Saturday, July 25, 2015

Slow-cooked salmon

Last week we got our first five-pound delivery of King Salmon from Sitka Salmon Shares.  The delivery came with a simple recipe for a method of slow-cooking salmon, and I had recently seen something similar on Jaden Hair's Steamy Kitchen blog, so I decided to give it a try.  It was very simple, it came out very nicely, and it takes away the touch of anxiety I have with other methods of cooking the salmon to the precisely best time.  Lots of leeway on the timing here, because of the very low temperature at which the salmon cooks.  And it looks quite beautiful when served, as it maintains the same color cooked as raw.

Jaden Hair's recipe gives suggestions for five different seasoning combinations.  I've given below a version of one of them, and then another that I plan to try next.  I'm sure many other combinations would work as well.

adapted from a recipe by Jaden Hair:

1 lb. fillet salmon (or smaller pieces fine too)
a two-thumb-size piece of ginger, sliced about 1/8" thick
several scallions, cut in 2" pieces
olive oil to brush on the salmon
salt and pepper
a little brown sugar to sprinkle on the salmon
(See alternate bed/seasoning below.)

Preheat oven to 250F.  Take the salmon out of the refrigerator and let it sit for 20 minutes to bring it to room temperature--important because it is cooking on such a low temperature.

Put some aluminum foil on the bottom of a rimmed baking pan and spritz with spray olive oil.  Make a bed for the salmon with the sliced ginger and pieces of green scallion.

Brush the salmon with olive oil.  Sprinkle on salt, pepper, and brown sugar.  Put the salmon fillet on the prepared bed, skin side down, and put in the oven. 

For a thick, one-lb. piece of salmon, cook 35-40 minutes, until you feel no resistance when you pierce it with a skewer (or stick a sharp paring knife in, and if it goes in and out very easily, the fish is done).  If the fish is cut into several smaller fillets, try a 30-minute cooking time.  It's difficult to overcook the fish with this method, so no need to worry about catching it at just the right moment.  Don't worry that the fish looks almost exactly the same as when you put it in--with this method, the salmon retains its glorious color throughout the cooking process. 

Jaden Hair's recipe includes five alternatives for what to lay under the fish, what to season the fish with, and what to top the fish with after cooking.  The next time I do this recipe, I think I'll try this version:

Bed under the salmon:  thin sliced oranges and onions
Seasoning on the salmon:  oil, salt, pepper, ground coriander, orange slices

I chose not to put any topping on the cooked fish (just for the sake of keeping things really simple), but her suggestions for toppings also look good.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Watermelon salad with red onion and black olives

As I mentioned in the previous post, I own one issue of a Martha Steward cooking magazine, and like several of the recipes.  When I was at the library the other day, I thought I'd look for her cookbooks, and checked out The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook.  It has enough recipes that look good that I ordered a used copy on Amazon, for $.01 plus shipping.  Here's a recipe from it that I made last night--great for a warm summer evening!  I served it with Chilled Buttermilk-Vegetable Soup and an Omelet Paysanne, made with some leftover poached salmon.  They all went together very nicely.

adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook
serves 4-5

1 4- to 5 lb seedless watermelon
1/4 red onion, sliced thinly, then slices halved
2 rounded tablespoons kalamata olives, pitted and halved
rounded 1/4 c. chopped cilantro leaves
2 t. olive oil
2 t. sherry or white balsamic vinegar
1/4 t. kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

Remove any seeds from watermelon.  Cut watermelon flesh into 1-1/2" chunks.  Toss watermelon with onion, olives, and cilantro.  Add olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Toss and serve.