Tag Archives: Salmon

Ten Radically Simple Days of Christmas

16 Dec

photo 2(2)Recipe countdown:  For the next 10 days I will share a main course recipe from Radically Simple: Brilliant Flavors with Breathtaking Ease. After all, it is the time of year where we all crave abundance without the burden. A nice holiday gift? A copy of the book from Amazon. For me, I’d love a fruitcake.

Salmon & Mint in Crispy Grape Leaves
This is an unusual fish dish for this time of the year but it’s one of my favorites. Serve it on a mound of couscous mixed with orzo — a new combo for me.  I invented it this morning!  Add a side dish of tiny roasted Brussels sprouts with a drizzle of walnut oil, sea salt and lemon zest.  What to drink?  Open a great bottle of pinot noir from Oregon or France, depending on your mood. This recipe is easily doubled, or tripled, and so is quite desirable for a holiday menu.

1/2 cup crème fraîche (I love the one from Vermont Creamery)
1 small garlic clove
4 thick salmon fillets, 7 ounces each, skin removed
2 medium bunches fresh mint
8 large grape leaves in brine, rinsed and dried
3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Mix the crème fraîche with the garlic, pushed through a press. Add salt to taste. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Top each fillet with 6 mint leaves. Wrap each piece of fish tightly in 2 overlapping grape leaves, tucking in the ends as you go. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the packets and cook over high heat until crispy, 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the fish to a rimmed baking sheet and scatter with mint sprigs. Bake 8 minutes, until the fish is just firm. Serve with the crème fraîche and crispy mint. Drizzle with additional oil, if desired. Serves 4

Recipes 1-2-3 Redux

30 May

61RS7HCMYMLYes, it’s possible to buy a cookbook today for 1 cent!  And it could be one of mine.  No matter, I love this review that just came in from “Sandy.”  The unexpected critique is of the first book in my 1-2-3 series, Recipes 1-2-3: Fabulous Food Using Only Three Ingredients, written more than 18 years ago.   The book was published in Turkish, Czech, Hebrew, and in metric for the UK and Australian audiences.  The simple concept gave rise to the Minimalist column in the New York Times which was based on this work.  Some of my favorite recipes from this book include Seared Salmon with Pancetta and Sage; Mahogany Short Ribs; Turnip and Havarti Torte; Chocolate-Banana Terrine; and Lemon Buttermilk Ice Cream.  Many thanks to Sandra Lee Smith for taking the time to rediscover a golden oldie.

RECIPES 1-2-3 by  Rozanne Gold is one of those cookbooks that will surely knock your socks off (or your oven mitts, at least).

There have been, you must have noticed if you automatically scan all the cookbooks in book stores and in particular, the flurry of cookbooks devoted to just a few ingredients—there are many great cookbooks on this topic.  Rozanne Gold was one of the first to take this concept a step further. First of all, RECIPES 1-2-3 is a beautiful hardcover cookbook by Viking Press, with photographs by Tom Eckerle.

“Time is not on our side,” explain the publishers. “Not only don’t we have time to cook, we often don’t even have time to shop for food. Imagine being able to choose from more than 250 dazzling recipes that contain only three ingredients.”

Rozanne Gold is the author of the award-winning “LITTLE MEALS: A GREAT NEW WAY TO EAT AND COOK”. She is also consulting chef to the Rainbow Room and the new Windows On the World. First chef to New York City mayor Ed Koch, she is now Culinary Director of the world-renown Joseph Baum and Michael Whitman Co., and if that were not enough, she is also culinary counselor for Dunnewood Vineyards in California.

In the Introduction to 1-2-3, Gold writes “Think of the transparent sound of a small chamber orchestra; or the compressive clarity of haiku. When it comes to the senses, less is often more. So it is with our palates and the way we taste. The Western vocabulary contains only four descriptors for how we experience a morsel of food: salty, sour, bitter, and sweet. The Japanese posit a fifth sensation, called umami, a beeflike essence of wild mushrooms.

It was this realization, she says, that led her to develop RECIPES 1-2-3. She says that in her twenty years as a professional chef, she has “imposed dozens of ingredients onto a single dish, used paintbrushes and squeeze bottles to decorate plates; piled food so precariously as to challenge gravity…”

To read the full review, please click here.

“Rozanne Gold is the leader of a minimalist sect, one that uses the fewest possible ingredients to produce dishes that are not just credible but delicious.”

–Mark Bittman, The New York Times

“Inspired recipes from three top-quality ingredients – it just couldn’t be easier or better than this!”

–Jacques Pepin

“Recipes 1-2-3 is fantastic!  It shows a pure understanding of how a great chef wants to and will cook at home.”

–Daniel Boulud

The Promised Recipe

17 Oct

Here it is:

Smoked & Fresh Salmon “en chemise”

Fresh salmon enrobed in a layer of smoked salmon and roasted at a high temperature is rich and elegant with a subtle smoky perfume. An instantaneous room-temperature sauce, made from tomatillos, basil, cilantro, and lime, is a striking accompaniment. And like the book it is adapted from, the recipe is Radically Simple

6 thick salmon fillets with skin, 6 ounces each
9 ounces, best-quality, thinly-sliced smoked salmon
16 ounces tomatillos, at room temperature
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
large handful of pea shoots or microgreens to garnish

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Remove any bones from salmon and season with salt and pepper; place on a rimmed baking sheet. Completely enrobe the top and sides of each fillet with a thin layer of smoked salmon, pressing down firmly and tucking ends under the fish. Roast 12 to 14 minutes, until just firm. Do not overcook. Meanwhile, cut the tomatillos into 1-inch pieces. Add to a food processor with the oil, basil, cilantro, onion, lime juice and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt. Process until very smooth. Spoon a puddle of sauce onto 6 large plates. Top with the salmon and garnish with pea shoots or microgreens. Serves 6

Serve with a chilled crisp sauvignon blanc. Enjoy!

Tin Fish Gourmet

11 Apr

Barbara-Jo McIntosh is the owner of the beloved Books to Cooks bookstore in Vancouver, BC.  She herself has been called a national treasure of Vancouver because of her deep influence in “all things food” in that gorgeous city.   Every year, scores of distinguished chefs, authors, wine makers and celebs from all over the world wind up in her shop. They are feted by Ms. McIntosh herself with a reception in their honor.  Throughout the year, there are scores of meaningful talks, lectures, tastings and demos, too, making Books to Cooks the place to be if you have even the tiniest interest in cooking.  In addition to hand-selecting the 7,000 titles available in her store, Barbara-Jo has written three of the books she carries.  Her most recent, “Cooking for Me and Sometimes You:  A Parisienne Romance with Recipes (French Apple Press, 2010) is a joy.  You feel as though you are in a small French kitchen right alongside her, whipping up a sharp vinaigrette for the perfect Salade Nicoise, or braising a chicken leg with tomatoes and black olives. But as I’m staring at a large can of salmon this morning in my fridge (gift of my husband who did the grocery shopping yesterday), I lunge for another of her books on my shelf. Tin Fish Gourmet, whose subtitle, great seafood from cupboard to table, says it all.  This book has a way of making you feel virtuous and wise, as you hunt for your can opener.   Some months ago, my husband and I started eating canned salmon.  I don’t remember why exactly.  I used to hate it as a kid, especially because of the skin and cartilage that punctuated the pretty pink flesh, but having gotten over that, I find myself, instead, enjoying the weird texture of the tiny bones.  I use it to make last-minute salmon rillettes and enjoy it smashed on a piece of black bread with fresh lemon and a dab of crème fraîche.  Maybe some chives.

The Tin Fish Gourmet offers  sixteen ideas using a 15-ounce can, or two (but beware, my tin of Bumble Bee salmon is 14.75 ounces!), from which to choose.  Some are quite sophisticated, others are nifty and thrifty. I inadvertently soaked a pot of dried chickpeas last night and will try the healthy-sounding Avocado, Chick Pea and Salmon Salad.  Hmmmmm, but Corn & Salmon Fritters, Curried Salmon Loaf, Salmon and Fennel Stew, and a dreamy-sounding Asparagus, Brie & Salmon Omelette also tantalize.  But the book’s most-popular recipe is an appetizer: Pecan Salmon Roll.  It’s a recipe Barbara-Jo picked up from a trip to Lunenberg, Nova Scotia.   Recipe below.  You can find each of the above mentioned books at New York’s beloved bookstore: Kitchen Arts & Letters, on Lexington Avenue and 93rd street. Tell Nach and Matt that Barbara-Jo sent you.

Barbara-Jo’s Pecan Salmon Roll

15 ounce can (tin) salmon, drained
9 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons goat cheese, optional
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 scallion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon white horseradish
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, plus sprigs for garnishing

Cream together cheeses, lemon juice, scallion, horseradish and cayenne.  Add salmon and mix together.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours.  Shape into a roll, about 8-inches by 3-inches.  Roll through the combined mixture of pecans and parsley to cover.  Place on a platter and garnish with parsley sprigs.  Serve with sliced baguette or crackers. Serves 6 to 10 as an appetizer.

Crunchy Salmon with Wasabi Peas & Lime

18 Mar

A few days ago, my friend Lauren C. was browsing the web and came across a recipe she was crazy about, salmon with wasabi peas and lime. It was a recipe from Bon Appetit from a few years ago. It turned out that the recipe was mine — one of the few times that credit was given in the Internet’s vast virtual cookbook –which delighted her (and me) even more. In the true spirit of radical simplicity, this is a dish that requires only a handful of ingredients and can be put together in less than 15 minutes. Wasabi-coated peas — the 21st century’s new snack food — once the darling of specialty food stores and now available in every 7-11, get crushed to smithereens and packed onto thick fillets of fresh salmon to form a crunchy topping. Whereas these little peas are searingly hot, their spiciness lessens as it cooks. At the same time the salmon roasts in a 400 degree oven, slivers of red cabbage and sugar snap peas get flash-cooked in an oil-slicked wok, to form a gorgeous bed upon which the salmon sits. It is at once beautiful and delicious. My 14-year old daughter is still a bit squeamish about eating fish but she loves to crush the peas in a small plastic bag and then smash them with a rolling pin. Alternatively, it can be done in a food processor. This is a great warmer-weather dish, one that is inherently healthy, and gets you in and out of the kitchen in a flash. All you need to do is cook up some fragrant jasmine rice and pour yourself an icy glass of sauvignon blanc.

Here’s the recipe:
Crunchy Salmon with Wasabi Peas & Lime

3/4 cup wasabi peas, about 3 ounces
4 6-or 7-ounce thick salmon fillets
1 large lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups sugar snap peas, about 6 ounces
3-1/2 cups finely shredded red cabbage, about 10 ounces

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the wasabi peas in the bowl of a food processor and process until powdery, but still with tiny pieces. Sprinkle the fish with sea salt. Pat the crushed peas onto the fish, making sure that the top is evenly coated. Grate the zest of the lime and sprinkle onto the top of the fish. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Place the fish on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the fish is cooked through but still moist. Meanwhile, trim the ends of the sugar snap peas. Heat the remaining tablespoon of the oil in a work or large skillet. Add the red cabbage and sugar snaps and cook over high heat, stirring constantly for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the fish from the oven. Cut the lime in half and squeeze juice over the fish. Transfer the vegetables to 4 large warm plates and top with the fish. Serve with additional lime wedges, if desired. Serves 4

The Window Box

8 Nov

One of the most special presents I ever received was an enormous window box made for me by my husband. It hangs outside the window of my brownstone kitchen where it soaks up the sun and, sometimes, too much rain.  Once the entire bottom of the box fell out and lots of dirt (and precious herbs!) landed in our backyard garden.  But my beloved husband simply made me another which has lasted for years and whose contents are thriving.

I’m not much of a gardener but overlooking my neighbor’s trees, flowers and well-manicured gardens, I am the master of my herbs.  What a pleasure to
pick off tiny leaves of fresh thyme, to add sprigs of fresh mint to any dessert in a moment’s notice, or muddle a few for a warm peppermint tea. More pleasure still from crumbling fragrant rosemary into a soup or stew, or to mix sweet-smelling lavender with goat cheese and spinach and stuff it under the
skin of a chicken.

One of my most requested recipes was a result, however, of the abundance of basil in that window box years ago.  Salmon with pesto and pistachios has been copied by chefs and made by home cooks alike since 1996 — when I first introduced the dish.  I simply slather a thick tranche of fatty salmon or voluptuous Chilean sea bass with homemade pesto and thickly blanket the top with freshly-ground pistachios.   It is virtually fool-proof and can even be made with a good-quality prepared pesto if you have no time to make your own.

I like to serve the fish with lemony mashed potatoes (you can use your own favorite recipe and add lots of freshly grated zest and a bit of lemon juice)  and
a pile of something  I call green bean “fries.”  Sometimes I serve a platter of “melted tomatoes” (from Recipes 1-2-3) alongside. Open a bottle of sauvignon blanc — one of those crisp, delicious ones from New Zealand or South Africa.

Chilean Sea Bass with Pistachio-Pesto Crust & Green Bean “Fries”
This is also great made with fresh salmon.   Make your own pesto (see below) or use the best-quality store-bought — fresh, bright green and herbaceous.

4 thick Chilean sea bass, or salmon, fillets (about 7 ounces each)
2/3 cup pesto (made from fresh basil)
1/2 cup finely ground pistachios
12 ounces green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Season the fish with salt and pepper and arrange on a rimmed baking sheet.  Spread fillet with pesto, about 2-1/2 tablespoons, to cover completely.  Pat the pistachios heavily on the pesto to form a crust.  Drizzle the green beans with the oil and sprinkle with
salt.  Place around the fish.  Roast for 16 minutes, until the fish is just firm.  Grate lemon zest on top.  Cut the lemon into wedges and serve with the fish and beans.  Serves 4

Pesto Presto
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried well
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 large clove garlic

Put the basil in a food processor with the cheese, oil, pine nuts, and garlic.  Process until smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

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