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This is one dish I am proud of. I mean, really proud of. Considering its me we are talking about, I usually feel proud of every single dish that I manage to cook, simply because I got off my lazy bum and cooked something. But if I were to disregard these rock bottom expectations that I have from myself, and actually start feeling proud only for real achievements, then this dish is at the top of the short list. Why, you ask? Because it is my creation, that’s why. That’s right, you heard me. No kidding, better believe it all you disbelievers.

I’ll tell you how it came about. I read somewhere about one-dish meals – where the one dish contains everything that a meal should, and as you will have guessed by now, the idea totally caught my attention. So I got to thinking, and while I was thinking, I was busy eating other stuff, following other people’s recipes and just generally waiting for that one glorious month in India when other people will feed me willingly. But I digress. I came across a couscous dish when we went out to dinner once, and because I like to know what I am eating, I looked it up. It turned out, that it is a form of Semolina, our good ol’ Indian Rava. This information sounded a *tinnnnggg* in my brain and the dormant chef in me came alive. What if I were to lay a bed of semolina, a blanket of vegetables on it, top it with fish marinated in white wine and bake it… hmmm…

The first attempt was ok, but not quite. I had used raw onions in the vegetables and found their taste too strong for my liking. The semolina had turned into a soggy mass. Displaying uncharacteristic persistence, I took another shot at the recipe with some tweaks – I sauteed the onions and garlic, toasted the semolina and used a little less water to soak it. It was a huge improvement over the first time, and Tanmoy was all for posting it on the blog as it was. But I had a feeling it could get better, and boy, was I right!

In the third iteration of my experiment (Engineering jargon will show through at times however much I deny it), I used orange juice for the semolina instead of water and added a generous sprinkling of pepper to the fish-marinade. The burst of flavour that came with the marriage of salmon, bell peppers and orange juice was simply phenomenal. And the proverbial cherry on the cake was that this creation of mine was proclaimed as the ‘perfect slimming diet’ by my cousin Seema Pathak, who is a nutritionist and who, by the way, has graciously agreed to help me with analysing the nutritional value of the recipes I post.

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Prep time : 30 minutes
Baking time : 20-25 minutes
Serves : 2

WHAT YOU NEED :

2 Salmon fillets
1/2 cup Semolina / Rava
1/2 each of Red, Yellow and Orange Bell Peppers, julienned
1/2 cup French Beans, sliced
1/2 small Onion, sliced
1-2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 cup Orange Juice
1/2 cup White Wine, dry
1 large Lemon, cut into 6 round slices
Salt, cracked pepper, red chilli flakes, mixed dried Italian seasoning to taste

WHAT YOU DO :

  1. Wash the salmon fillets, thaw if using frozen, and marinate in the wine, seasoning with a bit of pepper and salt. Add only enough seasoning for the salmon. Let sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat a thick bottomed pan, and toast the semolina until it acquires a golden hue and you can smell the aroma. Remove from heat and transfer to a baking dish. Let it cool for a few minutes, then add 1/2 tsp salt and the orange juice. Mix well, spread evenly and let stand.
  3. Preheat oven to 400° F. Place rack in lower third of the oven.
  4. Heat 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a pan and saute onions and garlic until partially cooked.
  5. In a medium sized bowl, mix the julienned bell peppers, green beans and sauteed onion and garlic mixture. Add remaining olive oil, Italian seasoning, red chilli flakes and salt to taste and mix well. Spread over the semolina bed.
  6. Place the two salmon fillets side by side over the vegetables. Pour the residual wine into the baking dish, and place 3 overlapping lemon slices on each fillet.
  7. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes until salmon is done.

MY NOTES :

Toasting the semolina ensures that it does not turn into a solid soggy mass.

I prefer to saute the onions and garlic for a few minutes to get rid of the raw taste. The baking time is not sufficient to completely roast the onion, but if you so prefer, the onions can be added directly to the other vegetables.

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