Once you’ve made this sweet chilli sauce, you will never go back to the artificially sugary bottled stuff! It makes a great dipping sauce, or marinade as it is used in this recipe. It goes perfectly with oily salmon, and the simple, healthy accompaniments of roasted fennel and courgetti with deconstructed (read lazy) pesto finish off this summary dish perfectly.
Note, the sauce keeps well in the fridge so is suitable to make in advance. Make a double batch so it will do more than one meal!
2 salmon fillets
Half a bulb of fennel
Handful of unsalted peanuts
A few basil leaves
Olive or nut oil
Sweet chilli sauce
50g (approx ¼) red onion
1 clove of garlic
1 tblsp brown rice syrup or soft brown sugar
1 tblsp cider vinegar
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes or finely chopped fresh chilli
1 tblsp corn flour mixed with 2tblsp water
Preheat the oven to 180C.
To make the sweet chilli sauce (can be made in advance and you’ll probably have some left over): Chop the onion very finely then shallow fry over a low heat in a little sesame or vegetable oil with a generous pinch of salt until really caramelised. They should go translucent then sticky and a little brown, although be careful not to burn them. Add the garlic just as they show the first signs of browning and fry for a couple more minutes, then take off the heat.
In a separate small saucepan, over a low heat, mix the syrup/sugar and vinegar until the sugar dissolves, then add the paprika and chilli. Mix together the cornflour and water then slowly add to the hot mix, stirring continuously as it thickens. Remove from the heat as soon as it has thickened, mix in the onions and leave aside until needed. The sauce will last days in a sealed container in the fridge.
Rub a generous amount of sweet chilli sauce over the two salmon fillets then wrap loosely in foil and place on a baking tray. Chop the half fennel bulb into two and place on another baking tray, drizzled with olive oil and a good pinch of sea salt. Bake the salmon and fennel together for about 20 minutes (cooking time will depend on the thickness of your salmon fillets and how well you like them cooked).
While they are baking, spiralise the courgette. Pop the peanuts in the oven for 2-3 minutes so they start to cook. Be careful not to burn them – it doesn’t take long!
When the salmon is nearly done, steam the courgetti for a few minutes, then toss together with the peanuts, basil leaves (roughly chopped/ torn) and a generous drizzle of olive or nut oil.
Serve the salmon and roasted fennel on the courgetti bed.