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Recipe skulduggery with Marcus Richards

Marcus Richards has had a long involvement with libraries for the last 36 years, having the great fortune of being married into the profession. He is a passionate and accomplished home chef and is always on the lookout for a new recipe. In his paying job Marcus is an English teacher at James Sheahan Catholic High School. At Books on the Menu Marcus spoke with wit and humour about family influences, how he organised his recipes and took us to the dark side of cooking skulduggery where stealing recipes is rife but he confessed to where his inspiration comes from, happily reading through a list of the current who's who of chefs from his own recipe collection The Good Thief's Guide to Cooking. One of his favourite recipes by Terry Durack, published in the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Living Guide, is called Dukkah-crusted salmon with spiced peas and serves four people:

You will need 4 skinless salmon fillets, 180g each, 4 tbsp dukkah (Egyptian nut and spice mix), 1 tbsp olive oil, pea shoots or watercress for garnish. For the pea puree: 500g peas fresh or frozen, handful of mint leaves, basil leaves, 1 tsp ground cumin, 75g plain yoghurt and sea salt and pepper.

To make the pea puree, cook the peas in boiling salted water until tender. Drain, reserving the cooking water, and cool the peas quickly in cold water to retain their colour. In a blender, whiz the peas, herbs, cumin, yoghurt and salt and pepper, adding the cooking water by the tablespoon until you have creamy, light puree. Brush the salmon with a little oil, then press the skinned side onto a plate of dukkah. Place the salmon, dukkah-side down, in a hot, lightly oiled pan and cook over medium heat for three minutes until golden. Turn and cook lightly on the other side. Gently heat the pea puree, and spoon a ladleful into the centre of four warm plates. Top with the salmon and serve with pea shoots or watercress. Easy, impressive and you can take all the credit (well most of it)!

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