a summery pilaf


spinach and mackerel pilaf is a much-loved and often-cooked favourite of mine. i love having it for lunch when i’m at work and there have been many weeks where it’ll be my daily lunch.

as a result, and perhaps inevitably, nearly two years on from creating this dish i need a change. this isn’t because it’s not delicious, and if you haven’t tried my spinach and mackerel pilaf you really should, it’s just a need for something new. frankly it’s amazing that my notoriously fickle tastes didn’t rebel sooner.

thankfully i have found a replacement which is just as delicious and packed-lunch friendly. this time salmon and courgettes are the stars – perfect for summer as we approach the annual courgette glut!

salmon and courgette pilaf (serves 2-3)

250g salmon

5g butter

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

250g basmati rice

500ml vegetable stock (i make this with bouillon powder and use the water i poached the salmon in)

zest and juice of 1 lemon

150-200g courgettes, grated

1 handful chopped parsley

salt & pepper

poach the salmon in a little water (just enough to cover the fish) to which you have added a bay leaf and a few peppercorns. when the salmon is just cooked remove it from the water, leave to cool and flake into small pieces, removing any bones and skin. pour the poaching water through a fine sieve and use this to make your stock.

heat the butter and oil over a medium heat, until the butter melts. add the rice and stir so it looks glossy. add the stock, lemon juice and zest. bring to the boil then put a lid on the pan, turn the heat to low and leave to cook until all the liquid is absorbed (10-15 minutes).

in the meantime, put your grated courgette onto a clean tea towel and then wring out the excess water – you’ll be surprised how much is released!

when the rice is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and add the grated courgette and put the lid back on the pan so that the courgette cooks a little with the heat of the rice*. after c5 minutes you can then stir add the poached salmon and parsley. season to taste.

* if you prefer, you could briefly fry the grated courgette in some butter rather than add it raw.