9.29.2013

SALMON w/ LEMON CAPER SAUCE

This is my copycat version of a salmon entree I had at a local Italian restaurant named Capers & Lemons. The dish includes a fillet of salmon, grilled and served over a bed of spinach sauteed in garlic olive oil, and a side of orzo. I think the beauty of this dish really lies in how it introduces all five tastes into every bite -- sweetness from the orzo and salmon, bitterness from the spinach, acidity from the lemon and white wine base, and lastly the salty umami flavor from the capers and garlic. This recipe is, of course, my take on that Capers & Lemons salmon dish, however, I really tried to stay true-to-form here, not deviating too far from the flavors I remember.

The following recipe is actually just for the salmon and lemon caper sauce. The spinach recipe is exactly the same as the one I posted for the kale. The orzo recipe, will follow in due course. A few comments about this recipe. I baked the fish instead of grilling it. I thought it would give me a better handle on the slow-cook needed to prevent the albumin from surfacing. Unfortunately, there was a little albumin present (which didn't hurt the dish at all, but reminds me of the reason one of the chefs got sent home in an old episode of Top Chef). Next time I may actually go with a lower temperature setting on the oven and cook the salmon a little longer.






Ingredients
1 fillet

1
2 Tbsp
2 Tbsp
1 Tbsp
1/4 cup
1 Tbsp
1 Tbsp
2 tsp

Salmon, patted dry
Shallot, finely diced
Scallion, cut into strips
Champagne vinegar
Savignon blanc
Butter
Extra virgin olive oil
Lemon zest
Capers
Parsley, chopped

Directions
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Season salmon fillets with salt and pepper.
Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
Combine shallot, vinegar and wine in a sauce pan and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the butter and olive oil and stir to incorporate.
Add in the lemon zest, followed by the capers.
Fold-in fresh parsley, remove from heat, and spoon over fish.
Top with scallions and serve. 




9.28.2013

SAUTEED KALE IN GARLIC OLIVE OIL

I love kale, and this is really a very healthy and simple preparation. This recipe can really be used on any dark leafy green (spinach, collard greens, broccoli rabe, etc.) 


Ingredients
2 Bunches
4 Tbsp
6-8 Cloves
½ tsp
1 tsp

Kale, rinsed and spun dry
Olive oil
Garlic, sliced or rough-chopped
Red pepper flakes
Salt

Directions
1
2
3
4
5
Heat a large sauce pan to medium heat and add oil.
Toss in garlic, reduce to low heat and cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes.
Remove the garlic and reserve on paper towels.
Add the kale to the hot oil and sautee until wilted (2-3 minutes).
Fold in the the red pepper flakes and the reserved garlic.



TANDOORI DRY-RUB... TAKE ONE

As the title of this post suggests, I will more than likely experiment with this recipe a few more times. This dish needs a lot of work, but I thought I'd get it out there for other palates and minds to mull over. 

But before you run off an try this, or just cast it off as some sub-par vegetarian/vegan take on a standard meat dish, I'd like to share why I choose to use tofu and not an actual meat. I've had this thought about creating a two-layer barbecue recipe that builds on the the traditional tandoori chicken concept for a long time now -- a thin crust of savory herbs and spices on top of which you baste a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce. Together the layers will provide the classic flavors one would associate with tandoori chicken. My thought is that the ultimate meat to put this on would be a rack of baby-back ribs, but that is a long ways off, as I'm not going to waste a perfectly good piece of meat on a recipe that is no where close to where I'd like it to be. So... getting back to the tofu... it's about as bland a protein substrate as you can get. If you can get this slab of bean curd to taste good, you've done something right with the rub. And that, my friends, is why I chose tofu. 

This recipe is really focused on one of the two components: the dry rub. I thought that if I can get this base rub right, it shouldn't be too difficult to find a tangy sweet sauce to accompany it. I may be wrong, but I'm going to go with that assumption for now. This rub is a good starting point. It actually works very well with chicken, and more specifically, baked chicken. I've used it on chicken that I've prepared over a grill, but I think the high and direct heat of the grill may actually char some of the spices, rendering them more bitter than what I care for. Again, I'm looking for a subtle crust, that provides a savory background where you can taste all the individual herbs and spices. The base of this rub is built on onion and garlic powder, coriander, cumin, and a little bit of cayenne pepper. I added a little turmeric, mainly for the color, but I think it may have actually been the main culprit of that bitterness I pointed out earlier. In addition, I thought that I could dial in a little tang with some ginger powder, but again, I think I can pull back on it in the rub and rely on the ingredients in the sauce to bring in that flavor. I also think that with ginger, you're always walking a tight rope with respect to its spicyness vs. its tanginess, a little too much, and it's biting back at you.

Alright, so please let me know if you try this. Also, if you do take it to the next step and experiment with sauces, I'd love to know about it.


Ingredients
1 Tbsp
1 Tbsp
1 Tbsp
½ Tbsp
1 tsp
1 Tbsp
½ Tbsp
2 tsp
2 tsp
1 lb
2 Tbsp
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Ground coriander
Ground cumin
Cayenne powder
Ground ginger
Ground turmeric
Ground black pepper
Salt
Extra-Firm Tofu, drained, pressed dry, and cut into 2"x 3" slabs @ ½" thickness
Canola Oil

Directions
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Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a bowl, mix all the dry spices.
Drizzle canola oil over tofu and toss gently to coat.
Add ½ Tbsp of the dry rub to each slab of tofu, ensuring that all sides are coated evenly.
Place on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, turning half-way through.