Friday Evening Fare

Yesterday I had a blissful day of swimming, brunch & art.  I also had a couple of dishes I've been wanting to make for a little while now & who better to cook for than a foodie friend?
I did get only slightly nervous about what to cook to impress my pal, Sal, especially as one of the dishes I had never before attempted & was without recipe so to speak.  Well, I had ingredients indicated to me by a friend, but that's all I had to go on!  So I winged it.
So now I find myself sharing it online . . . it must be gooood ;)
Now, there are a few components to this meal to ensure that everything be made from scratch.
If you have a food processor / blender, mandolin or patience, these dishes are ridiculously easy. Simple. And delicious.
First cab off the rank is homemade aioli:

Oh baby, I love aioli.  In this dish, it acts as a double agent.  Yes, working undercover as a binder as well as maintaining it's brilliant reputation as an accompaniment to make any meal that much more scrumptious.  OK, time for me to stop personifying my food.

Ingredients & method:

2 Egg yolks
1 heaped tsp mustard
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp apple cider or white wine vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup extra virgin olive oil - mild in flavour

In a blender / food processor combine your egg yolks, mustard, garlic, vinegar & lemon juice.  Once it's a nice pale yellow, you're ready for the olive oil.  The key to a winning aioli or any mayo is the super slow rate at which to pour in the oil.  I live on the edge & "drizzle" it straight from the measuring cup.  I do cheat & use a cup with a bit of a lip on it, but otherwise measure out you oil, transfer to a beaker or creamer and pour from there.
Leave the food processor blending away at medium speed and pour little bit by little bit - the aim is to achieve a steady thin chord of oil.  The more you add, the thicker it becomes.

Squeezed in the middle of this trusty main is my experiment of sorts.
I was introduced to this dish during the week by a girl from Chile.  It is unbelievably simple but equally jam-packed with flavour.  Now, although I was drizzling, garnishing & squeezing somewhat haphazardly, I believe these would be the rough measurements.  An added key component to this "Courgette Carpaccio" would be in the mixing.  So, here goes!  Get ready for your socks to be knocked (off).

2 medium-sized zucchini/courgettes
Capers with their juice - about half a jar's worth
Juice of 1 & a half lemons
Generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper
1 Spanish onion
Pecorino cheese shavings

So with my handy dandy mandolin (that I gifted to myself for Christmas) I whizzed through the finely slicing part with the zucchini & spanish onion.  Alternatively, you can slice the veggies as thinly as possible with a nice sharp knife.  
Leave the onions aside for the moment and spread the zucchini rounds in a large dish.  Ideally, they should each have their own little place on the tray with only some overlap.  For two zuc's I used two trays.  
Now, drizzle the lemon juice & olive oil over the top, sprinkle some salt and a little pepper and spoon over your capers & their juice.  After allowing the juices to sink in for a few minutes, you can add the onions and pecorino shavings to the mix.   
Take a fork or tongs and give all the ingredients a good mix round, making sure they are all smothered in the oil and lemon juice.  Have a taste test to decide whether you'd like more lemon, olive oil, capers, salt, pepper, or more of all-of-the-above.
Once satisfied, the trays can be cling-wrapped and popped into the fridge for half an hour or however long you can / need to wait.

And now time for the salmon cakes, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm baby.

For four burger-sized patties I used:

600g fresh salmon
1 and 1/2 tsps mustard
2 tbsps aioli/mayonnaise
A generous handful of dill
A handful parsley
Oil for cooking

Cook your salmon however you please.  I usually bake mine at 200 degrees celsius for about 20 minutes.

Remove skins and mix the salmon into flakes in a large bowl.  Add mustard, aioli, herbs & combine well.
While the oil is heating in a large saucepan, form the salmon, herb, aioli/mayo mixture into large patties.  When the oil is sizzling hot, gently place your patties in the pan & cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown in colour.

Put it all together on a plate & enjoy with some extra relish & fresh salad leaves if you fancy it!

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