Salmon Unilaterale

May 17th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

If there was an ASPCF (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Fish”), salmon would head the list of fish mangled and mishandled by careless (or unknowing) cooks. Invariably, salmon is overcooked, bland and tasteless. Salmon should only be cooked to medium rare so the interior is pink and flakes into silky nuggets. There are few better meals than properly cooked salmon and spring season asparagus. (Haricots vert or baby zucchini can be substituted). HG follows the French bistro method of cooking salmon: Unilaterale. The salmon filet is cooked (skin side down) in a small amount of vegetable oil on a hot cast iron pan. HG watches the fish carefully. Puts a fork in the fish and when it has achieved the right texture and color, HG turns it over for a very brief (30 seconds) browning. Then to a heated serving platter where the salmon gets a generous dousing of melted butter, lemon juice and dash of soy sauce. HG is very fond of the savory crisp salmon skin, which contains health supporting fish oils and other nutrients (Japanese often use it as a topping for sushi). BSK does not like salmon skin (too oily for BSK’s pristine palate). Thus, HG gets a bonus. BSK’s portion of the skin. Is this the secret to HG’s ongoing vitality?


May 9th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

At a fancy dinner party, an elegant lady asked Babe Ruth why he didn’t eat asparagus. The greatest Yankee of them all responded: “Because they make my pee smell funny.” HG/BSK are not concerned about the after effect of asparagus. They are now in season and BSK prepares the delicious vegetable in many ways: Roasted on the grill; gently steamed; mixed with garlic, ginger and a bit of soy sauce in a Chinese stir fry; as the filling in an omelet. Last night, BSK steamed a batch and seasoned them with melted butter and lemon juice. They proved a worthy companion to HG’s preparation of Coho salmon a la unilaterale. A very simple dish. HG melted a mix of butter and olive oil in a cast iron pan. When quite hot, HG placed the salmon in the pan skin side down. A minute of high heat; covered the pan and turned heat to medium low. After four minutes, HG checked the fish. Found it rare (but cooked to HG’s liking). Placed it on a warm platter (like a steak, grilled salmon continues to cook after its removal from heat). Sauced the fish with melted butter, lemon juice and a dash of cayenne. Asparagus and salmon: A perfect marriage. (like HG/BSK). Tossed salad in a pungent vinaigrette provided a healthy finale.


Al Fresco Mind Change

October 7th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

HG has never been a fan of outdoor dining. Too hot. Too cold. Too windy. Friendly to insects. And, the sun has a habit of getting directly in HG’s eyes. Food magazines are always filled with photos of folks having a jolly time at long tables outdoors while the barbecue performs smoky, culinary wonders. Parisians, usually sensible, if demanding, in terms of food, go nuts with joy at the possibility of eating on a restaurant terrace. They brave cold, dampness, auto fumes and beggars for this dubious delight. The only outdoor dining HG has ever enjoyed has been a feast of freshly shucked Malpeque or Colville Bay oysters served on the ocean-facing deck of HG/BSK’s Prince Edward Island home. However, here in New Mexico where HG/BSK reside for most of the year, BSK has managed to create an outdoor dining experience that even HG, a stubborn curmudgeon, must admit is a delight. BSK has strung dozens of tiny lights in the shade tree that grows on the HG/BSK brick floored terrace. The light is soft and conducive to wine drinking. The view is of Las Barrancas (reddish colored cliffs and mesas). So, it’s cocktails on the portale (long, low porch) and dinner on the terrace. A few nights ago the menu was a filet of wild salmon cooked medium rare on the barbecue; tiny Ratte potatoes; a salad of fresh greens dotted with gently sautéed buttery oyster mushrooms. HG concocted a sauce that went beautifully with the salmon and potatoes: Mayonnaise (Hellman’s, of course); olive oil; finely chopped fresh garlic; Maille Dijon Mustard; lemon juice and lemon zest; salt; pepper; tarragon from BSK’s herb garden. Manchego cheese and quince jam as a finale. Perfect meal. Perfect setting. Big time mind change for HG.


Sorrel A La BSK

July 21st, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Salmon with sorrel sauce (sauce oseille) is on the menus of many French bistros. Popularized by the chef Pierre Troisgros, the sauce is a lush mix of butter, cream and fish stock flavored with a chiffonade of sorrel leaves. HG/BSK have always enjoyed this bistro classic in Paris; however, when cooking farm raised salmon (alas, the only kind available on Prince Edward Island), BSK have modified this lush sauce to create a healthier, easier-to-prepare taste treat that still manages to elevate salmon to culinary heights. BSK grows sorrel in the BSK herb garden and it is grows like a weed — fast and furious. With this abundance, BSK makes sorrel soup (sauteed sorrel, butter lettuce, onion, butter and chicken broth pureed altogther). It is a great soup whether served hot or cold. To make a sauce for salmon, BSK reduces some soup and simmers it with additional butter and beaten egg yolks. Draped over a poached salmon, it is summer heaven.


Summer Standards: Gravlax

July 20th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Resting under some heavy weights in a corner of the refrigerator is a slab of Nova Scotia farm raised salmon. BSK is making gravlax, Swedish dill-cured salmon, a favorite summer appetizer. HG/BSK were introduced to gravlax some 47 years ago by Bibi, our delightful Swedish au pair. (As a side note, Bibi made the best dessert we never tasted: A 3 layer cake of whipped cream and fruit. Beautiful. Unfortunately, we turned our backs for a moment and our chronically misbehaving pet poodle, Peaches ate the entire masterpiece.) Typically, HG isn’t fond of farm raised salmon but this Nova Scotia variety (purchased at the By the Bay Fish Mart in St. Peters, PEI) is superior. BSK rubs a filet with salt, pepper and a bit of sugar and covers the entire thing with fresh dill. Places it on a plateand then covers it with a board and weighs it down with some big cans of beans and tomatoes. Lets it cure (flipping it over a few times) for a few days. HG makes a dressing of Dijon mustard, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, salt and chopped dill. Thin slices of gravlax topped with the dressing and accompanied by icy vodka or white wine is a nice way to usher in a summer dinner.


Summer Heat Beater: Schav

July 6th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

HG has noted previously that BSK has cultivated a lush crop of sorrel. BSK makes very good sorrel soup in the French manner. Thickened and enriched with a touch of sweet cream, it is the perfect sauce for grilled or poached salmon. Vaudeville, the art deco Paris brasserie, served a very good version (before the brasserie went downhill under chain management). However, HG’s favorite use of sorrel is in “schav”, the ice cold, refreshingly sour sorrel soup as it was prepared by HG’s Mom and served in New York Jewish “dairy” restaurants (and Catskills resorts) in years gone by. Topped with some sour cream, this soup conquers summer heat. Accompanied by a boiled potato, this was often HG’s boyhood summer lunch in The Bronx and Rockaway. Weather has been hot and humid on PEI. HG”s palate cried out for schav. So, consulting the Jew and Carrot food blog, HG made a jar of schav. Very good. But, it lacked something, A bite of sourness. What was Mom’s secret? Memory was racked. The answer: Rokeach Sour Salt. Essentially citric acid, this is what Mom added to her schav, exemplary beet borscht, robust cabbage borscht and savory ground meat stuffed cabbage in sweet and sour sauce. Yes, Rokeach still provides sour salt and HG is waiting for a supply from Amazon.


Salmon Gets The Maiko Touch

September 2nd, 2013 § 2 comments § permalink

Getting bored with HG’s press agentry for Exquisite Maiko’s kitchen wizardry? Too bad. Stop reading. But, if you want to know how to make magic with farm raised salmon read on. After a day of Prince Edward Island beach fun, EM julienned the remaining vegetables in the refrigerator (cabbage, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, onions) and tossed them in a bowl with a marinade of rice vinegar, sake, mirin and soy sauce. A slab of salmon was cut into manageable pieces about two fingers long and two fingers wide. These pieces were dusted in flour and sauteed until brown in canola oil. The salmon then went into the bowl, absorbing the the marinade flavors. The marinade had “cooked” the vegetables. This salmon dish was served with perfectly cooked rice, EM’s braised Japanese eggplant and some sriracha (for HG, the sriracha addict). The sublime appetizer was EM’s hand-made pork gyoza. EM will spend a day making gyoza and keeps batches in the freezer. EM has been cooking busily during her stay on PEI. HG’s dream came true: Fantastic dishes prepared at home daily by a talented Asian chef. The dream ends as EM, SJ and family return to Brooklyn. Soon,HG/BSK will be back in New Mexico. There are culinary consolations. Awaiting HG in the high desert paradise HG shares with BSK: BSK’s fabulous roast chicken. Adobo dusted pork chops. Green salads BSK prepares with the lettuces cultivated by HG/BSK’s organic farmer neighbor. Braised escarole in broth with onions, garlic, pancetta and white beans. Green chile stew with peppers freshly roasted at the Santa Fe Farmers Market. Pasta showered with herbs from BSK’s garden.BSK is a locavore and HG’s palate reaps the benefits. And, when HG needs a respite from healthy home cooking, it is off to El Parasol Restaurant in Pojoaque for a steaming bowl of cholesterol rich menudo. Land of Enchantment, indeed.


Salmon Surprise

June 26th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

During HG/BSK’s long residence in Vancouver, British Columbia, much fresh salmon was consumed. Salmon from B.C.’s Fraser River, Washington’s Columbia River and the icy waters off Alaska were featured in Vancouver’s fish markets. Friends often brought HG/BSK slabs of great salmon they had caught in exclusive fishing lodges in northern B.C. All great, tasty stuff. HG/BSK were spoiled. The flavors and textures of the good stuff nullified the thought of ever buying insipid farm raised salmon again; however, events of last night may have created a mind change. HG peered at the great salmon filets at By the Bay Fish Mart in St. Peter’s Bay, Prince Edward Island. “Is it good?,” inquired HG of the plain spoken woman behind the counter. “It’s from across the water in Nova Scotia and everyone likes it.” No mention of farm raising. But, it had to be. Nevertheless, HG bought a big piece. HG likes to cook salmon the French bistro way — pan frying over high heat, skin side down, no turning. However, this chunk of salmon was just too thick. Had to be turned. Was fabulous. Crispy skin. Lightly browned top. Full of juice and flavor. Cooked medium rare. Cold left overs for lunch (with mustard mayonnaise) were equally good. This doesn’t mean HG is going to buy American farm raised salmon. But, By the Bay Fish Mart had made HG a convert to their product.

st. peters brochure 014

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