Sunday, May 31, 2009

Couscous and Salmon

My parents and I cooked on Sunday. We do that sometimes and it's always fun, although we do seem to create quite a lot of chaos whenever we make a new dish.
We almost always make something we haven't made before and since we're running out of cookbook recipes we'd like to try, we started searching online.
I usually like Jamie Oliver's recipes and even own one of his books, so when I ran across this recipe for salmon and couscous, I thought it looked quick and easy enough to be a success. Cooking has to be fast with my family, as we all get very cranky when we're hungry.
And I must say, the dish was pretty good. There were some things I disliked, though, which mainly have to do with Oliver's way of making food.
I've noticed before that in trying to make a dish simple, Jamie Oliver oftentimes actually makes it way more complicated than it needs to be. This recipe is one of those cases. It calls for putting the salmon in a pan, then adding the vegetables on top of the fish, then flipping the salmon after a few minutes.
Um...have you ever tried flipping a fish covered in veggies? Especially if it's a fish as tender as salmon and the vegetables are heavy ones like zucchini? Yeah, sufficent to say it didn't work well. The salmon was positively falling apart. And since it still had its skin, I ended up with pieces of flabby salmon skin. I like salmon skin when it's fried and crispy. This? Was disgusting. I ended up picking the pieces of skin out of the dish before serving it. Next time, I'd just use two pans and safe myself the trouble, because there's really no reason to make it all in one pan.
If you really think about it, there's really no reason to leave the skin on the fish,either, since you fry it lying on the side. The skin never even touches the pan. You could argue that it makes the fish more "natural" looking, which was probably what Oliver was going for, but that just proves my point. Leaving the skin on is impractical and if I made this again, I would use skinned salmon.
Thirdly, the recipe supposedly serves one. We were three, but my mom doesn't eat huge portions, so I only doubled the recipe. Then I cut back the amount of couscous to 200 g to achieve a better veggie-carb-ratio.
I ended up with a big bowl full of leftovers.
In spite of all this criticism, I have to say that the dish was good. It was filling and satisfying, savoury and just overall a success. It's something that could easily be thrown together on a week night.
Sorry, no pictures. As I said, I took home a big bowl of leftovers, but before I got a chance to take a picture, the boyfriend had eaten every last bit of it. I'll take better care in the future.
If you'd like to see a picture, though, head on over to Jamie Oliver's site, his looks prettier than mine anyways.

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