For my husband’s birthday this year we revisited one of our favourite restaurants, Mr Cooper’s House and Garden in Manchester. The husband turns a year older on the 28th January. It’s a TERRIBLE date to have a birthday. The lull between Christmas and New Year is possibly the only time of year that I don’t want to eat out, but each year I plaster on a happy face and pretend that I can’t wait to EAT MORE FOOD.
This year however we got lucky. Rolling up to Mr Cooper’s without a reservation we were happy to find that everyone else was currently in the same state of mind over EATING MORE FOOD, and we managed to bag a table. Not wanting anything overly heavy I went for the chipotle polenta, with hot smoked salmon, leeks and parsley coulis which was possibly the best dish I’ve had at Mr Cooper’s, and that my friends is saying something. Better it was wonderfully light and after all the decadence of the past few days was actually one of my favourite meals of 2013.
If you’d like to find out more about how wonderful Mr Cooper’s is you can read a full review of my first visit by the lovely Mrs Petticoat here.
Last night’s simple supper was my nod to this wonderful dish.
2 fillets smoked salmon
3 large(ish) sweet potatoes
1 red chilli
1 cup of finely chopped shallots
Some chopped pancetta (optional)
A dash of white wine (optional)
A little olive oil
A teaspoon paprika
Chipotle tabasco (or you can make your own using this recipe by Hungry, Healthy, Happy)
A handful chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 200/180 fan. Cut leek into long, thin strips. Rinse the strips and pat dry. Toss in a medium bowl with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with paprika. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake until the leeks are crispy and golden brown (about 10 mins). I forgot mine and burned most of them. Oops. The ones that were edible were delicious though!
Peel and cut the sweet potato into chunks and boil for about 15 mins.
Rub the salmon in a little oil and salt. In a griddle pan add a little more oil. Once hot add the salmon skin side down for about 5 mins. Turn and cook on the other side for about 4 mins (this time will depend on the thickness of your fillets but the colour will tell you when done).
Meanwhile fry the shallot in a little oil for about 2 mins. Add the chilli and fry for another minute. Add a dash of white wine and leave to simmer off. Add the pancetta and continue to fry over a med temp for another 2 mins or so.
Drain and mash the sweet potato.
On a plate add a couple of drops of Chipotle Tabasco and top with the mash. Add the shallot/chilli/pancetta mix and then top with with Salmon. Add another few drops of the tabasco (depending on how hot you want it) and then finish with the crispy leeks and a little chopped parsley.
I’d bought the main ingredients for this dish with an idea of what I was going to do with them, but was knackered when I made the dish so failed to plan what I was doing and instead made it up as I went along. The pancetta and wine were never intended to be part of the dish. Luckily however it all just worked and I loved it. I also threw in a bit of chopped avocado which wasn’t necessary so I’ve left out of the recipe (although I may revisit this by making it into a little guacamole next time).
All in all I loved this one and will definitely be making it again.