When Tom was a-wooin’ me; days which were happy indeed, he invited me around for supper to his flat in Camberwell and valiantly cooked a meal for me (without any of the bossy input that he would soon grow to know and love). I will never forget going into his kitchen for the first time, and looking round for clues about this person who I already knew I wanted to marry (although I was keeping that to myself for the time being). I saw 7 cherry tomatoes lined up on the counter, beside a recipe that called for… ‘7 cherry tomatoes’. As it turned out, that was one of the biggest clues I could have been offered: extreme precision and a follower of recipes – to the letter. As it happens, I couldn’t be more different on both fronts – if a recipe calls for 7 tomatoes I generally double it, because the more is the merrier, right? – so I was at first slightly alarmed to be in the presence of such a law abiding recipe follower. However, after a life time of slap-dashery, I soon began to see the sense in following recipes – at least the first time I cook something. And, more importantly, the second supper he cooked me – Sicilian salmon – was so simple, and yet so delicious, that it has become part of our family repertoire, to the point that if ever I ask Tom what we should cook for supper he will think for a moment and say….”Sicilians?”. Every time we have it, a little part of me re-lives the glory days of Camberwell. And it is this that we cooked last night.
4 fillets of salmon
drizzle or spray oil
Heat the oven to 200 degrees and put the salmon into a lightly oiled oven-proof dish. Cut the lime in half and squeeze liberally over the fillets of salmon (keep them huddled together while you are seasoning, for maximum and even coverage). Then drizzle or spray some oil – just a tiny bit, to avoid burning. Shake as many chilli flakes as you tend to care for, plus a liberal scattering of paprika, and salt and pepper. Then cook for about 10-15 minutes, until cooked – which is obviously a subjective concept. I, being an non-sophisticate, prefer it to tend towards overdone, with slightly crispy edges, so if you are that way inclined, just leave your fillet in for a bit longer than the others.
We ate it with garlicky pan-fried romano peppers chopped and pan fried. And of course the mashed beans (that are still enjoying a bit of a moment in our house). And a crispy salad. The whole thing was ready in less than half an hour.