Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Tale of Two Salmon and Tequila for All

Hello Summer Foodies,

Surviving the dog days of summer? I have a couple of great salmon recipes for you. For all you barbecue lovers, the first recipe is an effort to play down the fishy-ness of the salmon, by glazing it with barbecue sauce and putting it in a hoagie bun. Just open wide, close your eyes and savor…prepare to become a serious fan of my Barbecued Salmon Hoagie!!

The second recipe is based on the classic French preparation for poached salmon. I must admit that I am inspired by the film Julie & Julia. You must see this movie – just be aware that the popcorn in your lap will not satisfy your appetite whilst immersed in all of the amazing food scenes! If, like me, you were inspired by the Bœuf bourguignon, but find it just a little too heavy for the summer heat, this delicate dish of Poached Salmon with Piquant Mustard Sauce is a fine substitute.

Now, for the tequila tale:

When my kids were here for the 4th of July celebration this summer, we concocted a cocktail that turned out to be a BIG hit! You might want to serve this festive, summer drink at your Labor Day picnic, and, since you have to start a couple of weeks in advance, I’m offering it to you now!

In a beverage server, or sealable large glass container, layer wedges of watermelon and fresh cherries. Fill the container to the top with your favorite tequila. Place the top onto the container and walk away. Over several days, you can watch as the fruit absorbs both liquor and sweet summer flavors. Let everything marinate together for at least a week and longer if you like.

We used our fruit flavored tequila to make “Watermelon Margaritas”. Prepare the base for the cocktail by emulsifying the inside of a seedless watermelon. We mushed up (this is a highly technical culinary term – not used by Julia in any of her 700 pages) two large watermelons for our big 4th of July bash. Add two or more large cans of lime concentrate to the watermelon slush. You can prepare this base in advance. Pour it into a large container and refrigerate.
For Watermelon Margaritas, take a lime wedge and run it around the rim of a margarita glass. Combine margarita salt with a bit of granulated sugar and place onto a small plate or into a shallow bowl. Dip the rim of the glass into the salt/sugar combo. Pour the slush mixture into the glass. Top with a drizzle of Triple Sec Liqueur and a generous splash of fruit flavored tequila. Top with a fresh, pitted cherry. What a refreshing summer party starter!!

Remember you can share your comments and recipes right here. I love to hear from you.

Until then, as Julia says, “Bon Appétit”!

Poached Salmon with Piquant Mustard Sauce

This delicate dish is perfect for a luncheon plate or for a light summer supper in the garden. It’s a breeze to prepare. The secret is not to overcook the fish. It should be rare in the center and flaky on the edges. If you are not a salmon devotee, you can use the same technique for chicken.

½ pound grilled salmon, sliced into 2 pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large carrot, peeled, trimmed and sliced
1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
2 to 3 radishes, thinly sliced, about two tablespoons
2 bay leaves
A handful of fresh parsley
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 to 2 cups white wine

2 tablespoons good quality mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
½ lemon juiced, about 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon capers, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Sprinkle the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Place the vegetables and herbs into a skillet. Toss in the peppercorns. Pour in the wine. You want enough wine to halfway submerge the salmon fillets. Bring the poaching liquid to a simmer over medium heat. Place the salmon fillets, skin side down, into the skillet. Cook until the salmon is still rare in the center, about 6 to 8 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets. Transfer to a serving platter.

Prepare the sauce by whisking together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Garnish the salmon with a dollop of sauce.

Servings: 2
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 to 8 minutes to poach salmon

Barbecued Salmon Hoagie

Open wide! This easy, good-for-you sammich is piled high with ingredients that you are going to Yum over.

½ pound grilled salmon, sliced into 2 pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons homemade or good quality prepared barbecue sauce
2 whole grain hoagie rolls
1 large plum tomato, diced into ½-inch pieces
Hamburger dill pickle chips
Cole slaw

Sprinkle the salmon fillets with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the salmon, flesh side down to form grill marks, about 3 to 4 minutes depending on thickness. Carefully turn the salmon. Brush the seared side with barbecue sauce (homemade is best, but a good quality barbecue sauce in a jar will work just fine.) Grill the salmon for about 3 to 4 minutes more. Carefully turn the salmon one more time to sear the other side with the barbecue sauce. Cook until the salmon is still rare in the center. Remove to a platter, glazed side up.

Brush the inside of the hoagie rolls with the remaining olive oil. Grill the rolls until just golden. Transfer the rolls to a platter. Place the fillets onto the rolls, top with diced tomato, pickle chips and cole slaw.

Servings: 2
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 to 8 minutes to grill salmon
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