enough for 2)
  • 280g of salmon sashimi
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes (yellow/red)
  • 1 large bunch of thai basil leaves
  • Handful of green peas (frozen will suffice)
  • 1 lime
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Crushed red pepper / fresh chilli (deseeded)

Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (10 of 11)

METHOD:

1) Boil pasta according to package instructions (~10 minutes for al dente. NB: Brown rice pasta can take longer).

2) In the meantime, prepare the salmon, thai basil leaves and cherry tomatoes. Slice the salmon sashimi into thin slices. Tear off the thai basil leaves from the stems and chop roughly. Slice the cherry tomatoes.

Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (7 of 11)

3) Slice the garlic and heat sauté pan with olive oil on medium heat. Pan fry the garlic until fragrant (be careful not to burn it!).

Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (8 of 11)

4) Chuck in the green peas and a teaspoon of salt. Now is the time to throw in the chopped deseeded red chilli (if using fresh) or sprinkle some chilli flakes.

Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (6 of 11)

5) Check the pasta. Once cooked, drain the pasta in a colander and  pour the contents from the sauté pan into the pasta pot. Throw in the chopped salmon, cherry tomatoes and basil then quickly pour the drained hot pasta back into the same pot and toss with your tongs. The salmon will slowly change colour as it cooks from the heat of the pasta. Add the juice from the fresh lime and toss again.

Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (2 of 11) Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (3 of 11)

6) Transfer pasta to bowls/plates and serve whilst warm.

 

Salmon with Brown Rice Spaghetti and Thai Basil (4 of 11)

 

 

 

Grilled Pork Chops with Caramelized Nectarines and Eggplant

Grilled Pork Chop with Caramelized Nectarines (3 of 5)

This is the quintessential dish for warm nights when you feel like making the most out of your grill (be it outdoors or indoors). When it comes to pork chops, the rich and meatiest chops are cut from the center of the loin. Pork chops deliver iron, potassium, and B vitamins, while being about as lean as chicken.

One serving of pork is 3 ounces, approximately a deck of cards, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Association. One serving delivers a huge dosage of complete protein with men getting 43 percent of their daily intake and women 52 percent. Provided you don’t add additional oil, butter or other calorie-laden ingredients, boneless pork chops have only 93 calories and 2 grams of fat per 3 ounce serving. To ensure pork chops remain moist while cooking, make sure you tell the butcher you want the cut to be ~3/4-1 inch thick.

Summer fruits such as peaches and nectarines complement pork extremely well. Here I used nectarines. I found that tossing the nectarine with maple syrup before grilling helps caramelize them. For extra vegetable goodness, I also grilled eggplants and broiled some cherry tomatoes to garnish. To finish, I suggest drizzling some balsamic vinegar to give an acidic bite.

INGREDIENTS (serves 2):

  • 2 pork chops
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 nectarines
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Some rocket to garnish (optional)

METHOD:

1) Wash pork chops and pat dry with paper towel. Season with salt and pepper.

2) Preheat broiler function in oven to 200 degrees celsius. Layer washed cherry tomatoes on roasting pan lined with parchment paper. Spray some olive oil to coat the tomatoes and sprinkle some salt. Broil for ~15 minutes until charred.

Grilled Pork Chop with Caramelized Nectarines (2 of 13)

3) Cut nectarines into wedges and put into a bowl. Coat all over with the maple syrup and some olive oil.

Grilled Pork Chop with Caramelized Nectarines (1 of 1)

4) Wash eggplant and cut into 3/4 inch slices at a diagonal. Lightly score a criss-cross pattern into the flesh and brush with olive oil mixed with thyme and rosemary. Lightly season with some salt.

Grilled Pork Chop with Caramelized Nectarines (3 of 13)

5) Heat up a grill pan (I used my Le Creuset cast iron grill pan here) on medium heat. Using tongs, layer eggplant slices evenly and cook on both sides until grill marks form, brushing with olive oil/thyme/rosemary mixture regularly to prevent it from getting dry. Once cooked, remove and transfer to a plate.

Grilled Pork Chop with Caramelized Nectarines (9 of 13)

6) Cook the nectarines on the same grill pan until it chars on both sides (roughy 1 minute each side). Transfer to plate.

Grilled Pork Chop with Caramelized Nectarines (2 of 2)

7) Brush pan with olive oil and place the pork chops onto the grill. Cook roughly 3-4 minutes each side (depending on thickness of cut). Layer pork chops on top of the eggplant and ‘frame’ the chops with the nectarines. Remove blistered tomatoes from the oven and garnish on top of the dish with some rocket leaves if desired.

Grilled Pork Chop with Caramelized Nectarines (1 of 1)

Grilled Pork Chop with Caramelized Nectarines (1 of 1)