We love Nigella and Nigella loves avocados!
With the launch of her latest cookbook, Simply Nigella, comes many new and exciting recipes. We had the chance to chat with Nigella when she was in Vancouver on her book tour and you’ll hear snippets of the interview soon!
In the meantime our post on Avocados from Mexico, celebrates this great new cookbook (perfect for holiday gift giving too) with three of our favourite recipes from the book, a rice bowl, salmon salad and lettuce wraps! Be sure to get those avocados with the Avocados from Mexico sticker!
Shrimp and avocado lettuce wraps
I’ve taken what are essentially the shrimp and avocado tacos I’ve eaten whenever on the West Coast, and replaced the tortillas with lettuce leaves and subdued the traditional pico de gallo (the classic Mexican salsa of tomatoes, onion, jalapeños, and cilantro) by substituting the raw yellow onion with a modest amount of chopped scallion. Still, it’s plenty fiery enough; it’s just that I don’t like raw onion much. If you do, bung it in.
I love the softness of the lettuce wraps, but nothing’s to stop you reverting to tortilla mode. Alas, the shrimp I get here come frozen not fresh, but I simply take out what I need from the freezer in the morning and leave to thaw in the refrigerator during the day, which means I have the speediest supper when needed urgently, as I find it so often is, come the evening.
I like the scorch I get from using a cast iron skillet, but if you’re using a heavy-based frying pan, put it over a slightly lower heat with the oil already in the pan.
1 teaspoon cold-pressed coconut oil or regular olive oil
8 raw shell-off jumbo shrimp, thawed if frozen
zest and juice of 1 lemon preferably unwaxed
2 ripe tomatoes (3-4 ounces total)
1 fresh jalapeno pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro saIt to taste
Boston or Bibb lettuce
1 ripe avocado
o Heat a cast iron skillet !if you’re using one) and add the oil (otherwise just warm the oil in a heavy-based frying pa n). When it’s sizzling, add the shrimp and stir-fry until just cooked through. Using -for ease- a fine microplane, if you have one, grate the zest of the lime over the shrimp and add a squeeze of lime juice, then stir and transfer to a plate for the moment.
o Seed and finely chop the toma toes and drop into a small bowl. Thinly slice the white part of the scallion, and add to the tomatoes. Seed (or not, if you wa nt this properly hot, as I do) and finely chop the ja la peno a nd drop this into the bowl, too.
Stir in the chopped cilantro and squeeze the teaspoons of lime juice over this, then mix gently and add salt to taste.
o Get out a couple of plates. Tear 2 leaves- whole- from the lettuce a nd sit one on top of another to ma ke a receptacle, then repeat 3 more times, so that each pla te has 2 double-layer lettuce wraps on it. Slice each shrimp in half lengthways- as if you were trying to open out each shrimp like a book a nd then cutting down the spine and divide between the lettuce wraps . Peel, pit, and slice the avocado, and divide the pieces between the 4 shrimp-filled lettuce cups . Spoon some of the salsa over the shrimp and avocado slices, but do leave some in the bowl to spoon over as you, messily, eat.
Salmon, avocado, watercress, and pumpkin seed salad
This is a regular lunch or supper at coso mia, as anyone who follows me on Twitter or lnstagram will recognize. I sometimes poach the salmon and keep it in the refrigerator, just so that I can make it even faster when the need hits. It’s quick work anyway, so this is more of an aside than a piece of advice. Although you can always swiftly make a so/ode tiede by flaking the salmon onto the leaves while it’s still warm.
I like to use wild Alaskan salmon, which accounts for the vivid hue here. It doesn’t have an exceedingly strong taste- I always feel it’s as if the salmon is frozen while still alive, the waters must be so cold – but nor does it have that spooky flabbiness of farmed salmon. And it isn’t anywhere n ear as expensive as wild Scottish salmon, desirable and wholly delicious as that is.
If you have half an avocado that needs using up, you can put it to excellent use here, as you don’t really n eed a whole one if this is to feed only two of you.
SERVES 2 generously
2 wild Alaskan salmon fillets (approx. 8 ounces total)
2 scallions, trimmed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons sea salt flakes or kosher salt
FOR THE SALAD
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
4 ounces watercress
o Put the salmon fillets in a small frying pan (I use one with on 8-inch diameter) and cover with cold water from the top Add the scallions and peppercorns, squeeze in the lime juice and sprinkle in the salt, then bring to a boil , uncovered. When the pan is bubbling, turn the fillets over, then remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand for 7 minutes. Then take the fillets out of the liquid and leave to cool completely, which could toke up to l hour. Once cool , the salmon will be cooked through, with its flesh desirably tender and coral inside.
o While the salmon’s cooling, make a start on the salad. Toast the pumpkin seeds by tossing them in a dry, heavy-based frying pa n on the stove. They will start jum ping a little, and will darken and get a smokier taste. It doesn’t toke long to toast them, so don’t leave the pan and, indeed, keep giving it a quic k swirl . Then transfer to a cold plate.
o When you’re ready to unite sal mon with salad, put the waterc ress into a Iarge sha llow bowl (or split between 2 bowls) , sprinkle with the vinegar, and toss. Now odd the salmon, removing the skin and tearing the fish into bite-sized pieces or shreddy bits, as you wish.
o Halve the avocado and remove the pit, then spoon the flesh out onto the salmon and watercress, or cut it into slices if you prefer. Drizzle the oil over the salad, sprinkle with the salt and half of the toasted pumpkin seeds, and toss gently to mix. Scatter the remaining pumpkin seeds on top, and eat.
Rice bowl with ginger, radish, and avocado
A rice bowl is a wondrous thing, but often – despite the simplicity of its title – a rather cluttered and complicated one. Here, I have pared it back, to make a gorgeously seasoned rice bowl, with nothing more than a few seeds, herbs, and radishes stirred through it, and an avocado to top it. It’s a simple take on an inspiringly expansive idea. So please use this as a starting point only. It’s very much a non-recipe recipe, and every time I make it, I add something different, depending on what’s at hand.
The only constant is the rice. I cannot get enough of short grain brown rice – so much more nubbly and delicious than regular whole grain rice or white rice – but I find it doesn’t cook quite like rice does normally. That’s to say, usually the unswerving rule when cooking rice is 1 part rice to 2 parts water. I have found that with short grain brown rice it is 1 part rice to 1½ parts water (despite what it says on the package). And even though I’ve given a measurement for the ginger, in reality, I just shave off slices with the vegetable peeler until I feel I have enough.
Raw radishes are my usual go-to, but I had some cold leftover roasted radishes, so that’s what you see in the picture. If you want to have them hot, just roast halved radishes, cut-side down, with a little oil in a hot oven (about 425°F) for 10 minutes.
¾ cup short grain brown rice
1 cup cold water
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
1½ tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 teaspoon organic raw apple cider vinegar
¼ cup mixed seeds, such as pumpkin, sunflower, sesame
3–4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 small ripe avocado
º Put the rice and water in a heavy-based saucepan that comes with a tight-fitting lid, and bring to a boil. Once it’s bubbling, clamp on the lid, turn the heat down very low, and simmer for 25 minutes. Then turn off the heat, leaving the lid on, and let it stand for a further 5 minutes, by which time the rice will be cooked – but still nutty – and the water absorbed.
While the rice is cooking, use a vegetable peeler to shave the ginger into very thin strips. Cut the radishes into quarters or eighths lengthways, depending on their size.
º When the rice is cooked, spoon into a mixing bowl. Add the tamari or soy sauce and the apple cider vinegar to the bowl and toss with a fork to combine, and then do the same with the ginger shavings, radishes, and seeds. Stir all but a little of the chopped cilantro into the rice, still using a fork.
º Divide between 2 smallish bowls and top with avocado, cut either into gondola- shaped slices or chunks, as wished. Sprinkle each with the remaining cilantro, and eat serenely.
Excerpted from Simply Nigella by Nigella Lawson. Recipes copyright © 2015 Nigella Lawson, Photography copyright © 2015 Keiko Oikawa. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Random House of Canada Ltd., a Penguin Random House Company. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.