II choose salmon as the star of my Easter table. Maybe that’s because Easter is so late this year – a whole month into spring! – so I think something lighter than lamb just makes sense. Whatever the reason, I love serving up a whole side of fish when I’m feeding a crowd: yes, it has the “wow” factor, but it’s also so quick and easy to prepare, bake, and serve , leaving you more time for the side dishes and, more importantly, the ones you raise an Easter glass with.
Puttanesca-style baked salmon with olive and caper salsa
The bright red puttanesca-style oil makes it a spectacular centerpiece for the Easter table, while the salty, lemony salsa is the ideal sidekick for all that richness; the short cooking time is an added bonus. Crusty bread or crispy fried potatoes are nice side dishes. If you want to progress, make the scented oil the day before.
preparation 20 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
70 ml olive oil
8 anchovy fillets in oildrained and finely chopped
2½ tbsp tomato paste
1½ tsp chili flakes
2 tsp coriander seedslightly beaten in a mortar
8 cloves of garlicpeeled and cut very thin
2 pickled lemonsMeat hollowed out and discarded, rind finely chopped (60g net)
2 tsp maple syrup
1 large lemoncut into 5 mm thin rolls (130 g)
1 salmon fillet (approx. 1.2 kg), boned, skin left
salt and black pepper
200 g datterini (or cherry tomatoes).halved
For the salsa
60 g pitted Kalamata olives
60 g baby capers (or regular capers, roughly chopped)
1 pickled lemonMeat hollowed out and discarded, rind thinly sliced (30 g)
20g basil leavesroughly chopped
10g flat-leaf parsley leavesroughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
First make the oil. Heat the oil, anchovies, and tomato paste in a small skillet over medium-high heat and stir-fry for five minutes. Add the chili flakes and coriander seeds, cook another minute, until fragrant, then reduce the heat and add the garlic, preserved lemon, and maple syrup. Stir to combine, then let cool about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (Fan 180°C)/390°F/Gas mark 6 and line a 40cm x 30cm roasting tin with parchment paper. Arrange the sliced lemon on the tray. Sprinkle the salmon with 1/8 teaspoon salt and plenty of black pepper on each side, place skin-side down on the lemon wedges, then arrange the tomato halves all around.
Pour the cooled oil and its solids over the salmon and flatten the garlic slices against the fish flesh. Bake for 17 minutes (or up to 20 if you prefer simmering), then remove and let rest for five minutes.
While the salmon is baking, prepare the salsa. In a small bowl, combine olives, capers, lemon preserves, basil and parsley leaves, olive oil, and lemon juice, then add 1/8 teaspoon salt and mix again. Sprinkle half of the salsa over the salmon and serve warm or at room temperature in a bowl with the remaining salsa.
Roasted broccolini with almond tarator dip and caraway oil
Broccolini is one of my favorite side dishes, especially when it’s roasted so the leaves crisp up and it gets just the right amount of char. Only one dip is missing to complete it – in this case the tarator. If you want to go ahead, make it the day before and refrigerate, although in that case you may need to thin it with a little water before serving.
preparation 15 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
50ml olive oil
3 cloves of garlicpeeled off
600g broccolihard stem ends trimmed
1 tbsp lemon juice
For the tarator dip
1 slice of stale bread (a gluten-free one works just as well), crust cut off and discarded, and the crumb roughly torn (25g)
50 g blanched whole almondsroasted
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
¾ tsp white miso
⅛ tsp ground black pepper
salt and black pepper
For the cumin oil
1½ tsp cuminlightly beaten in a mortar
Preheat the oven to 240°C (220°C fan oven)/475°F/Gas 9. Place the oil and garlic in a small saucepan, making sure the cloves are completely submerged, then place over medium-high heat and cook gently for 10 minutes, until garlic is tenderized but not colored. Remove from the stove and let cool for 15 minutes.
For the tarator, place the bread in a medium bowl, add 125ml cold water and let soak for 10 minutes until the bread is very mushy. Place in the bowl of a food processor and add the confit garlic cloves and a tablespoon of their oil. Add almonds, sherry vinegar, miso, ground black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt, blend 10-15 minutes, scraping sides of bowl, until smooth and the consistency of thin aïoli, then pour into bowl and line with plate cover.
Place the broccolini on a large oven tray, drizzle 1 tablespoon of garlic confit oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a good amount of pepper on top, toss to coat, then sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until florets are tender slightly charred and the stems have softened. Take out and let cool.
Meanwhile, prepare the cumin oil. Place the saucepan with the remaining 30ml confit oil over medium-high heat, add the crushed cumin seeds and sauté gently for a minute or two, until fragrant. Remove from stove and set aside.
To serve, drizzle the lemon juice over the broccolini, toss and arrange on a platter. Spoon the caraway oil over it and serve with the tarator for dipping.
Crispy fried potatoes with rosemary and za’atar
These fit especially well on the Easter table, but mark them for future roasts as well. The rice flour gives the potatoes an extra crunch (fine semolina works too).
preparation 10 mins
Cook 1 hour 35 minutes
2½ kg Maris Piper potatoespeeled off
2 tablespoons table salt
3 large sprigs of rosemary
150 ml sunflower oil
2 tbsp rice flour (not the sticky kind)
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
2 tbsp za’atar
Cut the potatoes into irregular shapes about the size of half a lime (ie 4-5cm pieces) – the more edges they have, the crunchier they will be. Place them in a large saucepan, add cold water to cover, then add the table salt and one of the rosemary sprigs. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to medium-high and cook until potatoes are easily pierced with a knife, 10-15 minutes. Drain, discard the rosemary, then return the potatoes to the dry pan and steam for 15 minutes, allowing to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 240°C (220°C fan oven)/475°F/Gas 9. Place the oil in a large 30cm x 40cm roasting pan (or divide it between two medium sized pans) then place in the oven to heat on high, about 10 minutes. Add the rice flour to the potato pan and gently toss to coat the edges and fluff up slightly. Place the potatoes in the pan of hot oil, being careful not to splash, then use a spatula to spread them out so they don’t stack on top of each other. Roast for 25 minutes, then turn carefully and roast for another 25 minutes until golden and crispy.
While the potatoes are roasting, pluck the leaves from the remaining two sprigs of rosemary and chop finely. When the potatoes are done, sprinkle over the chopped rosemary, toss gently with a spatula, and roast for another 3 minutes, until fragrant. Sprinkle salt flakes and half of the za’atar over the potatoes, spread evenly and place on a platter. Scatter over the remaining za’atar and serve hot.