Here’s a tip for busy people who also entertain: Always keep a fillet of salmon in the freezer for those last minute dinner guests. Yesterday I retrieved my “emergency” salmon from my freezer when my sister-in-law called in the morning to say they were coming over for dinner. What I love about fish is that it takes no more than 20 minutes to cook. And if you are really short of time, there’s no need to marinade it either as the delicate flesh of the fish absorbs flavors quickly and easily, unlike meat.
But yesterday I had the time to make a quick marinade, and I was glad I did. I found a recipe in the newspaper a few months ago that caught my eye, and I’d been wanting to try it for a while. The fillet is marinaded in a mint and honey mixture. I wasn’t sure about the combination of salmon and mint, but it works beautifully. It adds a fresh taste to the fish, and the flavor of the mint is strong enough that it doesn’t get cooked away in the oven. The key is not to overcook the salmon – 20 minutes is plenty. I served this with pasta and a green salad for a delicious and light quick meal that didn’t keep me in the kitchen all day.
MINTY SALMON WITH HONEY AND GARLIC
1 whole salmon fillet of about 1½ kg (3 lbs) with the skin
The juice of one lemon
1 cup of chopped fresh mint leaves
10-15 cloves of garlic crushed or chopped
4 tablespoons honey
½ cup olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
How to do it
1. Line a baking pan with two layers of baking paper. Drain extra liquid off the salmon and lay it on the paper.
2. Mix all remaining ingredients in a small bowl to make the marinade. Pour the marinade evenly over the salmon. Cover with foil and place it in the refrigerator for four hours.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Uncover the salmon and bake for 18-20 minutes or until it’s just cooked (do not dry it out – the flesh can still be a little raw inside when you take it out of the oven as it will continue to cook on the very hot baking pan after you remove it from the heat).
Serves about 8. Can be served hot or cold.