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Here are the tastingspoons players. I’m in the middle (Carolyn). Daughter Sara on the right, and daughter-in-law Karen on the left. I started the blog in 2007, as a way to share recipes with my family. Now in 2022, I’m still doing 99% of the blogging and holding out hope that these two lovely and excellent cooks will participate. They both lead very busy lives, so we’ll see.

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BOOK READING (from Carolyn):

Have only begun Geraldine Brooks’ brand new book, Horse. Oh my, is it a page turner. Loving it so far. It’s a fictional creation but based on a real racehorse owned by a black man, back in the 1850s. Technically, the story is about a painting of the horse but there are many twists and turns. If you’ve ever enjoyed Brooks’ books in the past, this one won’t disappoint.

The Book of Lost Names, by Kristin Harmel (no, not Hannah). Certainly a little-known chunk of history about a woman who becomes a master forger during WWII to help get Jewish children out of France. Not easy to read, meaning the difficulty of anyone finding the means and place to DO the forgery and right under the noses of the Nazis. Really good read.

Liane Moriarty’s first novel, Three Wishes, follows the travails of adult triplets, so different, yet similar in many ways. Two are identical, the third is not. So alike, and so not. It takes you through a series of heart-wrenching events, seemingly unrelated, but ones that could bring a family to its breaking point and test the bonds of love and strength.

Recently I’ve read both of Erin French’s books, her cookbook, The Lost Kitchen, and since then her memoir, Finding Freedom. About her life growing up (difficult) about her coming of age mostly working in the family diner, flipper burgers and fries (and learning how much she liked to cook). Now she’s a very successful restaurant entrepreneur (The Lost Kitchen is also the name of her restaurant) in the miniscule town of Freedom, Maine. She’s not a classically trained chef, but she’s terrifically creative. See her TV series on Discover+ if you subscribe.

Migrations, by Charlotte McConaghy. To say that this book stretched my comfort zone is the least of it . . .think about a time in the not very distant future, when global warming has done it’s worst and nearly all animals are extinct. No bird song in the air or fish in the sea. There’s this woman, Franny, who is on a quest to follow the very small, but last migration of arctic terns, who fly from pole to pole each year. She somehow sees this migration as a paean to her own life (of many travails). Is this book a foretelling of what our world will be like?  There’s a lot of angst going on here in this book, with her marriage, with her career, with her perpetual need for travel . . . always needing to go somewhere else other than staying at home and finding peace and happiness there. Then this final, gritty, illegal at-sea voyage trying to find the terns. Very much worth reading if you can stomach the sadness in it. Soul-searching is a common denominator here, but then aren’t a lot of books?

Jo Jo Moyes has a bunch of books to her credit. And she writes well, with riveting stories. Everything I’ve read of hers has been good. This book, The Girl You Left Behind, is so different, so intriguing, so controversial and a fascinating historical story. There are two timelines here, one during WWI, in France, when a relatively unknown painter (in the style of Matisse) paints a picture of his wife. The war intervenes for both the husband and the wife. A German Kommandant enters the picture in this tiny berg in France. Knowing her husband is in a camp, most likely a death camp, she compromises her morals to save the picture and possibly save her husband’s life. Jump to somewhat current day and the painting, which has survived all these years, and is in the hands of a young widow who has an extraordinary connection with the painting. A lawsuit ensues having to do with art stolen by the Nazis and a convoluted trail of how the painting traveled in the intervening years. Even though this was WWI, not WWII, but the law encompasses the past. It’s a heart-wrenching story. There’s a love interest too. Well worth reading. Would make a good book club read.

Memoirs are such fun, especially if you really enjoy/love the author. This was the case as I read Rachael Ray 50, an ode to  her age. So I read online, Rachael discloses more about her personal life in this book than she has done in her many other cookbooks. I really enjoyed reading the book, as she told stories about her growing up, including some of her mother’s recipes and from other family members. She and her family eat tons of pasta, so lots of the recipes I probably won’t prepare, but okay, I still enjoyed reading all the stories.

Eli Shafak’s Island of Missing Trees. This book was just a page turner. If you’ve never read anything about the conflict in Cyprus (the island) between the Turks and the Greeks, you’re in for a big history lesson here. But, the entire story centers around a fig tree. You get into the head/brain/feelings of this big fig tree which plays a very central part of the story. You’ll learn a lot about animals, insects (ants, mosquitos, butterflies) and other flora and fauna of Cyprus. I’m not a gardener at all, but I found the story just fascinating. It chronicles the love story between a young couple, human ones, not trees, one a Greek, one a Turk and their relationship (verboten back in the 70s). It goes back and forth between the 70s (when the real conflict was going on) and current day (2010ish). Loved this book from page one to the last.

If you’re a fan of Kazuo Ishiguro, you’ll find his newest book a league apart. Klara and the Sun. It takes place in the near future when we humans can go to a store and buy an AF (artificial friend). These robotic humanoid “things” have knowledge and personalities. The book follows along as a family buys Klara, an AF with perhaps a better personality than some. She has feelings, but not very many needs. The reader never really “sees” Klara except for a few descriptions of her human-type shape. You get into Klara’s brain (her PC chip) and know how she feels about her family. Her main job is to be a friend to the daughter, Josie, who has some kind of unnamed illness. The AF must spend a part of every day in the sunshine (some kind of hidden solar unit must be within Klara). There are any number of other characters in the story (mostly human, not AFs) which add dimension. I was quite mesmerized by the story and am in awe at the creativity of this author. Loved the book. May not be for everyone. I’m not a science fiction fan at all, but this was believable. And you’ll fall in love with Klara who wants so much to be wanted and loved.

Also read Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty. Ohhh my, such a good book. I couldn’t put it down. Whatever you do, do not read the ending before you start the book. I’ve never understood people who do this. The book chronicles the day a mom just ups and disappears. The grown children come back home, in panic. The dad isn’t much help, and he becomes the prime suspect of foul play. There is no body, however. The husband and wife own a tennis school (this takes place in Australia) and the children grow up surrounded by tennis everything. The children don’t necessarily get along. The parents haven’t always gotten along, either, although through many years the parents were quite besotted with each other, to the detriment of the parenting. Much travail from all the family members. But oh what a story. It had me riveted and wondering, until the last 5 pages of so when the resolution occurs. Big surprise.

Amor Towles’ new book, The Lincoln Highway: A Novel. Literally it’s a page turner. I think it’s still on the best seller list. A young man, Emmett, is released from a youth work camp (back in the day) and is returned home (by the camp warden) following the death of his father, to find that the home they’d lived in was in foreclosure. His mother abandoned them years before. His intent is to pick up his 8-year old brother and they will head off for Texas, but then he discovers two of his work-camp-mates had hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. Oh my goodness, such a tangled web. Fascinating, and Amor Towles has such a way with words. His sentences are like blooming flower vines, with metaphors in nearly every sentence. Such a gifted writer.

If you’d like a mystery read, try Dete Meserve’s The Space Between. It’s just the kind of page-turner I enjoy – a wife returns to her home after being away on business for a few days, to find her husband missing and what he’s left for her is an unexplained bank deposit of a million dollars, a loaded Glock in the nightstand, and a video security system that’s been wiped clean. Oh there are plenty of twists and turns. Couldn’t put it down.

Read Alyson Richman’s historical novel called The Velvet Hours. Most of the book takes place in Paris, with a young woman and her grandmother, a very wealthy (but aging) woman who led a life of a semi-courtesan. Or at least a kept woman. But this grandmother was very astute and found ways to invest her money, to grow her money, and to buy very expensive goods. Then WWII intervenes, and the granddaughter has to close up her grandmother’s apartment, leaving it much the way it had been throughout her grandmother’s life, to escape the Nazis. Years go by, and finally answers are sought and found. An intriguing book, based on the author’s experience with an apartment that had been locked up similarly for decades, also in Paris.

Susan Meissner is one of my favorite authors. This book, The Nature of Fragile Things tells a very unusual story. About a young Irish immigrant, desperate to find a way out of poverty, answers an ad for a mail order bride. She moves to San Francisco and becomes the bride, and mother to the man’s young child. But all is not right with the world. Sophie senses an undercurrent about her husband’s life. He’s elusive, leaves her alone for days on end, doesn’t share her bed, and she begins to feel the only reason he wanted a wife was to care for the child. Then the world turns upside down with the 1906 earthquake. And then there’s more. . . and more. . . very gripping read.

Also read Rachel Hauck’s The Writing Desk. You could call this a romance. A young professional, a writer of one successful book, has writer’s block. Then she’s asked to go to Florida to help her mother (from whom she’s mostly estranged) through chemo. She goes, hoping she can find new inspiration. Oh the various twists this book can give you. There’s a guy she meets, but she’s keeping her boyfriend at home on the string, sort of. Then there’s the desk itself, that has history. Oh my, does it have history. Really interesting story, light reading.

One of my book clubs has us reading Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library: A Novel. What a premise for a book. About a library you can whiz to in the middle of the night and discover other lives you could have lived. And experience them. To find out the answers to those questions we ask ourselves sometimes, “I wonder what would have happened if I’d . . . .” taken that other job, gone out with that guy, taken that trip. That kind of thing. You’ll find out what happened to one particular woman who thought she had nothing left to live for. Good read. Very different. A bit space-agey. Sort of time travel, but not really. But yes, maybe.

James Shipman has written an intriguing book, It Is Well: A Novel, about a man who has lost his wife. And about a woman who has lost her husband. But their relationship stalls, big time, because the guy made a promise to his wife, and he feels duty-bound to honor it. There is much angst about it all. Much wringing of hands, some tears on her part. Nice book; good read.

I wrote up a post about this book: Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World: The Twin Towers, Windows on the World, and the Rebirth of New York by Tom Roston. Go read the full write-up if you’re interested. The book is a complete history of the famous restaurant on the 107th floor of one of the Twin Towers.

Also recently finished The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish. The book goes backwards and forwards in time, from the 1600s in London with the day-to-day lives of a group of Jews (who had to be very careful about how they worshiped) to current day as an old house is discovered to hold a treasure-trove of historical papers. The story is mostly about a young woman, educated, a Jew, who is the scribe (in secret) to an aging religious leader (in a time when women would have been verboten to hold such a position). And about her own curiosity about her religion and how she eventually begins writing letters (using a male pseudonym) to various Jewish leaders abroad, questioning their religious beliefs. The book is extraordinarily long – not that that kept me from turning a single page! – and complex with the cast of characters from the 1600s and the cast in today’s world of highly competitive experts analyzing the ancient papers. Altogether riveting book. Loved it from beginning to end.

I’m forever reading historical novels. The Lost Jewels: A Novel by Kirsty Manning is a mystery of sorts, going back in time in London in the time of aristocrats and their jewels (pearls, diamonds, gems of all kinds) sometimes made it into the hands of the digger or a maid. Then to current time as a young woman tries to ferret her family history and particularly about some old-old jewelry that they can’t quite figure out – how the grandmother came to have them. Fascinating tale.

Not for the faint of heart, Boat of Stone: A Novel by Maureen Earl tells the true tale of some misplaced Jews at the tale-end of WWII who ended up on Mauritius.

Colleen Hoover has written quite a book, It Ends with Us: A Novel, with a love story being the central theme, but again, this book is not for everyone – it can be an awakening for any reader not acquainted with domestic violence and how such injury can emerge as innocent (sort of) but then becomes something else. There is graphic detail here.

Erin Bartels wrote quite a complex story in The Words between Us: A Novel. We go alongside a young girl as she goes to high school, trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to be anonymous (because her mother and father are both in prison), taking on a fake name. She meets a guy and they share a bond of reading and some romance. Years go by and she’s now owner of a failing independent bookstore (and married, or separated) and suddenly begins receiving a used book (that she recognizes) every day from a different place in the country. A message for sure, but where will it lead? Yes, it’s a romance. Lots of introspection going on. Enjoyed it.

Nicolas Barreau’s novel Love Letters from Montmartre: A Novel  is very poignant, very sweet book. Seems like I’ve read several books lately about grieving; this one has a charming ending, but as anyone who has gone through a grave loss of someone dear knows, you can’t predict day to day, week to week. “Snap out of it,” people say, thinking they’re helping.

Another very quirky book, that happens to contain a lot of historical truth is The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World: A Novel by Harry N. Abrams. Set in Japan just after the tsunami 10 years ago when 18,000 people died. At a private park miles away, some very special people installed a phone booth, with a phone (that didn’t work) at the edge of the park, and the survivors of the tsunami began wending their way there to “talk” to their deceased loved ones. Very poignant story.

No question, the most quirky book I’ve read of late, a recommendation from my friend Karen, West with Giraffes: A Novel by Lynda Rutledge. Back in the 1930s a small group of giraffes were brought across the Atlantic from Africa to New York, destined for the then-growing San Diego Zoo. The story is of their journey across the United States in the care of two oh-so-different people, both with a mission.

Riveting story of post-WWII- Japan in Ana Johns novel, The Woman in the White Kimono: A Novel. About a young Japanese girl who falls in love with an American serviceman.

Also read Rishi Reddi’s novel, Passage West: A Novel with a very different take on the migration of Indians (East India) to the California agricultural lands east of San Diego during the 1920s and 30s.

Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but the Mary Morris book, A Very Private Diary: A Nurse in Wartime tells the true day to day life of a young Irish girl who becomes a nurse, in England, France and Belgium in the midst of WWII and immediately after the war.

Could hardly put down Krueger’s book, This Tender Land: A Novel. Tells the harrowing story of a young boy, Odie, (and his brother Albert) who became orphans back in the 30s. At first there is a boarding school, part of an Indian (Native American) agreement, though they are not Indian. They escape, and they are “on the run.”

Just finished Kristin Hannah’s latest book, The Four Winds: A Novel. What a story. One I’ve never read about, although I certainly have heard about the “dust bowl” years when there was a steady migration of down-and-out farmers from the Midwest, to California, for what they hoped to be the American Dream. It tells the story of one particular family, the Martinellis, the grandparents, their son, his wife, and their two children.

Brit Bennett has written quite a book, The Vanishing Half: A Novel. It’s a novel, yet I’m sure there are such real-life situations. Twin girls are born to a young black woman in the South. Into a town (that probably doesn’t exist) that prides itself on being light-skinned blacks.

What a book. The Only Woman in the Room: A Novel by Marie Benedict. A novelized biography of Hedy Lamarr, the famous actress.  Very much worth reading.

Also read The Secret of the Chateau: Gripping and heartbreaking historical fiction with a mystery at its heart by Kathleen McGurl. There are two stories here. The historical part is just prior to and up to the French Revolution, and the second in current day as a group of friends purchase a crumbling chateau. Very interesting. I love historical novels like this, and this one in particular does have quite a mystery involved, too.

Also finished reading Sue Monk Kidd’s recent book, The Book of Longings: A Novel. It is a book that might challenge some Christian readers, as it tells the tale of Jesus marrying a woman named Mary. I loved the book from the first word to the last one. The book is believable to me, even though the Bible never says one way or the other that Jesus ever married. It’s been presumed he never did. But maybe he did?

Jeanine Cummins has written an eye-opener, American Dirt. A must read. Oh my goodness. I will never, ever, ever look at Mexican (and further southern) migrants, particularly those who are victims of the vicious cartels, without sympathy. It tells the story of a woman and her young son, who were lucky enough to hide when the cartel murdered every member of her family – her husband, her mother, and many others. It’s about her journey and escape to America.

Also read JoJo Moyes’ book, The Giver of Stars. Oh gosh, what a GREAT book. Alice joins the Horseback Librarians in the rural south.

Frances Liardet has written a blockbuster tale, We Must Be Brave. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Although the scene is WWII England, this book is not really about the war. It’s about the people at home, waiting it out, struggling with enough food, clothing and enough heat.

William Kent Krueger wrote Ordinary Grace. From amazon: a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God. It’s a coming of age story.

Follow the River: A Novel by James Alexander Thom. This one is also based on the history of a woman (married, pregnant) who was captured by the Shawnee, during the early settlement days east of the Ohio River, about 1755. And her eventual escape.

A Column of Fire: A Novel by Ken Follett. It takes place in the 1500s, in England, and has everything to do with the war between the Catholics and the Protestants, that raged throughout Europe during that time, culminating in the Spanish Inquisition.

My Name Is Resolute by Nancy Turner. She’s the author of another book of some renown, These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 (P.S.). Resolute is what I’m discussing here. It’s fiction, but based some on a true story. Resolute, as a young girl from a privileged life on a plantation in Jamaica, was taken captive by slavers, eventually ended up in Colonial America.

The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape by James Rebanks. This is a memoir, so a true story, of a young man growing up in the Lake District of Northern England, who becomes a shepherd. Not just any-old shepherd – actually a well educated one. He knows how to weave a story.

 

Tasting Spoons

My blog's namesake - small, old and some very dented engraved silver plated tea spoons that belonged to my mother-in-law, and I use them to taste my food as I'm cooking.

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Posted in Fish, Grilling, on August 18th, 2022.

This may be my new favorite way to fix fish.

A post from Carolyn. A few weeks ago I was watching Ina Garten’s new TV show, Be My Guest (I think that’s what it’s called), and she had Julianna Margulies visit her, in Ina’s lovely Long Island kitchen. I’ve been such a fan of Julianna Margulies since she was on The Good Wife. So sorry that show ended. I didn’t know that Julianna loves to cook, and she prepared halibut for Ina.

Julianna explained that this is her signature company dinner entrée. With that kind of a recommendation, I knew before she started that it would be something I’d prepare. They had the most beautiful 1-inch thick halibut steaks, probably the kind you can’t get unless you go to a fish market or caught the fish yourself and asked for 1-inch thick slices. My Costco has fresh halibut right now, so that was the impetus for making it. And let me tell you, this preparation is so very EASY! The down side is that halibut is ferociously expensive. I bought a small piece (that I was able to get 4 small servings out of) and after making this, I vacuum-sealed the other three portions – with a little plastic wrap packet of the herb butter stuck on top of the halibut.

First you make up an herb butter. What I had (fresh) was sage and chives (both survived last winter and continue to provide this summer) and Italian parsley. You also add garlic to the mix.

There at left you can see the various components. Sage leaves have such a different texture to them.

The butter needs to be at room temp and you carefully chop up the herbs and garlic and add it to the butter. With a bit of lemon zest too. Mix it well and set it aside. If time permits, do this an hour or so before you’re ready to begin cooking the halibut.

The halibut is salted and peppered before starting. And a note of caution – the rest of your meal needs to be completely ready to go and serve. You’ll have no time for other kitchen prep once you start the halibut. The stovetop grill pan is heated to high/medium-high and you drizzle a bit of EVOO on it before laying on the halibut steaks. At that point set a timer. My halibut steaks were about 3/4″ thick (not the 1-inch called for) so I knew they would cook in less time. Do set a timer – I know I said this before – but it’s worth repeating. The recipe indicates you melt the herb butter at this point – I didn’t, as the herb butter was so soft it was almost melted in the bowl! Once the fish is turned over (it should have a beautiful golden glow on it) you turn OFF the heat and slather on, or pour most of the herb butter on top of the halibut. If you used the soft butter, it melts in seconds. Cover the pan with a lid or a piece of foil and set a timer again. This time you set it for 3 minutes (if your steaks are 1″ thick). I set mine for 2 minutes. Everything else was ready to plate, so I slid the halibut off onto a plate (or heated platter if you’re doing several) and poured what little herb butter was in the pan itself (my grill pan does have a handle) and the remainder I had set aside. It melted immediately. Sprinkle with lemon zest, the little curl-type. Serve.

What’s GOOD: oh my, so good. But then, I love the lovely big flakes of fish that come from halibut. The fish was beautiful to look at and serve, (the lemon zest on top adds a lot – that happened to be something Ina added to the recipe) and so tender and moist. This cooking method is genius. I’d serve this to guests anytime. Just know you’ll be making a big dent in your wallet to buy several hunks of 1″ halibut steaks.

What’s NOT: only that you want to make this with halibut (or maybe sea bass). All expensive. I’ll try it with cod too – it might be nice.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook file (click link to open recipe)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Halibut with Herbed Butter and Lemon Zest

Recipe By: Ina Garten’s show, Be My Guest, from Julianna Margulies
Servings: 4

HERB BUTTER:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter — softened
2 garlic cloves — minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves — minced fine
1 tablespoon Italian parsley — minced, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh chives — minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme — minced
1 tablespoon fresh sage — minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest — grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
HALIBUT:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds halibut fillets — (6 to 8-ounces each) about 1″ thick, skinless
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons lemon zest — for garnish

NOTE:  If your halibut is less than 1″ thick, adjust cooking time down so it won’t overcook (i.e., 3/4″ would need 2 minutes each side)
1. HERB BUTTER (if time permits, prepare butter one hour ahead): in a small bowl, combine the butter, garlic, chopped herbs, and lemon zest plus salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly and transfer to a small saucepan and set aside.
2. HALIBUT: Heat the olive oil in a grill pan over high heat. Sprinkle the halibut generously on both sides with salt and pepper. When the grill pan is hot, place the fish on the pan, and cook for about 3 minutes on one side. Do not move the fish.
3. Meanwhile, heat the herb butter just until melted.
4. Turn the fish over, lower the heat to medium, and pour most of the melted herb butter over the fish. Cover the pan with a lid or a piece of aluminum foil, turn off the heat, and allow to sit for 3 minutes.
5. SERVE: place the fish on a heated serving platter, spoon the herb butter from the pan over the fish, then add any reserved herb butter you set aside, sprinkle with extra parsley and lemon zest. Serve hot.
Per Serving: 476 Calories; 33g Fat (62.4% calories from fat); 43g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 172mg Cholesterol; 159mg Sodium; trace Total Sugars; 11mcg Vitamin D; 45mg Calcium; 1mg Iron; 1026mg Potassium; 548mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Fish, on July 17th, 2022.

Gosh, so very easy – grab some chives, garlic and lemon and you’re ready to go. And be prepared for some raves when it’s served.

A post from Carolyn. There are several recipes here on my blog for slow-roasted fish. Particularly salmon. I love how it turns out – just barely cooked and still very moist. Certainly it’s cooked through although you won’t get a sear or a brown crust or anything. I always have some portions of salmon in my freezer (vacuum-sealed) so I defrosted one of them (above) and grabbed this recipe to try. It’s from Cook’s Country. My granddaughter Taylor asked if I’d put some garlic in it (she loves garlic – so do I) so I said sure, will do. The original recipe did not have garlic, and go easy on the garlic – because it’s a raw kind of pour-over sauce and raw garlic can be very sharp.

While the salmon was in a slow oven (250°) I mixed up the scrumptious lemony sauce which took just a couple of minutes to do. I have chives in my garden and I always have lemons from my trees. And EVOO, of course. Then I added the very finely minced garlic to it and let it sit for about 30 minutes while the salmon finished cooking. You want the fish in the thickest part to get to 125°F. The recipe calls for 1 1/2″ thick salmon. Mine was barely an inch thick at the thickest part, plus I was using a ceramic dish (conducts heat better than glass), so I began testing the temp at 30 minutes. It wasn’t quite done, so it needed another 6 minutes and it was perfect.

The sauce is poured over the hot fish and allowed to rest for 5 minutes. Done. Cut into servings and drizzle any remaining sauce on top or over side dishes like rice or potatoes, or pasta. Next time I make this I’m going to double the sauce and have it ready to add to whatever side I decide to make – like carrots or Brussels sprouts even. Broccoli. Any/all of those would be lovely with it.

What’s GOOD: oh my, the lemony flavor is marvelous. The garlic didn’t overwhelm, although it could if you used too much. Be careful about that. Absolutely a keeper recipe. I’ll be making that one again and again. So easy. A great dish, even, for company.

What’s NOT: nothing at all. So very simple to make. Don’t overdo the garlic.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook file (click link to open recipe)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Slow Roasted Salmon with Garlic, Chives and Lemon

Recipe By: Adapted slightly from Cook’s Country
Servings: 6

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt — divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 pounds salmon fillets — about 1½ inches thick, farm-raised (see instructions if using thinner salmon)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh chives — minced
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 small garlic clove — very finely minced, or grated (optional)

NOTES: You can substitute granulated sugar for the brown sugar, if desired. If a 2½-pound salmon fillet is unavailable, you can use six 6- to 8-ounce skinless salmon fillets instead. In step 1, sprinkle both sides of the fillets evenly with the sugar mixture and arrange them side by side in the baking dish so they are touching. The cooking time remains the same. We prefer farm-raised salmon here; if using wild salmon, reduce the cooking time to 45 to 50 minutes, or until the salmon registers 120 degrees. If you’re using table salt, use ¾ teaspoon (½ teaspoon in step 1 and ¼ teaspoon in step 3). Use a glass baking dish, but if using a ceramic baking dish or metal pan, check the temperature of the salmon 10 minutes early. The thickness of the salmon will affect baking time, so try to purchase salmon that’s 1½ inches thick. If you want more of the lemony sauce, double the recipe and drizzle it on top of rice or mashed potatoes, or even oven-roasted vegetables.
1 Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250°F. Combine sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper in small bowl. Sprinkle salmon all over with sugar mixture.
2 Place salmon, flesh side up, in 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Roast until center is still translucent when checked with tip of paring knife and thickest part registers 125 degrees (for medium-rare), 55 to 60 minutes. If fish is thinner, begin checking at 30 minutes, and add increments of 5 minutes until the fish reaches temperature.
3 Meanwhile, combine oil, chives, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt in bowl.
4 Remove dish from oven and immediately pour oil mixture evenly over salmon. Let rest for 5 minutes. Using spatula and spoon, portion salmon and sauce onto serving platter. Stir together any juices left in dish and spoon over salmon. Serve.
Per Serving: 318 Calories; 16g Fat (46.9% calories from fat); 38g Protein; 3g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 140mg Cholesterol; 674mg Sodium; 2g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 27mg Calcium; 1mg Iron; 827mg Potassium; 537mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Fish, Grilling, Miscellaneous, on July 9th, 2022.


A post from Karen. Between late spring and early summer our farmer’s market briefly provides a delectable treat if you know how to use it. Green flower shoots of garlic, referred to as garlic ramps or garlic scapes. Farmers remove these flowers so the hard neck garlic plant can put more energy into producing larger bulbs of garlic. And instead of tossing them into the compost pile, they are much better served in our kitchens in any number of delectable ways.

I like to create a Pesto that I can then use in a number of ways. Do taste test a bit of raw Garlic Scape before you begin. They can really vary in how sharp or mellow their flavor is. You can adjust how much oil, salt and spices (Za’atar) you use accordingly. Pouring olive oil (a thin layer) over the top of the finished pesto helps to “seal” the pesto to prevent spoiling.

An example of how I used the pesto – try some Copper River king salmon filets. We slathered on some of the pesto to coat the top of the fish which was set on a cedar plank. I sprinkled some red pepper flakes, and a little additional salt and fresh ground pepper on top. My DH (Powell) did his magic with it on the BBQ and pulled it off when it was 120°. The finished salmon temp will continue to rise a few more degrees as it rests, before serving. I topped it with a few red onions I had pickled for about 20 minutes in rice wine vinegar and enjoyed this combo too.

Other uses – change up your Caprese salad with a scoop of garlic ramp pesto as a base for your dressing. Add a generous amount to your next batch of Colcannon (Irish mashed potatoes). I had three dear friends who don’t normally eat mashed potatoes go back for seconds and thirds of these! Melt a spoonful in your skillet before making scrambled eggs or sautéed veggies. Use as a base for gremolata or green Chimichurri sauce. I’d love to hear what you come up with!

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Garlic Scape Pesto

Recipe By: Created by Karen T
Servings: 8

10 ounces garlic scapes — cleaned and cut into 1″ pieces
1 cup EVOO — approximate
1/2 tablespoon Himalayan red salt, or substitute other salt
1 tablespoon za’atar — or substitute red pepper flakes, cumin, ground coriander, thyme and paprika
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
zest from one large lemon

1. Add garlic scapes and salt to a food processor or blender and pulse until finely chopped.
2. Drizzle in the olive oil and lemon juice to create a paste. Mine was pretty thick.
3. At this point, store half of the mixture in a glass jar and top it with olive oil. You could also freeze this mixture. With the remaining mixture, add spices and lemon zest and pulse to combine. Store in another glass jar and top with olive oil. Seal and store in the refrigerator.
Per Serving: 240 Calories; 27g Fat (99.2% calories from fat); trace Protein; trace Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 389mg Sodium; trace Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 1mg Calcium; trace Iron; 6mg Potassium; trace Phosphorus.

Posted in easy, Fish, on March 1st, 2022.

Want to make salmon in a simple pan sauce? So easy and tasty.

A post from Carolyn. In trying to make salmon about once a week at my house, I search through the untried recipes in my file and this one popped up because I had all the ingredients on hand. That’s a win in my book!

The original recipe used lime juice, but I had lemon, so I used what I had. It would likely be even better with lime juice merely because of the coconut milk – they seem to make a common marriage in lots of recipes. Because I knew this would come together in a hurry, I got everything ready before I started. The veggies that went along with it (zucchini and yellow squash) plus a side of rice I started before I even began the salmon. It came together so very quickly. There is garlic, ginger and lemongrass (I had some in a tube) plus a tiny bit of brown sugar, and you could use any number of types of hot chili paste – I used Thai red chili paste (very little). One extra addition was a tiny splash of Vietnamese fish sauce which added a little more umami flavor. I totally forgot to keep some of the lemon zest for the top – – oh well.

My only caution – do NOT overcook the salmon. I had two pieces (one for my granddaughter Taylor and the thinner one for me) and one was much thicker than the other, so they required very different cooking times. A thin fillet as you see in the picture above will take just a couple of minutes on each side to cook through. Just be careful about that. I added some additional lemon juice at the end which gave the sauce even better flavor.

What’s GOOD: how easy this was, beginning to end. Loved the sauce that flooded over into the rice. Altogether yum.

What’s NOT: nothing that I can think of.

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Poached Salmon in Coconut Lemon Sauce

Recipe By: Adapted slightly from Recipe Tin Eats blog
Serving Size: 4

24 ounces salmon fillets
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons neutral oil — divided use
2 cloves garlic — finely grated
2 teaspoons fresh ginger — finely grated
1 teaspoon lemongrass paste — or use fresh
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon Thai red chili paste
8 ounces coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons lemon zest — or lime zest
lemon juice to squeeze on top (or lime juice)
cilantro leaves for garnish

1. Sprinkle both sides of salmon with salt and pepper.
2. Heat 1 T oil in a non stick pan or well seasoned skillet over medium high heat. Add salmon, skin side up, and sear for just 1 1/2 minutes until golden. Turn salmon over and cook the other side just for 1 minute, then remove onto a plate (should still be raw inside).
3. Turn heat down to medium low and allow skillet to cool.
4. Heat remaining 1 T oil. Add garlic, ginger and lemongrass. Cook until garlic is light golden, about a minute.
5. Add sugar and cook for 20 seconds until it becomes caramelized, then stir in chili paste. Add coconut milk and stir, scraping the bottom of the skillet to dissolve any bits stuck on the base into the sauce. Stir in fish sauce, increase heat to medium and simmer for 2 minutes.
6. Place salmon into the sauce, lower heat and simmer gently for 2-4 minutes, or until just cooked. Do not overcook. Salmon is done when the internal temp reaches 135°F. Remove salmon, stir in lemon or lime zest and juice to taste. Adjust salt to taste with fish sauce.
7. Serve salmon alongside noodles or rice. Spoon sauce over the salmon, garnish with citrus zest and cilantro leaves if using.
Per Serving: 408 Calories; 27g Fat (58.6% calories from fat); 36g Protein; 6g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 126mg Cholesterol; 448mg Sodium; 4g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 36mg Calcium; 2mg Iron; 909mg Potassium; 542mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Fish, on December 29th, 2021.

A very simple salmon preparation worthy of a weeknight dinner or for guests.

A post from Carolyn. I try to make salmon at least once a week – not that I always succeed but I try. So I’m always on the lookout for a new recipe or method to prepare it. This recipe has been in my recipe arsenal for a long time, so my notes say. It was originally published in Fine Cooking (does that magazine exist anymore?). In the photo you can barely see some lemon zest and/or orange zest. There’s also juice from both, Champagne vinegar and parsley and minced shallot. The vinaigrette is quite easy to prepare as long as you have the fresh orange and fresh lemon on hand. I always have a shallot or two, and usually I have cilantro (what the recipe called for) but I had Italian parsley instead.

The salmon is simply dressed with EVOO, salt and pepper and baked at 400° for 5-7 minutes (depending on the thickness). Use an instant read thermometer – remove it when it reaches 140°F. Watch it carefully, as it goes from 120 to 140 in a mere minute. I like my salmon just barely cooked through, when it’s still soft, not when it becomes a dryer texture. If the salmon is thinner, obviously it will cook in 4-5 minutes at that temp. So, my warning: WATCH IT CAREFULLY SO YOU DON’T OVERCOOK IT!

Meanwhile, you prepare the vinaigrette and let it sit for whatever minutes you have available. I made it while the salmon was in the oven, but next time I think I’d make the vinaigrette FIRST, so I didn’t feel panicky at the last minute hoping I’d get it ready in time for salmon to come out of the oven. My salmon wasn’t all that thick, so it took fewer minutes.

Once the salmon is out of the oven, serve immediately OR tent it with foil for a minute or two at the most. Serve with the vinaigrette poured over the top. You’ll probably have leftover vinaigrette, so you can serve the extra at the table, or save for another use. The vinaigrette goes very nicely with rice if it happens to ooze over to the rice on your plate. Just sayin’ . . . .[cheeky grin here].

What’s GOOD: how easy this is – providing you have a fresh orange and lemon on hand. The vinaigrette is so very tasty and nice on the salmon.

What’s NOT: nothing, really. Altogether lovely salmon.

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Baked Salmon with Citrus Vinaigrette

Recipe By: From Fine Cooking
Serving Size: 4

CITRUS VINAIGRETTE:
1 medium shallot — finely diced
1 1/2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar — or white-wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest — finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon orange zest — finely chopped
Kosher salt
SALMON:
2 pounds salmon fillets — cut into 4 portions
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons cilantro — chopped, for garnish

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400ºF.
2. In a small bowl, combine the shallot, vinegar, lemon juice, orange juice, lemon zest, orange zest, and a pinch of salt. Let the mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Whisk the oil into this mixture, taste, adjust seasoning and add another drop or two of vinegar, if needed. Set aside.
3. Season the salmon with salt, put it on an oiled rimmed baking sheet, and drizzle a thin stream of oil on top. Bake until it’s done to your liking, about 6 minutes for medium, 8 minutes for medium well, keeping in mind that it will continue to cook after it comes out of the oven. Check the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer, and remove the salmon from the oven when the temperature reaches 140°F.
4. Transfer the salmon to four dinner plates, spoon about 2 Tbs. of the vinaigrette onto each portion, sprinkle the cilantro on top, and serve.
Per Serving: 338 Calories; 15g Fat (42.3% calories from fat); 46g Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 168mg Cholesterol; 115mg Sodium; 1g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 29mg Calcium; 1mg Iron; 998mg Potassium; 645mg Phosphorus.

Posted in easy, Fish, on October 1st, 2021.

It’s not often that I repeat a recipe, but this one is just too good to forget.

Way back when, I posted this recipe, one that came from a cooking class with Phillis Carey. And as an aside, Phillis still isn’t doing any in-person cooking classes, and I’ve decided that if I can’t attend a class and taste the food, well, I don’t want to go to an online class. Phillis always made me think outside my box, serving ordinary food but with a different twist or ingredients that I might not have matched with one thing or another. Leeks and salmon are one of those combinations, but I’m telling you true, this is a match made in heaven. My friend Linda T, who lives about an hour south of me, is a big fan of my blog (we’ve been friends for over 30 years), and it may not be a stretch to say that this recipe is one of her all-time favorites.

One of the things I like about it is how EASY and quick it is. All made in one pan. First it’s the chopped leeks (I buy Trader Joe’s because they’re already cleaned – all I have to do it trim the ends and chop) gently sautéed in butter. Do this over low heat so they don’t burn (like mine did, see photo above). Then the salted and peppered salmon is laid on top of the leek bed, and you add in some dry white wine (I used vermouth), grated orange rind, thyme and some cream. The salmon is very gently simmered (covered) for about 8-10 minutes (depending on the thickness). I used my instant-read thermometer and it was thoroughly cooked in 8 minutes. If using wild salmon, 5-7 minutes probably. Meanwhile I’d cooked some rice with a tad of lime juice and more orange zest, and a pan of sautéed zucchini too. The original recipe called for a little tiny bit of sugar, but I didn’t use any, and I can’t say that it made a difference. I did have to add a little more cream, as most of it boiled away during the gentle simmering. Add water, cream, or a bit more wine if yours dries up. I’d made a half of a recipe and 2 leeks needed a bit more liquid to make it all come together.

Dinner was prepped and done in about 25 minutes total time. My granddaughter Taylor nearly licked the plate. Seriously. I did, too. Fortunately, I made enough for 2 meals, so we’ll have leftovers in a night or two. This is certainly a meal fit for company, and easy enough for a weeknight family meal also. Do make pasta or rice on the side to sop up any sauce remaining on the plate.

What’s GOOD: first off, it’s all about the leeks. Once cooked and simmered, they take on a very mellow flavor, but they add startlingly lovely accents to this sauce. Altogether delicious.

What’s NOT: only that you must have leeks and cream on hand to make this work.

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Salmon Fillets with Orange and Leeks

Recipe By: Phillis Carey, cooking instructor
Serving Size: 6

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large leeks — halved, white and pale green parts only, sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
6 pieces salmon fillets
1 teaspoon orange zest
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup dry white wine — or orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh chives — cut in 1-inch lengths, garnish

1. Melt butter in heavy, large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and sprinkle with sugar and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté 4 minutes. Reduce heat, cover, and cook until very soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
2. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Arrange atop leeks and sprinkle with orange zest. Add cream and wine. Cover pot again and cook until fish is opaque, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer fish to plates and keep warm. If using thinner (wild) salmon, cook for 4-8 minutes, depending on thickness. Fish is done when the internal temp reaches 135°F.
3. Boil sauce until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over fish. Garnish with chives.
Per Serving: 678 Calories; 32g Fat (43.6% calories from fat); 82g Protein; 10g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 342mg Cholesterol; 219mg Sodium; 4g Total Sugars; trace Vitamin D; 103mg Calcium; 4mg Iron; 1849mg Potassium; 1164mg Phosphorus.

Posted in easy, Fish, on June 2nd, 2021.

EASY! Have salmon? Asparagus? Cream? Yogurt, cilantro, ginger and curry powder? Plus some red curry paste (Thai)? You can make this in a jiffy. 

A post from Carolyn. What I had on hand was a nice, big piece of salmon. And I had asparagus. But no recipe. I decided to “wing it,” and I’m so glad I did. I was in the mood for curry, and this was so very easy to make. Of late, I’ve wanted to simmer fish over very low heat on the stovetop rather than baking or grilling it – mainly because I love the smooth silkiness of salmon that’s been poached. And I overcook fish too often when it’s oven baked or grilled. It’s a turn-off to me to eat a piece of overcooked (aka: dry) fish. This way, it’s moist, tender, and just so easy to eat that way.

First I dug out my jar of ghee, and slowly warmed a dollop of it in the pan while I chopped up half an onion and added it. Then I grated some fresh ginger and added that into the mix. Then I minced up some fresh garlic, sprinkled in a bit of salt and pepper. Curry powder and red curry paste were added, along with Greek yogurt (don’t use nonfat) and some cream. I let that simmer for about 5 minutes over very low heat.

The slab of salmon was added, and I spooned the sauce over the top of the salmon, put on a lid and let it heat up, allowing it simmer for about 6 minutes. I checked how it was doing, and when I could still see that the salmon wasn’t quite cooked through, I took it out. I knew the salmon would continue to cook as I continued with the dish.

The asparagus I prepped differently – I left a few spears whole (but trimmed), and the rest of them I cut up into little pieces. Both were added to the sauce still in the pan. Once the pan came up to a simmer again, I put the lid back on and let it bubble away, slowly for about 4 minutes. I tested the asparagus and when a knife would slip easily into the asparagus, it was done. I removed the asparagus to the serving plate(s), then poured the sauce over the salmon and added a few sprigs of cilantro. Done. The whole meal took about 20 minutes. Yeah! Serve with rice on the side too – I didn’t – but it would be great to sop up all the rest of the sauce on the plate.

What’s GOOD: how easy this was – start to finish, about 20 minutes. Really lovely, subtle curry heat and lots of flavor. Asparagus was crisp-tender and went well with the fish. I have leftovers and will do nothing but reheat in the microwave. Because the fish was just slightly under-done, I think the fish will reheat without overcooking it. This recipe is a keeper.

What’s NOT: nothing, unless you don’t have all the ingredients.

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Salmon in Creamy Curry Sauce with Asparagus

Recipe By: My own concoction
Serving Size: 2

1 tablespoon ghee
1/2 yellow onion — diced
1 large clove garlic — minced
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger — finely minced salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon Thai red chili paste
3/4 cup Greek yogurt, full-fat — unflavored, unsweetened
1/2 cup heavy cream
12 ounces salmon
6 ounces asparagus
2 tablespoons cilantro — chopped, for garnish

1. In a large skillet, melt ghee and bring it up to medium heat. Add onion and ginger. Cook for 2-4 minutes until onion is translucent. Add garlic, salt and pepper. Add chili paste, curry powder and stir until combined. Add yogurt and cream and stir until mixture comes to a low simmer.
2. Add salmon (leave whole or cut into serving pieces) and spoon sauce over top of salmon. Bring back to a low simmer; cover and continue cooking for about 6 minutes, until outer edges of salmon are cooked through. Interior of salmon may still be “rare,” but will continue to cook once it’s removed from the pan.
3. Remove salmon and set aside.
4. Cut half of asparagus into small pieces, leaving 4-6 spears whole. Add to simmering cream sauce; cover pan and keep on low heat until asparagus is cooked through, but not soft, about 4-6 minutes (depending on the thickness of the asparagus).
5. Cut the salmon into serving pieces and spoon sauce over the top, along with the spears and chopped up asparagus on the side. Garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately.
Per Serving: 594 Calories; 41g Fat (62.1% calories from fat); 42g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 244mg Cholesterol; 194mg Sodium; 5g Total Sugars; 1mcg Vitamin D; 95mg Calcium; 3mg Iron; 1029mg Potassium; 577mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Fish, on March 6th, 2021.

moroccan_fish_tomato_mint_sauce

A very quick dinner entrée – make it with any type of white fish or salmon.

Salmon features frequently here in my kitchen and on this blog. I do love it, but was tired of it. So I reached into the freezer for a piece of mahi-mahi. I wish I could buy fresh fish more easily. We do have a lovely (high end) fish market that’s about 10 miles away. It always seems too far to go to buy a single piece of fish. Even though I don’t love eating fish that’s been frozen, I do it anyway, mostly for salmon. I have cod and mahi-mahi in my freezer now, so you may see some new recipes for both in coming months. I’m not willing to buy fish at my local grocery store. I just don’t trust it – that it’s been in the case for too long, and we’ve all read the horror stories of markets rinsing “old” fish in some solution and repacking it for sale. And sometimes when you walk into a grocery store you can smell the fish from 100 feet away. Always a bad sign to me.

Anyway, I’d intended to make this recipe with salmon, the way the original recipe had been written. But it ended up being used with the white fish instead, and it was lovely. The recipe meant the topping to be more of a relish (to me relish means raw, does it to you?) but in this case it was cooked some, so I call that a sauce. A chunky one, though.

The red onion was cooked thoroughly, and then I added the tomatoes and because I cooked things a little out of order (from the recipe, I mean). I just mushed the sauce/relish off on one side of the skillet, pulled the skillet over so only the fish was over the burner. The fish took little time at all, even though it was about an inch thick. I covered the pan so it would steam a bit. The sauce was just great – loved the flavor of it. I served it with pan-seared mushrooms.

What’s GOOD: it was a treat to have something other than salmon. Liked the tender, flaky mahi-mahi, and loved the sauce. The predominant flavor was orange – a good thing. I’m sure the ginger added flavor – so did the capers, the mint and the citrus zests too – all of it contributed to umami flavors in the sauce. I have leftover sauce which I’ll use on something. It would be good on chicken too, I think. It’s also very low carb, and low calorie.

What’s NOT: can’t think of anything, unless you don’t enjoy the smell of fish in your kitchen. I suppose you could grill the fish outside and serve the sauce on top if that’s something you’d prefer to do.

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Moroccan Fish with Tomato-Orange-Mint Sauce

Recipe By: Adapted from The Complete Step by Step Low Carb Cookbook, Jan 2005
Serving Size: 4

1/2 teaspoon salt — divided
24 ounces mahi-mahi — fillets (6-ounces each)
2 teaspoons olive oil — divided
1 3/4 cups red onion — chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger — peeled and minced
2 cups tomato — coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro — reserving some for garnish

1. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt evenly over fillets. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add fillets; cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove from pan; set aside, and keep warm.
2. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan; place over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion and ginger; sauté 2 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, tomato, and next 6 ingredients; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning.
3. Return fillets to pan, nestling fillets in tomato mixture; cook 3-4 minutes until fish is medium-rare or to desired degree of doneness. Cover pan for part of this cooking time. Use an instant read thermometer, and remove fish once it reaches 145°F. It will continue to cook when you place fillets on individual plates. Stir chopped mint and cilantro into tomato mixture; spoon mixture on top and around each fillet. Garnish with additional sprigs of cilantro. If using some raw onion and fresh tomato, sprinkle that on top.
Per Serving: 233 Calories; 4g Fat (15.0% calories from fat); 34g Protein; 16g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 124mg Cholesterol; 557mg Sodium; 10g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 78mg Calcium; 3mg Iron; 1188mg Potassium; 308mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Fish, on January 20th, 2021.

salmon_tomato_caper_vinaigrette

What an easy entrée! Easy to make and amazing flavor.

Remember, I’ve mentioned that sometimes after I make something my fingers just can’t wait to get to the keyboard to write up a post? This is one of those times. What looks to be a relatively pedestrian kind of preparation for salmon, turns out to be something quite special. The recipe comes from Ted Allen, one of the founders (I think) of Food Network. The recipe was written up in Food & Wine, and as the story went there, with testers sampling the salmon, what was expected to be something ordinary, everyone agreed was really extra-delicious. There isn’t anything that unusual about what’s in it – fresh tomatoes, capers, shallot, red wine vinegar. A dash of cumin, some EVOO, with parsley and basil as a garnish.

Ideally, get everything ready before you begin as it comes together very quickly. The recipe has you pan-roast the salmon in a hot, 425°F oven. That’s assuming you have a really nice, thick piece of salmon. Mine wasn’t all that thick, probably 5/8” at the thickest point. So I chose to continue cooking the salmon in the pan on the stove, rather than doing the oven roasting part. I’ve included directions for both in the recipe, so you can decide which one to use.

The vinaigrette: minced shallot, chopped cherry/grape tomatoes, a tiny splash of red wine vinegar, some capers. And a dash or two of ground cumin. For some reason the cumin is not added into the vinaigrette. I don’t know why – try it – I can’t imagine adding it to the mixture rather than sprinkling it in the pan would make any difference .. .but I’ll let you be the judge of that. It was surprising to me that the vinaigrette included red wine vinegar, since the capers have some brine action going on, but it certainly enhanced it.

The salmon (salted and peppered) is seared in oil on the stovetop, skin side  up at first. If you make this all on your cooktop, you may use a nonstick skillet. But if going in the oven, you’ll need to use a flat sauté pan that can handle high heat. I didn’t use a nonstick, and yes, the salmon stuck some. Either means the pan wasn’t as hot as it should have been or there wasn’t enough oil in there. Anyway, after browning on that side, you turn it over, skin down. That’s when you would put it into the oven, but I left it on the stove, and used a lid for part of the cooking. I turned down the heat too, as it was way too hot for the kind of gentle heat I thought it should have. Once the fish registered 140° with my instant read thermometer, I removed it to a platter.

tomato_caper_vinaigretteThen you make the vinaigrette. The oil in the pan is drained, then you add the vinaigrette mixture and cook it for about 2 minutes. It’s poured onto the top of the salmon and then garnished with the chopped basil and Italian parsley.

I’d made Brussels sprouts to go with this (pan sautéed in halves, with butter, EVOO and dried oregano) which was a good choice.

What’s GOOD: everything about this dish was fabulous. I liked it so much, it’s going to go onto my favs page. It’s also very easy to do. Just have everything ready before you begin. The dish may not look all that exciting, but something about the combo of flavors just works brilliantly.

What’s NOT: nothing whatsoever. It’s a winner.

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Pan-Roasted Salmon with Tomato Caper Vinaigrette

Recipe By: Food & Wine, from Ted Allen
Serving Size: 4

VINAIGRETTE:
2 cups tomatoes — grape or cherry type, halved or chopped
1 medium shallot — thinly sliced
1 tablespoon capers — drained
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
SALMON:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil — divided use
28 ounces salmon fillets — cut into 4 pieces, about 7 ounces each
Freshly ground pepper and sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 tablespoon chopped basil

1. Preheat the oven to 425°. In a bowl, toss the tomatoes with the shallot, capers, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
2. In a medium ovenproof skillet (do not use nonstick as it can’t be put into a hot oven), heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet, skin side up. Cook over moderately high heat until well-browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip the fillets. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the salmon is cooked through, about 7 minutes. Transfer the fish to plates and pour off any fat in the skillet.
NOTE: If the salmon is relatively thin, you might wish to eliminate the oven roasting. Just continue cooking the salmon over low heat on the stovetop with a lid partially covering the pan, until the interior of the thickest part of the salmon reaches 140°F.
3. Place the skillet over moderate heat and add the tomato mixture along with the cumin, canola oil and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook, scraping up any bits stuck to the skillet, until the tomatoes just soften, about 2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the salmon, sprinkle with the parsley and basil and serve right away.
Wine: Argentinean rosés, with their emphatic, berry-driven flavors and lively structure, are ideal here.
Per Serving: 414 Calories; 25g Fat (54.4% calories from fat); 41g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 147mg Cholesterol; 447mg Sodium; 3g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 41mg Calcium; 2mg Iron; 1156mg Potassium; 595mg Phosphorus

Posted in Fish, Grilling, on January 14th, 2021.

broiled_bourbon_orange_glazed_salmon

Looking for an easy weeknight salmon? Try it.

This recipe was so easy to prepare – the salmon just needed 30-90 minutes to hang out in a marinade. (Don’t marinate overnight or the acidity in the marinade will “cook” the fish, something you don’t want.) And the marinade was very easy to make too: bourbon, some orange juice, soy sauce, a tad of brown sugar, green onions, chives, garlic and lemon juice. Easy peasy. My file says I put this recipe in my file in 1999, from Cooking Light.

It was a cold night (well, cold is relative; here in California anything under about 50 is cold for us, and it was about that temp. I didn’t want to fire up the grill outside, so I made this in my toaster oven on the broil setting. Very easy.

After draining the fish, I put it on a piece of foil and onto a small baking pan that fits in the toaster oven. I preheated the oven for about 10 minutes and stuck the pan in there. The fillet I had wasn’t all that thick, so first I did 4 minutes, then removed it, turned the salmon fillet over and broiled it another 2 minutes. Done. You can brush the fish with the marinade during the broiling or grilling process. If your salmon is thicker, it might take another minute on each side.

Onto a heated plate it went. The green onions and chives were sprinkled on top and I added some cilantro too as a garnish, although cilantro wasn’t in the original recipe.  I had the cilantro out to go with the green beans you can see in the photo.

What’s GOOD: how easy this was. You do need to marinate the salmon for an hour or so, but am sure it would be fine with less time if you don’t have it. The fish was so moist and flaky. Loved it. Liked the pretty garnish too. I try to keep cilantro in my frig all the time. I had green onions, and I found some chives in my garden. Altogether delicious.

What’s NOT: only that you should marinate it for 30-90 minutes. Otherwise, this salmon is very easy to do. I can’t say that I could taste the bourbon as the other citrus juices seem to be the predominant flavor.

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Grilled or Broiled Orange Bourbon Salmon

Recipe By: Cooking Light June 1999
Serving Size: 4

4 tablespoons bourbon
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
4 tablespoons brown sugar — packed
4 tablespoons chopped green onions
9 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
6 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves — chopped
24 ounces salmon fillets — 4 pieces, 6 ounces each
Cooking spray or foil
Green onions and chives as garnish

1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag, and add salmon to bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 1/2 hours, turning bag occasionally.
2. Prepare grill or broiler.
3. Remove salmon from bag, reserving marinade. Place salmon on a grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray or lined with foil. Cook 4-6 minutes on first side (depending on the thickness of the fish), turn fillet over and continue cooking for another 1-3 minutes or JUST until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, basting frequently with reserved marinade. A thinner piece of salmon took 4 minutes on the first side and 2 on the second side.
4. Serve on heated platter and garnish with green onions and chives.
Per Serving : 294 Calories; 7g Fat (23.3% calories from fat); 36g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 126mg Cholesterol; 600mg Sodium; 11g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 40mg Calcium; 1mg Iron; 850mg Potassium; 514mg Phosphorus.

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