I get a regular delivery from Waitrose every Friday. I only began to get food delivered with the arrival of Covid; before I’d always preferred to do my own food shopping, choosing things myself and buying at a rhythm that fitted my life from week to week. I always did a basic buy once a week, usually on Fridays, so heavy stuff could go into the car; basic needs like milk, yoghurt, onions and potatoes, packets of toilet paper and washing-up liquid, things one just needs to always have in stock. I’d buy food I wanted for the weekend, but then a lot of my shopping in the week that followed would fit my fancy – What do I want for supper tonight? – and whether I was going to be out in the evening. Gradually the large weekly shop from Waitrose has dwindled as I’ve gone into shops more and shop on, if not quite a daily basis, a much more spontaneous one. However, I haven’t gone back to doing the big weekly ‘basic shop’ myself – why would I want to load it all into a trolley, into my car, and then from the car to the house, when some nice delivery person will bring it to my door? I do like to choose my own fruit and veg, though, and I’ve come to prefer to choose my own meat and fish too, so I order less of those things with the big shop. But then, because organic salmon fillets seemed hard to find, I added a pack of two into this week’s delivery. I eat salmon about once a week and usually just grill or roast it with a simple seasoning. But today I thought I’d do something just a little extra …
I’ve been watching Gino’s Family Adventure on TV and have the accompanying book. I remember watching him cook this salmon dish. It’s very simple but just a little more special than what I normally do. As for the TV series, it’s just light-hearted fun really and I enjoy watching the family travelling round Italy and eating Italian food, some of it cooked by Gino. Gino takes each of his three kids on their own journey in separate episodes and the middle one, teenage son Rocco, gets to sit on the back of a Vespa as Gino hurtles around the streets of Naples at full, terrifying speed. Just like Italians in Naples do. Having driven in Naples myself, I know just how mad its streets are; it’s no place for an inexperienced or nervous driver. So when Rocco shouts from the back of the Vespa to his dad, ‘I know now why you’re so crazy if you grew up in this place,’ I couldn’t help laughing.
Gino’s recipe is for 4 so I adapted it a bit. He recommends marinating the salmon for just 15 minutes so it can be a fairly last-minute dish, which makes it a very useful recipe as well as delicious.
Grilled Salmon Marinated in Balsamic Vinegar, Maple Syrup & Garlic – Serves One
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- about ¼-½ garlic clove, finely grated
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 salmon fillet
- a sprig of cherry tomatoes (about 6-8 tomatoes)
- sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Put the oil, garlic, balsamic, maple syrup in a bowl and whisk together. Add the parsley and stir in.
Add the salmon fillet to the marinade and turn to cover it well all over. Leave to marinate for about 15 minutes at room temperature. Turn it once to make sure all surfaces are well covered by the marinade.
Line a grill pan with foil. Lay the salmon on it. Take the sprig of cherry tomatoes and gently dip in the marinade to cover. Put them on the grill pan with the salmon. Spoon over any remaining marinade.
Grill for 5-6 minutes under a hot grill until cooked – the salmon should still be just a little pink in the middle so it’s lovely and moist. (Gino turns him salmon halfway through but my salmon fillet wasn’t really a turning kind and I always grill mine just from the one side.)
I boiled some new potatoes (Gino’s recommended accompaniment), dressed with a little extra virgin olive oil, and also made a side salad of rocket, cucumber and thinly sliced fennel and radishes.
It all smelled gorgeous and looked very inviting. It tasted really good too. It’s quite sweet, of course, with the balsamic and maple syrup, but salmon is a robust fish that can take strong flavours. Gino suggests it’s a good recipe for the barbecue and the caramelised marinade forming almost a crust over the salmon did give it that barbecue feel, which made it feel a lot more exciting than my usual simply grilled salmon!