New Caledonian New Year: Smoked salmon with avocado and mango salsa

Merry Christmas and happy 2016, everyone! We hope you enjoyed plenty of good food over the festive season. In the spirit of reflection, WordPress has told us that we blogged recipes from 30 different countries in 2015, and our bookcase has told us that we acquired 12 new cookbooks (we’re a bit scared to count the overall total). Neither is a bad effort, but we’re sure we can do better in the year to come!

Today’s dish comes from the island nation of New Caledonia, which is a French territory in the South Pacific. Technically, we haven’t been there, but at the same time we sort of have. This does make sense. The story is that a few years back, Miranda’s mum and sister went on a cruise of the Pacific, and New Caledonia was one of the stops. We were unable to join them but, undeterred, they took us with them anyway, in the form of a little cardboard cut-out. So that’s why we’ve sort of been to New Caledonia! Unfortunately, our ghost-pale English skin didn’t reap the benefits.

525 Cruise

We actually made this dish a couple of weeks back, just before Christmas. Then, it was a perfect light meal to prepare ourselves for the over-indulgence to come. Now, in January, it would be an equally perfect antidote to said over-indulgence. It’s also really easy, so ideal for the next few days when we’ll all be mournfully thinking ‘I don’t want to go back to work on Monday; I just want to crawl under a duvet and hibernate.’ Finally, it feels very summery, so might go some way towards combatting the aforementioned state of misery. Oh yeah – and it’s full of yummy ingredients!

The original recipe wanted us to assemble some sort of stack in a food ring. We didn’t really understand how that would work (and we don’t have any food rings, believe it or not) so we just put it in a pile on the plate.

Smoked salmon with avocado and mango salsa

250g smoked salmon

For the salsa:
1 ripe avocado, cut into 1cm dice
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
Juice and zest of 1 lime
Salt and pepper

1. Put the salsa ingredients in a mixing bowl, mix well and leave at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
2. Put it on a plate with some of the smoked salmon.
3. Serve with dressed salad leaves. (We also added some bread.)
Serves 3-4

526a Salsa compressed

527a New Caledonian dinner compressed

See? Really easy! That salsa would go on the side of all sorts of things, too – it doesn’t just have to be smoked salmon. We actually re-purposed the leftovers the following day and had them for a bit of a brunchy breakfast with scrambled eggs, so it’s very versatile. We definitely recommend this one!

528a New Caledonian breakfast compressed

We also learnt a very valuable, time-saving tip whilst making this dish, which is that it is so much easier to peel an avocado if you cut it into quarters first. If, like us, you’ve been trying to peel halved avocados, give this a go, and you won’t look back.

Soon, we’ll kick off a new year of international cookery with something exotic and Ni-Vanuatu, although we’re not sure what yet. Hopefully whatever it is will be as enjoyable as Fiji and New Caledonia have been!

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