Healthy dinner ideas

Article Louise Pyne Oct 9, 2015

Cook up a healthy feast using fresh ocean bounty and bold, tasty flavours!

Thai fish cakes

Makes 16 fish cakes

500g fresh salmon, deboned, skinned (or canned salmon)
1tbsp kecap manis
2tbsp coriander leaves
1tbsp palm sugar, grated (or brown sugar)
1 egg
1tsp salt
2 kaffir lime leaves
Zest and juice of 1 lime
2 spring onions, finely chopped
150ml sunflower oil

Red curry paste
1 red chilli
1 lemongrass stalk, finely sliced (white part only)
2 shallots
1tbsp ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic

Make the red curry paste by blending all the ingredients, or pounding in a mortar and pestle to make one large tablespoon.
Cut the salmon into chunks and mix with the kecap manis, coriander, palm sugar, egg, salt, kaffir lime leaves, red curry paste, lime juice and zest. Use a food processor or potato masher to blend ingredients until well combined – chunky but not pureed. Stir through the spring onions. Divide into 16 portions and roll and flatten into patties.
Heat the oil in a frying pan to a medium heat. Fry the patties in batches for about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper.

Top tip No time to make your own curry paste? Pick up a bottle from the supermarket or make it ahead of time and freeze it

Smoked salmon rilettes

Serves 6-8
300g piece of salmon fillet, skinned and boned
2 sourdough baguettes
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
200g smoked salmon, chopped
2tbsp baby capers, finely chopped
1 eschalot, finely chopped
Zest of 2 lemons
1/2 bunch dill, finely chopped
1/2 bunch chives, finely chopped
200ml creme fraiche
Cornichons (small pickled cucumbers) and lemon cheeks, to serve
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

Place fresh salmon in a heavy-based saucepan. Pour 1L boiling water over fish and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Stand for 30 minutes to gently poach.
Meanwhile, heat a chargrill pan or barbecue to medium-high heat. Brush bread with oil and chargrill for 2 minutes on each side or until lightly charred. Set aside.
Remove cooked salmon from water and pat dry. Remove and discard skin. Flake flesh into a large bowl and cool completely. Add smoked salmon, capers, eschalot, lemon zest, herbs and creme fraiche. Stir until just combined. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve rilettes with bread, cornichons and lemon cheeks.

Barbecued prawn skewers and salsa verde

Makes 6 skewers

24 large green prawns, peeled, deveined and with tails on
6 pre-soaked bamboo skewers
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon wedges, to serve

Salsa verde
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup mint leaves
2tbsp baby capers
5 anchovy fillets
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Juice of 2 lemons
Salt and pepper to taste

Thread the prawns onto the skewers, through one side of the tail, out the other and then through the body of the prawn.
Repeat until 3-4 prawns have been threaded onto each skewer. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
On a hot barbecue or chargrill pan, grill the prawns for around 90 seconds each side or until the prawns change colour and are just cooked through.
To make the salsa verde, finely chop all the herbs, capers and anchovy fillets and place in a bowl. Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon the salsa verde over the prawns and serve with lemon wedges.

Confit salmon with sweet soya dressing

Serves 4

1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
6cm piece of ginger, peeled and julienned
500ml extra virgin olive oil
4 x 80g pieces salmon, skinned and boned
2tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1 small baby fennel shaved, plus the fronds

Sweet soya dressing
1/2 cup kecap manis
2tbsp soya sauce
Juice of 2 limes
1 clove garlic, minced
2 kaffir lime leaves, julienned
2tbsp whole coriander leaves, plus extra to garnish
1 red chilli, sliced

Pickle the ginger by bringing the sugar and white vinegar to the boil. Once the sugar is dissolved, pour over the ginger and set aside to cool.
Heat the olive oil to 46˚C in a pan. Use a cooking thermometer, as the temperature is crucial. Place the salmon in the oil in the pan so it is totally submerged. Keep the salmon in the oil at this temperature for 15 minutes. Remove the salmon from the oil and gently pat dry and roll in toasted sesame seeds.
For the dressing, pour the kecap manis, soya sauce, lime juice, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, coriander and chilli into a bowl and mix until well combined.
To serve, spoon some of the dressing into a shallow bowl and place the salmon in the middle. Scatter around some shaved fennel, and the fronds, with the coriander leaves and ginger.

Top tip You may have some pickled ginger left over to use in another recipe. It’s great with sushi and other Asian dishes

Roast Sweet Potato Salad with Chorizo, Red Onion and Goat’s Cheese

Serves 4 as a side salad

1 clove garlic, finely sliced
2 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large sweet potato
1 chorizo sausage
Juice of 3 lemons
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
60g creamy goat’s cheese

Preheat oven to 180°C. In a small baking dish, place the garlic clove, onion wedges with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place in the oven for 20 minutes or until softened.
Peel the sweet potato and slice lengthwise into 11/2cm pieces. Cut into strips diagonally, approximately 5cm in length. Line a separate small baking dish with the strips of the sweet potato. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Cut the chorizo sausage into 5mm slices and place in a cold frying pan, with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Heat slowly until heat reaches medium, and fry for 5 minutes until the sausage is golden brown. Turn off the heat and allow the sausage to sit in the oil and infuse for 10 minutes.
Remove the chorizo from the frying pan, strain and keep the oil to one side. Mix the reserved oil with the lemon juice and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Heat a frying pan to medium and pan roast the pumpkin seeds until light brown for about 3 minutes, shaking the pan during frying. Break the goat’s cheese into chunks. Remove the sweet potato and onions from the oven.
To serve, pile the sweet potato in the bottom of a dish, add the onions and sausage, sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and the goat’s cheese. Drizzle salad with the strained oil.

Top tip This side dish is delicious with the smoky flavours of barbecued fish, and it makes a healthy, low-GI alternative to potato salad