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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

food blog 3 of 3, grilled asparagus and salmon

wife told me that we were having salmon for dinner tonight. cool. then i read a recipe in the local rag that looked damned interesting. so we tried it.
my rant on the "fresh caught/farmed" salmon issue. i don't eat farmed raised salmon. i just don't. i don't like the color, the flavor, or the texture. if all i have is farmed raised, i'll eat a peanut butter sandwich. fresh caught salmon has a flavor and texture all of it's own, and farmed salmon just doesn't cut it for me. sorry, that's just the way it is. fortunately, there is a great selection of fresh caught alaskan salmon in the markets, so i was in luck.

now before we get started, let me talk about after work dinners. you know how sometimes it's just too damned much work to fix a killer dinner, so you just throw something together? this dish, including the 20 minutes it took for the coals to be ready, took less than 40 minutes from the very start until we were sitting down to eat. so don't think that because you are working, that you can't have an elegant and tasty meal in about the same time it takes to toss some junk together to fuel the body.
and as for formal dining, i think this is the dish we are going to serve at our next dinner party. it's really really good.

i'll type in the recipe as it's written in the paper, with my comments in bold

Warm salad of asparagus and salmon with lemon vinaigrette and toasted pine nuts

not sure where the whole "salad" thing comes from, but don't let that put you off. this dish rocks as the main course.

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 Tbs lemon juice (i used the juice of 1/2 a big fat lemon)

  • 1/2 Tsp grated lemon rind (grated the rind off of the 1/2 lemon i used)

  • 1/2 clove garlic come on. who in the world uses 1/2 clove of garlic? 2. 2 cloves minced were perfect. 1/2 clove garlic. give me a break

  • 2 Tbs Extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 Tsp dijon mustard (more like 1/2 tsp, if you ask me)

  • 1/4 Tsp sugar

  • Few shakes salt

  • Freshly gound black pepper

  • 14 thick spears asparagus (14? who the hell counts asparagus spears? i just used one bunch from the produce aisle. 1 to 2 pounds of asparagus maybe? counting asparagus spears. now i've found someone even more anal than me)

  • 2 (4 or 5 ounce) salmon fillets, with skin on if i'm eating salmon, a dinky 4 ounce fillet isn't going to cut it. Di bought 2 fillets and they weighed in at around 1 1/4 pound total

  • 1 1/2 Tbs olive oil plus olive oil for brushing

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts d'oh. pine nuts. i'll tell you about them later

  • 2 heaping Tbs chives, cut in 1/2 inch lengths blew this off. i've got enough garlic going that the chives would be too much. like them, just not in this dish, not tonight


Instructions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. if using outdoor grill, prepare it. (WTF is she thinking? this begs to be prepared on a grill, with charcoal. As a matter of fact, i went out and bought a grill just for this purpose today. hey, you can never have too many cooking gizmos. it's the law. bought a neat little Weber Smokey Joe portable grill. my other one (bought in 1977, and still kicking) is pretty big for just 2 salmon fillets.
If using stove-top grill, prepare.
Whisk together lemon juice, lemon rind, garic, olive oil, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper, and set aside.
this is what that looks like, using MY version
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Wash and break asparagus spears at point where the tough stem meets the tender part. Cover a baking sheet with foil and pour on a little oil. (or cheat a little for some extra flavor and use an italian salad dressing like garlic and herb, or whatever. Plain olive oil is good, salad dressing with the oil and vinegar, and seasonings...better) Roll the asparagus in the oil and roast in the oven (NOT! Grill those babies) for 7 to 10 minutes, until tender and slightly brown. watch carefully; the time it takes depends on thickness of spears. no kidding. here's what that looks like ON THE GRILL
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Wash and dry salmon and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and brush all sides with oil. salmon, mmmmmmmm
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Following the Canadian Rule, (measure the thickness of the salmon and cook it 8 minutes to the inch for medium rare), place the salmon on the grill, skin side up; cover it and grill until grill marks appear, about 4 minutes. never heard of the "canadian rule" before, but it works pretty well. only we cooked ours an extra 2 minutes on the skin side to be done a little more than medium rare. it was PERFECT
Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in toaster oven. ok, this is going to hurt. first of all, i used the broiler.
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bothenook cooking tip of the day: don't forget the pine nuts, or else you will end up remembering them when you smell them burning:
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.
i'm sure they would have been fantastic on the dish. guess i'll have to wait until the next time to find out. not knowing what it's supposed to taste like, the dish was great without the pine nuts.
Turn the salmon and cook a little longer, as directed. this is where i got into trouble with the damned pine nuts. usually don't have troubles multi-tasking during cooking. except for nights like tonight. d'oh
Arrange the asparagus on each of two plates in fan shape. Place the salmon on top; sprinkle with pine nuts (d'oh). Whisk the dressing again and spoon over the salmon an asparagus, then sprinkle with chives maybe next time
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click for larger image

so what do you drink with a great meal like this? we corked a crisp and light Hess Select 2003 Chardonnay that went perfectly with this meal. at $10.00 a bottle, and it's local, how can you go wrong? i've not yet met a Hess wine i didn't like. they are damned good. some of their reds are superlative, especially the ones made from dry farmed grapes on mount veeder. world class reds, especially their cabs.
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as always, if you try this recipe, or it inspires you to try something different, please let me know how it turned out. i'm always looking for fresh and clever ideas to improve my own cooking skills and recipes.

for a complete list of my online recipes, follow the link here

3 Comments:

Blogger Gus Van Horn said...

Awwwwwwwww, man! I stopped by at the beginning of the day after having to skip breakfast only to see this!

But seriously, it looks good! I'll try it some time!

-- Gus

6/16/05, 8:33 AM  
Blogger Vigilis said...

Thanks Bo'. Had my eye on this recipe, too. Wondered about the time claim, never knew the Canadian Rule. Your comments by each ingredient were great and appreciated! Keep cooking.

6/17/05, 2:54 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Oooohhhhhh. That sounds so good.

Yum.

6/18/05, 1:51 AM  

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