Ingredients

30g sea spaghetti (I used Pacific Harvest)
4 salmon fillets, skin removed and reserved
1 tablespoon sunflower oil or similar
3 shallots, finely chopped
3cm piece ginger, grated
3 tablespoons nam prik pao paste (Thai roasted-chilli paste)
2 long pieces lemongrass, bruised with the back of a knife
2½ cups vegetable stock
500g baby/small potatoes, scrubbed and halved or quartered
250g beans, cut in 3cm lengths
2 tablespoons fish sauce
200ml can coconut milk (optional)
1 large pack seaweed snacks
1 cup herbs such as coriander, mint, Thai basil, Vietnamese mint
1 lime, quartered

Incorporating seaweed into a meal can be a challenge since we don’t have a long history of eating it in New Zealand, but it’s full of nutrients and quite delicious. I always find foods that taste extra good with a sprinkle of salt – think tomatoes, potatoes, avocado, etc. – pair well with seaweed. Sea spaghetti is great for soaking up the flavours it’s cooked in, such as these fragrant Thai herbs and spices. The seaweed snack coating on the salmon adds flavour and looks great, but the dish is delicious with plain baked salmon too.

Instructions

1.Preheat the oven to 200°C.
2.Line a baking tray with baking paper.
3.Soak the sea spaghetti in water for 15 minutes to soften. Drain well.
4.Heat a large, heavy-based sauté pan or Dutch oven over a medium-high heat, add the salmon skin, sprinkle with salt and fry until crisp, turning over to brown evenly – about 5 minutes. Set aside on a paper towel.
5.Add the oil to the salmon fat over a medium heat, then add the shallots and ginger and cook for 3 minutes.
6.Stir in the nam prik pao paste and cook for 2 minutes.
7.Stir in the lemongrass, stock and potatoes.
8.Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the beans, fish sauce and drained sea spaghetti. Simmer for a further 5 minutes.
9.Lastly, add the coconut milk, if using, and heat through.
10.While the potatoes cook, arrange the salmon fillets on the lined baking tray.
11.Working quickly (you don’t want the seaweed snacks to absorb moisture from the air), put the seaweed and a big pinch of salt into a blender or small food processor and whizz to a powder.
12.Scatter this over the salmon and pat on evenly.
13.Bake salmon for 8-12 minutes until cooked to your liking.
14.To serve, divide the sea-spaghetti soup between bowls, top with a piece of salmon and a handful of mixed herbs, and top with the crispy salmon skin. Finish with a squeeze of lime.

Recipes & food styling Fiona Smith / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Fiona Lascelles

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