Salmon Wraps at the Taste of Cavan

I am really looking forward to tomorrow (Friday) and the start of a ‘Taste of Cavan’. This is my 3rd year at the festival and it just keeps getting bigger and better. For the first time it is being held in the Cavan Equestrian Centre with admission five euro and under 12’s free. There is a link to the festival webpage further down the blog.

LIGHT AND LOVELY... Salmon and Asparagus Wraps with Basil Pesto

LIGHT AND LOVELY… Salmon and Asparagus Wraps with Basil Pesto

A big thanks to all the organisers and to Cavan County Council and Majella for inviting me along. Obviously with this being my home county there is something a little bit special about it and I am very proud to be associated with it.

It really is a great celebration of all that is good about Irish cooking. There are great chefs, great artisan food and wonderful producers. It is fast becoming one of the top food festivals in the country.

I will be there on the opening day, Friday, and doing two demonstrations, one at 1pm and the second at 5pm. And on Saturday I am back again for another demonstration at 2pm. I need to thank Flogas and my brother Kenneth for all the setting up of my Demo’s. He really is the best and so professional and that is not just brotherly love talking there!

There are so many great chefs on programme over the course of the two days so you really should check out the website page and download the brochure.

There are  activities for all the family and I would stress that this is a brilliant festival for all the family and there is definitely something for everyone.

So I hope you come along if you get the chance and I can promise you a fabulous time at a ‘Taste for Cavan’.

And now for a little recipe. I will be preparing this dish at my demos and it is a lovely light main course that is sure to keep all you fish lovers happy.

Salmon and Asparagus Wraps with Basil Pesto

Serves 4

12 asparagus spears, trimmed

4 x 175g (6oz) skinless organic salmon fillets pin boned

4 fresh dill sprigs

4 slices Parma ham

juice of ½ lemon

1 tbsp olive oil

25g (1oz) butter

lightly dressed mixed salad, to serve

lemon wedges, to garnish

Rocket pesto:

25g (1oz) pine nuts

50g (2oz) basil leaves

25g (1oz) freshly grated Parmesan

100ml (3 ½fl oz) rapeseed oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5).

To make the basil pesto, place the pine nuts in a baking tin and roast for a few minutes, until golden brown, keeping a close eye on them to make sure they don’t burn. Leave to cool. Place the basil in a food processor with the toasted pine nuts, Parmesan and oil. Season with salt and pepper and blitz to a smooth purée. Place in a small bowl, cover with clingfilm and chill until ready to use (this can be made up to 4 days in advance).

Blanch the asparagus spears in a pan of boiling salted water for 1 minute. Drain and quickly refresh under cold running water, then tip into a bowl of ice-cold water to cool completely.

Drain well and pat dry on kitchen paper.

Season each salmon fillet with pepper and arrange 3 asparagus spears, trimming them down as necessary, and a dill sprig on top of each fillet. Lightly wrap a slice of Parma ham around each bundle and place in a shallow non-metallic dish, then add a squeeze of lemon juice.

Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the butter. Once it stops foaming, add the salmon wraps presentation-side down and cook for 4–5 minutes all over to seal. Transfer to the oven and roast for another 8 minutes, until the salmon wraps are cooked through.

To serve, arrange the salmon wraps on warmed serving plates and spoon some of the basil pesto to one side. Add some mixed salad to each plate and place the rest of the basil pesto on the table. Have a separate dish of baby potatoes and lemon wedges.

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