One of the overriding food memories of our trip to Belize and Mexico last year was the incredible array of fish and shellfish that we devoured at every opportunity. We stayed near the coast for the majority of the holiday, where we happily indulged in a fish-eating frenzy of lobster, snapper, barracuda, conch, shrimp and octopus.
My boyfriend and I recently returning from a stomach bulging trip to New York where we feasted on enormous pastrami and gherkin sandwiches, soft bagels crammed full of salt-cured smoked salmon and cream cheese and flavoursome burgers served in rich brioche buns with finger-licking fries.
New York surpassed all expectations and I loved its energy, dramatic architecture and exploring the contrasting different neighbourhoods. And the food! The standard and variety was just incredible: Italian, Korean, Mexican and American were just some of the cuisines that we dipped into and we were continually striving to work up an appetite for the next exciting meal. I’m still heartbroken I didn’t have any room for a hearty slice of classic New York cheesecake, which was on my must-eat agenda – I tried, really tried –but I just had no room despite walking till our feet throbbed and our muscles ached. Even though we ate like kings and food was fantastic, I have returned seeking some healthy, light food. It wasn’t all burgers and pastrami sandwiches, though, and this recipe is inspired by a melon and prawn salad I ate on a hot day in a café in pristine Old Greenwich, Connecticut.
What I love about summer is eating salads such as this. Vibrant in colour, utterly delicious, and healthy too – so it ticks all the boxes for me. If you can get your hands on some Loch Duart hot smoked salmon then I heartily recommend it. They have some oak roasted salmon that is utterly amazing and is so moist and full of flavour that it had my boyfriend and I uttering lots of “mmm’s” in appreciation. You can buy it online but there’s a list of shops stocking it on their website, too.
Orzo is a pretty rice shaped pasta which is also great substitute for risotto rice. I did a lovely broad bean, red pepper and fennel risotto with it recently. It works really well in salads, as shown in this recipe, but also in stuffed roast peppers and stews too – so it’s a versatile ingredient worth having in the store cupboard. This salad is really quick to put together so it’s perfect for a quick mid-week meal on a sunny summer’s evening.
1 pack hot smoked salmon, broken into large flakes
Half head of broccoli, cut into small florets
100g fresh or frozen broad beans, podded
100g oven-dried or sun blush tomatoes
150g cherry tomatoes, halved
Half yellow pepper, small dice
3 tbsp olive oil
Half tsp runny honey or caster sugar
1 tsp cyder or white vine vinegar
3 sprigs of tarragon, chopped
Large handful of basil, chopped
Good squeeze of lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Serves 2 (generously!)
20 minutes prep, 15 mins cooking
- Cook the orzo pasta in salted simmering water for 8 minutes until al a dente. Test to see and then drain and rinse under cold water and set aside.
- Repeat with the broccoli but simmer for 4 minutes and then again with the broad beans for 3 minutes. Slip the beans out of their skins and set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk all the dressing ingredients together, reserving some of the herbs to garnish and then add the rest of the ingredients. Combine gently ensuring you don’t break the salmon up too much.
- Serve on a large platter dish and garnish with the remaining herbs.