Jack McNulty was OMS’s chef at the recent Wokefield Park Summer Event. He and his wife Silvia are partners in their Zürich-based catering business, Laughing Lemon Food & Wine, where they provide instruction in cooking and wine. Jack's other passion, of course, as part of the OMS team, is to share his extensive knowledge with the MS community. He was easily persuaded by us to part with a recipe for your enjoyment.
I changed my diet in 2009 to a whole food, plant-based diet – including fish, which I originally called a pesca-vegan diet, but now it’s simply how I cook and eat. I have really enjoyed creating dishes during my transition that replace some of my old favorites, and I was quite surprised at first to discover how tasty my new creations turned out – often far tastier than the original versions that were usually lathered in butter, cream and probably some kind of meat product.
Today, I continue to search out new ways to cook with less fat and explore new healthier alternatives in the food I eat and serve. This dish replaces one of my old standby favorites of green beans, onions and bacon.
I wanted to create something similar when I came up with this idea, and the thought of using roasted sweet onions to increase the sweetness lost from the butter was obvious to me.
Replacing the smoky flavor and crunchy texture of the bacon was less obvious. Almost by accident, the notion of using smoked salmon to provide the smoky flavor just came to me one day as I peered into the refrigerator. It was an excellent choice and worked perfectly in combination with the sweet onions and green beans, except the textural thing of course, which I continue to work on!
1 large Spanish onion
Salt to season the onion
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground fennel seeds
300 grams fresh green beans
250 grams hot-smoked salmon
Slice the onion in half, remove the root attachment, then slice the onion into thick slices.
Season with salt and coat with just a touch of extra virgin olive oil. Add the ground fennel seeds and mix well. Place on a large baking tray and put into the top part of a pre-heated 220°C oven with top heat. Grill the onions for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and toss about a bit to mix them up.
Put the onions back into the oven for another 10 minutes. The onions should be a bit caramelized around the edges and most of the water from the onions will have evaporated.
Prepare the green beans by snipping off the ends and washing well. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add a good portion of sea salt to the water after it reaches a boil, then plunge the beans into the water. Boil for about 3-5 minutes – the beans should remain slightly crunchy.
Remove the beans and place on a plate to cool. To finish the dish, heat 100 ml. of water in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the beans and onions and toss well. Once the water has evaporated, season lightly with a bit of sea salt and about 1 tablespoon of olive oil (you can also add a bit of flaxseed oil to the beans off the heat). Break apart the smoked salmon into large chunks and add to the pan. Heat just long enough to take the chill out of the salmon and serve right away.