Cold salmon cassoulet-like winter in July

An amalgamation of Iberican colours and flavours
Cassoulet is one of my very favourite dishes, but I usually only cook and eat it during the colder months, as it is traditional comfort food. However, it contains some fabulous ingredients that with a bit of meddling can provide a stunning dish for outdoor eating in a warmer clime, in this case the sunny Algarve.What is whole and hearty for winter can become garden party "arty" for summer.
 The classic cassoulet should contain haricot beans,garlic sausage, lardons, duck confit,thyme and breadcrumbs.The “correct authentic” recipe is always hotly debated.In different parts of South West France where the dish originated, they all have their own regional recipe.So despite the summer heat, and in defiance of possible French judgement of the merits of my recreation, I decided to “deconstruct” the recipe and then “reconstruct” it into a fabulous summer dish.
I took most of the principal elements of a classic cassoulet and reinvented it.Not everybody will be delighted to hear that I substituted poached salmon for the pork.Haricot beans kept my recipe true to the original but I embellished it with two more bean varieties - feijao verde( Portuguese green beans or runner beans), and fava beans. I incorporated a smidgen of Spain by adding some Pequillo peppers and rounded it all off with a fresh dressing that brought an Iberican unity to the dish.Plated up on our Moroccan mosaic garden table on a barmy early summers evening a simple twist of tastes became life altering despite the simplicity.

Cold Salmon Cassoulet

serves 4

4 x 175g salmon
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 teaspoon of Wynad peppercorns


3 cups haricot beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup borlotti or pink beans
250g broad beans
250g french beans or runner beans
6 small pequillo peppers julienned
Fresh oregano , basil, parsley and thyme

FOR THE DRESSING - mix together

3 vine ripened tomatoes skinned deseeded and finely chopped
3 Anchovies finely chopped
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice ( approx. 2 limes)
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped


Place the salt, peppercorns and bay leaves in a large deep frying pan with 5 cups (40 fl oz ) of water and bring to the boil. Cook for 5 minutes then remove from the heat. Add the salmon, cover and leave for 15 minutes. Remove the fish from the stock, carefully skin and break into strips or large chunks. Toss all the salad ingredients together in half the dressing. Plate up the salmon on a bed of the salad with the rest of the dressing poured over the top and a sprinkling of fresh thyme.


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