Macadamia Herb-Crusted Salmon with Ratatouille

During our time in Inverness, we dined in a fantastic little restaurant in the town centre. I had some delicious wild boar sausages on mash with roast vegetables, while Lydia, sitting opposite me, ordered a scrumptious looking herb-crusted salmon served with ratatouille. I was very jealous of her meal, so of course I decided to recreate it at home. I never tried hers so I don’t know if they even taste alike, but they look close enough! I have always wanted to make ratatouille, ever since watching the kids movie with same name – I am very suggestible, I know this. I read somewhere that you can remove the bitterness from the eggplant and courgette by sprinkling them with salt and pressing down with a weight for an hour or so. I wasn’t aware they were that bitter, but since Alex isn’t a huge fan of eggplant, I thought I would give it a go in the hopes that it might make it more appealing to him. I don’t think he noticed..

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Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion
1 medium eggplant
1 medium courgette
1 red pepper
1 can tomatoes
1 tsp dried basil

Optional – a shot of brandy, 1-2 bay leaves

2 fillets of salmon
10-20 macadamia nuts
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp thyme
Salt and Pepper

Directions

Give the eggplants and courgettes a rinse, then chop into pieces about the size of a dice. Place into a colander, sprinkle with salt, and press down with a plate. Place something heavy on the plate – and make sure the colander is in the sink or on another place because some liquid will come out of the vegetables. Leave for an hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. To start cooking the ratatouille, roughly chop the onion and garlic. De-seed the pepper and chop into equal sized pieces. Gently fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil in a saucepan until soft and translucent – about 8 minutes. Add the pepper and dried basil and fry for a another 5 minutes. Dry off the pieces of eggplant and courgette, and add to the pot along with the can of the tomatoes. If you are using them, add the brandy and bay leaves now. Cover with a lid and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. While this is cooking, start preparing your salmon (see below). After 30 minutes, taste the vegetables, and add more seasoning to your liking. Stir, and keep on low heat for another 15 minutes.

To prepare the salmon: crush the macadamia nuts to make a small crumb. I used a knife-edge to do this, but if you have a pestle and mortar, then lucky you! Mix the nuts with the herbs and olive oil and season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Rub this mixture on top of the salmon, ensuring it is covered. Place the fillets of salmon onto a baking tray, then into the oven for 15 – 20 minutes.

To serve, place the salmon fillet to the side of your plate, and spoon the ratatouille next to it. Garnish with a slice of lemon and enjoy!

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