Friday, 8 January 2016

Mediterranean Moment

I have said many times there is no better feeling in the world or more idyllic than after a summer days sailing on the blue Mediterranean and you are at anchor, your skin is warm from the days hot sunshine and your lips are dry from the effects of the salty breeze, you and the crew are ready and in need of liquid and foody refreshment. Time for relaxation, good company and your evening meal.

This recipe can be easily put together on board in no time at all with minimum effort, all you need is organisation and timing. Organisation being ready and prepared with the ingredients and timing being as the hot sun is setting over the Mediterranean and you open a cool bottle of vino blanco!

I really am becoming a big fan of the hot smoked salmon which is becoming readily available in modern Spanish supermarkets, it is one of those perfect ingredients for the sailor chef as all the hard work has been done for you and all you have to do is simply add it to your choosen dish at the later stages.

Another addition to my culinary cupboard recently has been samphire, a native of the Mediterranean which grows on sea coasts and cliffs. This underrated green spindly delight which tastes of sea breeze and salt is a perfect partner to oily fish such as salmon, it gets even better as samphire can be classed as a super food being naturally rich in minerals and trace elements.

So, here we go, charge your glass and lets get cooking for the hungry crew.

For this recipe I prefer a spirali type pasta which holds the ingredients together well and ensures a consistent spoon of deliciousness every time.
Get the the pasta on a gentle boil and you can then concentrate on bringing the other ingredients together, put a decent splurge of olive oil in a sauté pan over a low heat and add a couple of finely sliced garlic cloves and a sliced red chilli, the idea being not to fry these but to flavour the oil. If you want to be cheeky a nice addition at this stage is some chorizo pieces!! After a couple of minutes add to the pan a couple of handfuls of halved cherry tomatoes, the zest of a Spanish lemon and a small handful of capers and continue to gently heat through, the flavours of the Mediterranean are now coming together nicely. Have a taste, and by now you should be on the second glass of vino blanco, so whilst you are re-charging the glasses add one to the pan turn up the heat and reduce for a couple of minutes, remember to keep tasting, now is the time for seasoning ie sea salt and black pepper, check and check again until you are happy with the flavour then reduce the heat to a minimum.
You will be about 8 minutes into the event by now and the pasta should be about ready, at this stage you should add the samphire to the pasta pan and cook only for a minute or two, remove the samphire then drain the pasta reserving some of the starchy water as you may need to add liquid to the sauce.
Thats it, the cooking time complete, turn off the heat and add the drained pasta to the pan and give a good mix up to coat the pasta in the deliciousness of the sauce, if you feel the need you can add some of the reserved pasta water at this stage, you can then roughly break up the hot smoked salmon into the pasta taking care not to break it up too much as you turn it in with a spoon.
Phew, almost ready, whilst the flavours of the Mediterranean amalgamate in the pan have minute or two with another well deserved glass of Spain`s finest, take in your surroundings, the warm air, the vivid colours, the aromas and of course the company.
Time to plate up and treat the crew to a true taste of Spain, serve in bowls and place the amazing samphire on top, drizzle with more olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.

This is a dish full of the flavours of Spain and the sea, add to this cooking on board at anchor and this gives a complete new dimension, a truly memorable Mediterranean moment.  

Enjoy your evening.

Disfruta de la Vida.   

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