Hot smoked salmon salad with pesto, peas and mint

This is a recipe from Delicious Cookbook, I'm so glad I made it because everyone loved it and it was so simple! The recipe called for trout, but salmon was easier to find and I felt I'd already gone to enough trouble braving the xmas hoards at the shopping centre so I wasn't going trout hunting too.

You will need... for 6-8 serves
1 cup rice- I used Basmati but you could use Jasmine or plain long grain
1/2 lemon, zest and juice
1 1/2 cups of fresh peas
250gr hot-smoked salmon or trout
salt and pepper
1 large sprig of mint to garnish
For the pesto...
1 clove garlic
100gr toasted pine nuts
1 bunch basil (roughly 3 cups picked basil leaves)
2 sprigs picked mint (3/4 cup leaves)
100gr freshly grated parmesan
100ml olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Cook the rice according to the packet absorption method- 1 cup of rice normally to 1 1/2 cups cold, salted water, bring to the boil, then simmer covered for 10-12 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to stand covered for 5 minutes.
2. Mix the lemon zest through the cooked rice, and add a few grinds of cracked pepper. Place on a tray in the fridge to cool completely.
3. To make the pesto, place the peeled garlic and toasted pine nuts into a food processor. Blend on high until minced well, then add a handful of basil and process on high again, slowly pouring in 1/3 of the oil. Repeat this process twice more until all of the basil and oil is incorporated and you have a fine paste. Scrape down the sides of the processor with a spatula, then add salt and pepper and parmesan and give one final pulse. Pour into a jar or airtight container, and cover with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent oxidisation. Store covered in the fridge.
4. Blanch the peas by placing them in a heat-proof bowl and pouring boiling water from the kettle onto them and allowing them to sit, totally submerged, for 5 minutes. Refresh by straining and pouring cold water over them. They need to have a vibrant colour and still be a little bit crunchy- this is why fresh peas work best!
5. Take the salmon or trout out of its packaging and remove the skin if there is one. Use a fork to break up into bite-sized shards.
6. To assemble, remove the cold rice from the fridge and mix the lemon juice throughout. Spoon onto a platter, then scatter over the peas. Place the salmon/trout pieces over the top, then drizzle or dollop the pesto over the salad. Finish by garnishing with extra mint leaves and a crack of freshly ground black pepper.

*This recipe is still delicious the following day, so don't fret if there's leftovers!


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