“This is one of my regular dinners when I am on my own or with a single guest. But it can easily be doubled to serve four. I’m specifying ‘fingerling’ potatoes, small waxy-fleshed potatoes of several varieties. Those I see most often are kipfler and pink fir apple potatoes that are distinctively peanut shaped, hence ‘fingerling’. Genuine very small new potatoes with wispy skins are also perfect.”
4 roma tomatoes
40 g unsalted butter
4–6 fingerling potatoes
1 bay leaf
120 g green or yellow beans, stem ends trimmed
2 x 180 g chunks salmon
1 tablespoon best-quality extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped
2 lemon wedges
Preheat the oven to 120°C (100°C fan-forced) with serving plates in it. Have the table ready as this dish takes no more than 20 minutes from start to finish.
Cut off one end from each tomato. Using a box grater resting on a plate, grate the tomatoes using the largest holes. You will end up with the skin in your hand and a fine mush of tomato on the plate. Heat the butter in a small saucepan and cook the grated tomato over low heat until it is bubbling and starts to collapse into the butter. Turn off the heat, cover and leave aside.
Select a saucepan to take the fish and the potatoes easily without too much extra space. Fill the pan with well-salted cold water and add the potatoes and the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. After 15 minutes test the potatoes with a fine skewer. If they are nearly tender, increase the heat and bring the water to a boil.
Drop in the beans and cook for 3 minutes. Add the fish and cook for 5 minutes. Test a bean. If bite-tender, proceed to the next step. If still crunchy, test again after 3 minutes.
Drain the pan carefully through a colander and immediately return the potatoes, fish and beans to the still-hot saucepan. Using a fork, lift the skin away from the salmon and discard it. Leave everything in the hot saucepan for a few minutes while you reheat the tomato.
Set out the hot plates and spoon the tomato into the centre of each one. Tip on the fish, potatoes and beans, not worrying too much about arranging them.
Break up the fish into a few pieces with a fork. It should be still pink and glassy in the centre. Drizzle the fish with the olive oil, scatter over sea salt, add a grinding of pepper, and finally sprinkle on the chopped parsley. Offer the lemon for squeezing at the table.
Words and images from Home by Stephanie Alexander. Macmillan Australia, RRP $59.99.