Salmon

Roasted miso salmon with a bunch of other stuff and potatoes

Posted in Salmon on April 16th, 2011 by admin – 2 Comments

I managed to injure myself pretty well yesterday in what I’m sure was one of the most dramatic trip-and-fall episodes anyone’s ever seen… and of course there were plenty to see it, right outside of the Capitol Hill QFC. If you live in the area you probably know how busy that street corner is and in fact I think it was trying to sidestep out of the line of sight of one of the canvassers that caused me to lose my footing in the first place.

Well despite being in pain to walk, or to stand, or do anything that involves moving my knees in any way, I’ve realized I’m too stubborn to just sit still and heal. So I’ve limped through the grocery store, and continued to limp through the kitchen and keep cooking. The biggest issue has been when I come back to my desk chair to sit for a minute and am confronted with this:

She can perfect her sleepy, I’ve-been-here-alllll-day look in under 30 seconds.

So for once I did the right thing and read the recipe with too long of a name through from beginning to end and right off it annoyed me with one thing. The recipe is for 6 salmon fillets (which of course I cut back to a single for myself) but ends with,

Serve 4 of the salmon fillets with the cilantro sprinkled over top and all of the potatoes on the side. Reserve remaining salmon for salad.

It wouldn’t bother me so much if it stated up front something about using leftovers for another recipe, or even made some mention of what this salad is, but instead it just tells you to cook a bunch of food and not use it all. The ‘next recipe’ link isn’t anything to do with salad, but an even longer name that just needs to be shown off: Sea Bass Napoleon with Galangal Blackened Scallops and Smoked Salmon, Blackened Tomatoes and Coconut Lemon Grass Reduction. Someone needs to learn some brevity in their naming.

Now on to the recipe… except that it’s actually two recipes – the roasted salmon and rosemary Yukon potatoes. Despite my complaining, it’s probably the potatoes that sold me on the whole thing.

Ingredients:

  • 6 salmon fillets (about 5 ounces each)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine (mirin)
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste

To cut this back I approximated 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and eyeballed just under a teaspoon of the mirin and miso.

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a large roasting pan with cooking spray.

I ignored the whole cooking spray thing and just lined the pan with aluminum foil. Something about cooking with an aerosol can bothers me and I’ve never bought the stuff, but I do have one of those hand-pump olive oil sprayers.

  • Season salmon with salt and black pepper and place in roasting pan. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, rice wine and miso paste. Brush mixture all over salmon in pan.

My miso is drying out so it took a bit to mix it altogether and then I wasn’t impressed with what I had. There wasn’t a lot going on flavor-wise and I don’t care for mirin unless it’s been diluted by enough other ingredients. So I started adding more, pulling from typical ingredients of other recipes.

  • 1 teaspoon plum sake
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger

This is a lot more cinnamon than used in the original cinnamon salmon recipe but it seemed to make it thick enough to actually stick when brushed on.

I’m also still on a mango kick but since I didn’t want to deal with the leftovers if I was to make a mango sauce tonight, I thought the plum sake would add that fruitiness I was looking for.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves

I cut this part in half pretty easily. Dried rosemary unfortunately – fresh is on the list to grow since fresh rosemary seems to show up in so many recipes compared to dried.

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, combine potatoes, oil, garlic, rosemary, and salt and black pepper to taste. Toss to coat potatoes. Arrange potatoes alongside salmon (or on a separate baking sheet if there’s not enough room).

I did it in plastic a bag, shake-n-bake style. Then I realized I unfortunately wasted a plastic bag and I could probably get the same effect from one of my reusable containers. (On the other hand, I’d like to see the phrase ‘shake-n-bake style’ show up in my search queries more often.)

  • Roast salmon and potatoes 20 to 25 minutes, until fish and potatoes are fork-tender.

As one of the commenters points out, 20-25 minutes is too long to cook salmon. I cooked for 15 minutes and the fish was done, however, the potatoes were not. I expected this and put the fish on a plate and potatoes back in the oven. If I had read the comments thoroughly too I would have taken their advice and put the potatoes in 20 minutes ahead of the salmon. When they were close to done and I was getting impatient waiting for them to cook, I sprinkled some asiago cheese over the potatoes to convince myself to put them back in the oven a bit longer.

The flavor combination I came up with was interesting…. I think “interesting” would be upgraded to “good” if the salmon hadn’t been sitting around getting cold waiting on the potatoes. And, ignoring that whole last section that says to reserve salmon for salad, I also forgot to top with the cilantro. However cilantro probably wouldn’t have gone along so well after my changes anyway.

Recommend serving with plum sake.

Lazy Salmon is a lazy post

Posted in Fish, Salmon on February 14th, 2011 by admin – 3 Comments

I’ve referenced my “lazy salmon” already but in the context of being able to do better than Martha Stewart with something I came up with out of my head, and I didn’t have pictures of either at the time.

I’ve always loved salmon, and if that isn’t obvious yet it’s only because I try to pace myself so this doesn’t become the 101 Ways to Cook Salmon blog. However it was always frustrating to me the difference between the amazing salmon I could order in a restaurant, and the dry, “meh”, pink stuff that would come out of my oven. I’ve certainly improved since then, and while I’m not claiming this is anywhere near restaurant quality (I’d recommend Lime Butter Salmon if I had to pick one), it’s become pretty decent for an intentionally lazy meal.

Ingredients:

  • Salmon fillet
  • Butter
  • Lemon juice
  • White wine

Melt a pat of butter in the microwave and then add an equal-looking amount of lemon juice. Once I started cooking with wine, I found that adding a splash of white wine gave it a slightly more complex flavor, and makes this feel more like “real cooking” than “pretend cooking”.

I also once tried adding chopped garlic but it turns out that garlic has a chemical reaction when it sits in an acid, like lemon juice. It’s still perfectly edible but quite a shock when your originally white garlic comes out of the oven green.

Wrap the salmon fillet tightly in foil and pour the lemon-butter-wine mixture over.

Actually this time I then tried turning the fish upside down before cooking, instead of letting the liquid run off the side like usually happens.

The next “secret”, as far as this could be considered a secret, is that I was cooking it too long in the past. I now put this in the oven at 350 degrees and set the timer for 10 minutes. It most likely won’t be cooked after ten minutes, but then keep checking in very small increments (2-3 minutes, or even 1 minute if it looks close) and stop cooking as soon as possible.

I made sure to pour all of the pan-juice on top which I think I would normally leave behind, served with broccoli-cheese mashed potatoes so it doesn’t matter if the extra butter-juice runs into the potatoes. I also served it topped with fresh chopped parsley, which I apologize for since “fresh chopped” anything does take it a step outside of the “lazy” realm.

White wine and salmon

Posted in Fish, Salmon on January 23rd, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

I tried skinning salmon again. I didn’t take any pictures, but you can trust me, it wasn’t pretty.

So I cheated and used this recipe because it doesn’t expect the fish to stay in one piece for some reason. I’m really not sure what that adds to the presentation but I guess Martha Stewart has her own way of doing things.

(I’m a little bit embarrassed to be cooking from marthastewart.com, the site that offered to show me pets in costumes when I’m done, but here goes…)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large skinless salmon fillet (1 1/2 pounds)
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

As usual I cut everything in half.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place salmon on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt. Roast until opaque throughout, about 15 minutes.

I don’t know why but that makes “rimmed baking sheet” sound like some specialized piece of bakeware. I substituted “wrap in foil and throw on that old cookie sheet you use for everything”.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter over medium. Add flour, and cook, whisking, 1 minute.

I interpenetrated “whisking” as “stir rapidly with a narrow rubber spatula so it won’t scratch the pot”. I feel like I’m still on probation after nearly ruining one of our good pans.

Add wine, and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook until liquid is reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in chives; season with salt and pepper. With a fork, gently break salmon into large chunks, and serve topped with white-wine sauce.

Honestly this recipe was nothing special. I could have done just as well sticking with my version of lazy salmon – bake until done in a pool of butter, lemon juice, and a splash of white wine.

Snowmageddon Stuffed Salmon

Posted in Fish, Salmon on January 11th, 2011 by admin – 1 Comment

The real name is Honey Soy Grilled Salmon with Edamame. I found this recipe buried in my bookmarks from before I began to separate them into “to try” and “worth keeping”.

If I knew ahead of time I was making this I would have bought some black sesame seeds to take beautiful pictures. It’s easier to justify buying ingredients for aesthetics when someone is going to see the final product. As it is I was lucky I could salvage the still-green parts of some green onions I didn’t know were in the fridge so this didn’t begin to mimic my allrecipes.com review parody. “Well I didn’t have any…” The next Seattle Snowmageddon is beginning tonight so there will be no quick trips to the store.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 2 scallions
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 center cut skin-on wild salmon fillets, about 6 ounces each
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon black sesame seeds

I don’t like it when recipes start getting too specific on their ingredients. Is my salmon center cut? I have no idea.

I asked Andrew, “In our kitchen, when a recipe calls for vegetable oil, does that mean olive oil or peanut oil?” Decided you can’t ever go wrong with olive oil.

Directions:

  • Finely chop the cilantro and scallion and mix in the oil and ginger. Season with salt and pepper.

Now that I’ve found a better way to chop shallots, I’m going to complain about chopping cilantro. That stuff isn’t easy… if a recipe says finely chopped best I’m going to do is chopped. If it calls for chopped I usually use whole leaves.

  • Cut two 3-inch long slits through the skin lengthwise on the bottom of the salmon fillets, going about halfway into the salmon. Evenly stuff the slits with the herb mixture. Season the fish with salt and pepper.

This was a definite ‘I hope I’m doing this right…’ moment.

Grill…

And then I saw that it had broiler instructions too and made a happy noise! Andrew heard me make a happy noise and got out the mini broiler pan.

Broil, basting 3 to 4 times with the sauce, until just cooked through, about 6 to 7 minutes.

No that’s not edamame either.

The funny thing is after I ran all over trying to find the right background for my photos, when I actually sat down to eat the salmon was still undercooked in the middle. I think that’s okay for salmon but I’m still paranoid about my food unless it’s cooked by a professional or is eat-me-raw sanctioned. So I put the fish back in the broiler, first topping it with the leftover herb mix.

I’d like to say the story ends here but it actually took me three tries and it was still not cooked through. I think something about the stuffing makes the middle not want to cook. Interesting, but I don’t think this one makes it to the “worth keeping” pile.

Lime Butter Salmon

Posted in Fish, Salmon on December 29th, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

I’ve read a bit about compound butter. It’s an interesting idea but seems like a lot of work for something you can neither use right away or keep around for an extended period of time. I found this amazing Lime Butter Sauce (to be used on this Grilled Salmon with Lime Butter Sauce) which seems to be taking the good parts of compound butter – being butter with stuff in it to make it better – without all of the… (dare I say “smooshing”?) effort and time.

Really really amazing.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted

The first time I made this I actually thought it was supposed to be compound butter so I used softened butter in the mini food processor and wondered how you’re supposed to get the liquid to blend in. Then I read closer and saw that it’s melted butter. So much easier! In fact you can be lazy and skip the food processor altogether if you chop the garlic well enough.

Directions:
Purée garlic with lime juice, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth. With motor running, add melted butter and blend until emulsified, about 30 seconds.

Well they say blender, not food processor, but I’d feel silly making butter in my smoothie maker…

Then for the salmon:

Ingredients:

  • 6 (6-oz) pieces center-cut salmon fillet (about 1 inch thick) with skin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lime zest
  • 6 tablespoons lime butter sauce

I always wonder who these recipes are written for. Who cooks six pieces of salmon at a time? If I had that many people to feed I don’t think I could afford to feed them all salmon. At least it divides easily.

First thing I skip the zest. You have to be really convincing to get me to mutilate a poor piece of citrus fruit so that I can… eat it’s skin. Is that weird or what?

Actually the real reason is because I keep bottles of (good) lemon and lime juice in the fridge at all times, but I’d have to plan ahead to need fresh fruit to zest otherwise it would go bad on my counter waiting for its day. Then once you’ve zested it’s definitely going bad unless you have a use for the rest of the fruit right then and there.

Directions:
Season salmon all over with salt and pepper, then grill…

I use the George Forman grill so all the instructions on flipping aren’t relevant. I’ve always had trouble with my fish sticking to the grill (fine for the skin because it peels it off but bad for the top) but I found if I keep the fish well olive-oiled and keep watch it will brown nicely without sticking.

Sprinkle fillets with zest and top each with 1 tablespoon lime butter sauce.

Sockeye salmon is supposed to be the most flavorful on its own and works really well in this recipe. This is served with some red mashed potatoes, skins on, with sour cream. Even if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like the foods on your plate to touch, you’ll want to let the lime butter run into the mashed potatoes while you eat them… or just go all the way and poor the leftover butter on the potatoes themselves.

Salmon Pad Thai

Posted in Noodles, Salmon on December 11th, 2010 by admin – 2 Comments

A late night dinner… Pad Thai recipes (I ultimately based mine on this Eating Well recipe) kept mentioning shrimp for some reason. I don’t like shrimp but did have salmon that needed to be used tonight.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces dried rice noodles
  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 8 ounces small shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cups mung bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallion greens
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts

As you can see I’m not a fan of bean sprouts either. It always seems silly when I see something sold in the store that I always thought the sole purpose was to be picked out of food.

After chopping half a bunch of green onions, which only came out to a quarter cup, it looked like the recipe was going overboard on that part. So I filled in the rest with chopped cilantro.

Directions:
Soak rice noodles in warm water to cover in a large bowl until they are limp and white, about 20 minutes.

This makes me realize I’ve been cooking my (rice) noodles wrong in the past, wanting to boil them like pasta. I had to dig out my largest mixing bowl to be wide enough to hold the stiff noodles.

The noodle package itself said to soak for 30 minutes. There were warnings not to over-soften if they’re going to be stir-fried next, so this was kind of a leap of faith. They still didn’t feel close to “cooked” after 30 minutes.

Heat oil over high heat in a wok until very hot. Add the garlic and stir-fry until golden, about 10 seconds.

The reason peanut oil is used for this kind of thing is it has a higher burning point so you can get to the “very hot” point without it starting to smoke. Cooking at this high of a heat also means that your garlic is going to start browning in the time it takes you to reach for the next ingredient.

Add the egg and cook, stirring, until scrambled, about 30 seconds.

Next I added the salmon I had cut into pieces in place of the shrimp and stir-fried until the salmon was mostly cooked.

Drain the noodles and add to the wok, tossing with tongs until they soften and curl, about 1 minute. Add bean sprouts, scallion greens, vinegar, fish sauce, sugar and chile-garlic sauce

 


The noodles did cook perfectly as intended.

Sprinkle with peanuts and serve immediately.

 

I admit I’ve been intimidated by making pad Thai myself but now I see it’s as easy and versatile as… stir-fry that I’ll actually want to eat.

Cinnamon Salmon

Posted in Fish, Salmon on November 19th, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

I knew I wanted the mashed sweet potatoes but figuring out what to go with them, other than a big turkey dinner, was more difficult. I asked people to fill in the blank, “Mashed sweet potatoes and ___________” with the specification that the ‘and’ must be something I’m able to make (and can be made on short notice – no overnight marinating). Then I ignored all of the suggestions and came up with my own.

I decided the cinnamon in this cinnamon salmon would compliment the sweet potatoes, while being more interesting than a piece of chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz salmon
  • 1/4 c lite soy sauce
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

I haven’t quite gotten the hang of these “posed ingredients” pictures.

I assumed by “lite” soy sauce they meant low sodium. These are some of my kitchen staples – soy sauce of all varieties, bottled lemon juice and minced ginger in a jar.

This is an extremely simple recipe. Mix all together and pour over the salmon. Cook at 350 degrees until done.

I always have this problem with salmon fillets that anything liquid runs off and pools in the thin “valley” side. Is there a cooking secret for this or do I just need to to buy flatter fish? Sometimes I wonder if I’d be better off cooking it upside down.

Definitely a case of ‘tastes better than it looks’…

That might be my ugliest dinner ever in fact. The thin part where the cinnamon baked on were perfect. The thick part was “just” fish. I used sockeye which is supposed to have the most flavor on its own. My problem is consistency. If I could just figure out how to even that out, and then take a better picture.

Honey-Soy Broiled Salmon

Posted in Fish, Salmon on October 10th, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

Well my dinner didn’t look like the recipe picture whatsoever.

Broiled salmon out of the oven

First of all, I can’t properly deskin a piece of fish with the tools I have any more than I could peel a potato with a butcher knife. I see from the ads on the page that there is such thing as a salmon slicer, a very indulgent sounding $100+ knife solely for the purpose of cutting the skin off of salmon. (I’d assume it works all fish since Google isn’t being too helpful on ‘halibut slicer’.) While I can think of plenty things to spend $100 on first, let’s just say it’s on my Christmas wishlist.

Ingredients:

1 scallion, minced
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, skinned (see Tip) and cut into 4 portions
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (see Tip)

While the sesame seeds might look like a throwaway ingredient, please don’t leave them out if you can help it. I feel like they really complimented the taste and made it work.

Directions:

Whisk scallion, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and ginger in a medium bowl until the honey is dissolved. Place salmon in a sealable plastic bag, add 3 tablespoons of the sauce and refrigerate; let marinate for 15 minutes. Reserve the remaining sauce.

Preheat broiler. Line a small baking pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. Transfer the salmon to the pan, skinned-side down. (Discard the marinade.) Broil the salmon 4 to 6 inches from the heat source until cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes. Drizzle with the reserved sauce and garnish with sesame seeds.

The site also gives a tip on how to skin a salmon (good luck) and how to toast sesame seeds (my tip: buy them pre-toasted!).

I hoped that cutting the single piece of fish into slices like the recipe instructs would cover up the butchering job I did trying to deskin, and it did somewhat. In the end looks aren’t everything and I ended up with a pretty tasty meal.

Honey-Soy Broiled Salmon