Watch How to Cook Well with Rory O'Connell at 8:30pm on Tuesday evenings on RTÉ One.
These little parcels are both pretty and delicious. There is something rather special about presenting each person at the table with their own little serving almost looking like a carefully wrapped and decorated gift. The combination of salmon and peppery nasturtium is great but it is also worth trying this dish using fat Dublin bay prawns instead of the salmon. In that case I cook the prawn tails in the shell first in boiling salted water and then shell them allowing three prawns per parcel.
The parcels can be assembled ahead of time and chilled for cooking later. At first glance, the technique of wrapping the salmon in leaves seems both retro and difficult. Well, wrapping bits of food in leaves before frying has gone off the radar but is still utterly worthwhile and in fact especially in this case, not difficult to do.
Finding nasturtiums may be your only difficulty here. All gardeners will know that they are the most simple of all garden plants and once established in the ground or container, they will scamper off in all directions. Once you get to know the sweet and spicy taste of both the leaves, flowers and seeds, you will be hooked and will add them to salads, vegetables, oils and so on.
If you don't have them growing yourself, there is a strong possibility that they might be in a neighbours garden or window box just waiting to be a colourful and cheering addition to your table.
- 4 large nasturtium leaves with long stalks attached
- 4 escalopes of salmon, 75g each
- Nasturtium butter see recipe
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- A little plain butter and a few drops of olive oil for frying
- 50g butter
- 2 tablespoons of very finely chopped nasturtium leaves and flowers
- 1 lemon
- black pepper
- nasturtium leaves and flowers and lemon wedges for garnish (optional)
- For the nasturtium butter, cream the butter in a bowl. Grate a little lemon zest, about ¼ teaspoon, on to the butter. Add the chopped leaves and flowers, a few twist of the black pepper mill and a few drops of lemon juice.
- Mix well and taste the tiniest bit to see if more lemon or pepper are required. Place the butter on a piece of greaseproof paper and roll into neat log, twisting the ends to secure it. It should look like a little cracker filled with a green and red flecked butter.
- Bring a medium sized saucepan of water to the boil and have a bowl of iced water ready. Hold each nasturtium leaf by the stalk and immerse into the boiling water for 2 seconds. Do not allow the leaf to drop into the water, so keep holding it by the stalk and drop into the iced water.
- Repeat this with the remaining leaves. Lift the leaves out of the iced water and lay out on a clean kitchen towel.
- Take one leaf and spread it out with stalk side down. Place a piece of salmon on the leaf and season with salt and pepper.
- Place a very thin slice of nasturtium butter on the salmon and fold the leaf over the fish to create a neat square parcel with the fish and butter completely enclosed.
- Place the parcels on a parchment paper-lined tray and refrigerate until ready to cook.
- Heat a sauté pan over a moderate heat and add a little butter and olive oil. When the butter is gently foaming, place the parcels in the pan.
- Cook on each side for 3 minutes over a moderate heat so that the leaf does not scorch.
- Place the cooked parcels on hot plates and garnish each one with another thin slice of nasturtium butter and a flower and a couple of tiny leaves. I usually also serve lemon wedges separately.