Crispy fish salad with green mango & cashews
For the last month or so i've been doing salads at the restaurant. It's a big step up for me and a really challenging role - partly because they're a lot of work to knock up during service, but also because whoever is doing salads runs the 'Larder' section. Larder does pretty much half of the kitchen's menu; we do all the canapés, entrées, relishes & salads, plus, at lunchtime, we also knock up the soups, pad Thai, oh and need to be able to jump on pastry and do the desserts too.
There's normally 3 of us and i have organise the team's prep during the day, make sure we're ready for service, not in the shit, or, for that matter, about to run out of any of the wide array of obscure sliced, toasted, deep fried, julienne or fermented wot nots we need each day. During service i then call the orders, do my dishes, check the other's, taste this that or the other, and generally sort of hold it together and not sink the ship.
It's challenging, and sometimes v.stressful. Especially for someone like me who was behind a desk not much more than a year ago. But I'm learning loads and basically loving it.
Anyhow, i ramble! Basically what i meant to say is: i'm now doing salads, so here's a nice salad recipe from Nahm: fish salad with green mango and cashews....
It's a dish we've had on as a special recently, using brill. It's exactly my kind of food - fresh & simple, but also interesting and bang full of flavour and texture. so thought i'd share the recipe, i'm sure the nice man David Thompson wont mind (!?).
No of ingredients might look a lot but it is a pretty simple salad by Thai standards.
Ingredients (serves two without much else or four or more as part of a Thai meal)
- Around 250g of fish on the bone (as mentioned we use brill at Nahm for it but any firm-ish rich white fleshed fish should work well, e.g john dory would be ideal, or even trout or salmon i would think, i used a hake tail cut in to thick steaks on this occasion). Whatever you buy get the fishmonger to gut, clean & scale it first.
- 100g or so of plain cashew nuts
- 4-5 sticks of lemon grass, peeled and though outer layers removed.
- 4-5 red Thai shallots, peeled
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 green (hard & unripe) mango
- small bunch coriander, with the roots
- small bunch mint
- couple of kaffir lime leaves
- juice of 3 or so limes
- 2-3 bird's eye chillies
- white sugar
- light soy
- fish sauce
- plain oil to deep fry
Peel the mango and julienne it into matchsticks (see pics - feel free to use a mandolin or something here).
Finely slice the lemongrass, slice the shallots quite thin.
Slice 2 of garlic cloves a thinly as possible, then shallow fry in plenty of oil until just golden and crisp, set aside. now fry your cashews until golden in the same oil (boiling them for 20 mins first produces a nicer result, if you can be bothered).
Pick the leaves from the mint and coriander, tear off the coriander roots, wash and set aside.
Cut your fish in to steaks (on the bone) about thumb thickness, marinate for 5-10 mins in generous amount of light soy with a pinch of white sugar, before deep frying in plenty of sizzling hot oil until dark golden brown with crisp skin. drain on to kitchen paper and allow to cool for few mins before flaking flesh off bone in to large chunks, ensure crispy skin included.
Now make the dressing: pound the last garlic clove with 3-4 cleaned coriander roots, a bird's eye chilli or 3 and a pinch of salt, in a p & m until fairly fine. add juice from about three limes, good pinch of white sugar, and season up with fish sauce. it should be hot, sour, salty and only slightly sweet.
Ok nearly there....shred your lime leaf as fine a you possibly can and assemble the salad by adding all the ingredients (except the dressing) in to a mixing bowl, saving back half the lime leaf shreds for garnish.
Now just mix, add dressing, mix again briefly and serve. garnish with reserved lime leaf.
Serve in nice bowl for people to share from & garnish with reserved lime leaf.