For this month’s Random Recipes challenge, Dom is giving us freer reign than usual with the theme “store cupboard finds” – we have to dig out a forgotten ingredient that has been languishing at the back of our cupboards and then pick any recipe we want that requires that ingredient. What a great idea! So I turned to my cupboard to see what I could dig out. Since I moved country in February, my cupboards aren’t (yet) home to ingredients with hazy back stories and dubious origins. I do, however, have a little canister of juniper berries that I bought a couple of months ago for some recipe that I tried out but didn’t really enjoy. Juniper berries aren’t something that I
ever normally use, so the canister hasn’t been touched since. Time to rectify that…
Well, first I had to find a recipe. My cookbooks only had a few offerings, and they were all rather unrealistic, such as roast goose. I do enjoy goose, but not enough to willingly eat it every day for a month which, since I live on my own and have a tiny freezer, is what would probably end up happening. So no roast goose, but no other alternatives in my cookbooks. Luckily the internet exists. After poking around on the BBC Good Food site, I came across a salmon recipe that called for juniper berries. Which was perfect, because I had some salmon living in my freezer, so that cleared up a bit of space. Double success!
I wasn’t too keen on the salad suggested in the original recipe so I went for orange couscous, but I’d suggest serving a simple green salad on the side, otherwise vegetables (salad is totally a vegetable – you know what I mean) are a little non-existent. I loved the flavour of the juniper berries with the salmon. I never would have thought to pair the two together, and I think I’ll be experimenting with that combination again. I still have some juniper berries left after all. I also love that they made my flat smell faintly of gin. Uhm. That sounded better in my head…
Juniper berry salmon with orange couscous
Salmon barely adapted from BBC Good Food
If you are using frozen salmon, do make sure that it has thawed thoroughly in the fridge before cooking it. If you don’t have a peppercorn mix, don’t necessarily go out and by some just for this recipe, you can just use black peppercorns. Since there aren’t any vegetables in this, serving a green salad on the side is a great idea.
For the salmon:
1 tbsp dried juniper berries
1 tsp mixed peppercorns (a black, white, green & pink peppercorn mix)
2 salmon fillets (mine were about 500g together, which I found pretty filling)
About 1 tsp olive oil
For the couscous:
100g couscous (I used wholewheat)
Drizzle of organic rapeseed oil (canola oil)
Small knob of butter
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Parsley, to serve
1. Line a roasting tin with tin foil. Heat the grill to medium.
2. Roughly crush the juniper berries and peppercorns with a mortar and pestle (if, like me, you don’t have a mortar and pestle, pop them in a zip-lock bag and roughly crush with a rolling pin). Place the salmon in the roasting tin and rub with the olive oil and sprinkle the crushed juniper berry and peppercorn mix over the top. Grill for about 8 mins (the original recipe said 6-7 mins, but I found this wasn’t long enough. However, this may be more due to my oven than anything else. Basically, keep an eye on it.), checking that the juniper berries and peppercorns don’t burn.
3. Whilst the salmon is cooking, prepare the couscous. Either bring 125ml of water to the boil in a saucepan with the drizzle of oil, then remove from the heat, add the couscous and cover, allowing the couscous to absorb all the water (about 5 mins). Or add the couscous to a heatproof bowl, add the drizzle of oil and stir through the couscous and add 125ml of boiling water, cover, and allow the couscous to absorb all the water (about 5 mins). Once the couscous is ready, add the knob of butter, stir through until melted and stir in the orange zest and some freshly ground black pepper. Keep covered until the salmon is ready.
4. Immediately serve the salmon accompanied by the couscous topped with freshly chopped parsley, with a green salad on the side.