My Signature Dish
by Monty Halls
"I like fish that I've caught, chucked in a skillet"
With two decades' experience of leading teams in some of the most remote environments on earth, Monty Halls - broadcaster, speaker, naturalist, marine biologist, travel writer and leadership specialist - is used to taking risks but in the kitchen he prefers to play it safe and simple.
Life as a Royal Marine and later a broadcaster, filming series such as The Great Escape, sees Monty perfectly at home cooking for himslef - whether its around a campfire or cooking for one on location. But back at home, cooking is no solitary business; in the family's Devon home, Monty is frequently outnumbered by toddlers running wild. "we bought a barn conversion, well it's more or of a barn than a conversion, and spanked our entire savings on it but what we got was a massive kitchen which is very mucht the heart of the house. You know, with all those toddlers in it, they can get a good run up in it. Momentum.
"I like cooking. Like most people would probably say, I'm a keen chef but not a good chef. I have bursts of enthusiasm, you know, particually arounf the time of MasterChef, which I'm a huge fan of. I'm not an intuative cook like my sister - she turns up, goes through the cupboards, sprinkles some of this, adds a glug of that and it's like magic - but if you spoke to my friends they'd probably say I'm a decent cook."
For Monty, simple food is best. "You know, with fish, we gild the lily don't we? We use sauces and spices. But for me, I just like fresh fish and vegetables. I like fish that I've caught, chucked in a skillet. When we were filming The Great Escape in Scotland, I actually built an earthenware oven. I smoked a lot of mackerel and game up there, living in a bothy fo six months."
Monty was delighted with his wife's choice of Christmas present this year. "I now have a fire pit - a really serious one, and this is what I cook my salmon dish on. It's so simple and quick. Cooking outdoors can be a bit of a performance when you've got toddlersand fire to consider, you know, with the logistics, but this is a simple dish, which I'd usually serve with salad and some light mayonnaise - it's almost a starter really."
Monty's Coconut Crusted Salmon
Follow Monty's blog 'Monty's Great Escapes' at www.montyhalls.co.uk
Recipe featured in Stiritup August 2016 edition.
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 organic, free-range egg, beaten
- 1½lb wild salmon, skinned and sliced
into four portions
- Preheat oven to 190°C.
- Mix coconut flour, shredded coconut and salt together in a shallow bowl. Set aside.
- Dip the salmon in the egg and coat both sides with the coconut mixture. Lay flat on a sheet pan.
- Bake the salmon for 15-20minutes, flipping once until the salmon is cooked and the coconut crust is slightly browned and crisp. Serve warm.
- Note: to make the crust crispier and add more colour, broil the salmon for the last 5 minutes of the cooking process.