on salmon and scary movies

While spending far too much money at Costco this weekend, we picked up a big ass piece of wild salmon. The wild salmon packages were sitting right next to the farm raised salmon packages, and the difference in color was astounding. It also wasn’t that much more expensive than the farm raised, which was nice for a change.

one of the boy’s jobs while in culinary school was at an upscale seafood restaurant in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, so it’s safe to say he can cook pretty much any fish put in front of him and make it taste fantastic. This is kind of funny in a way, because he doesn’t eat fish. It’s just not “his thing”. He knows what it’s supposed to taste like, look like, how to buy it, how to cook the hell out of it, and he even owns several cookbooks devoted to the subject which I’ll find in the bathroom and on his bedside table. It took me a long time to understand that a lot of people have “things”, where they don’t eat a certain food because it either doesn’t agree with them or doesn’t interest them or even taste good to them. Growing up, my brother, sister and I didn’t have a choice. We ate what my parents cooked and there was no discussion about it. I remember my brother not being terribly fond of some vegetables and trying to hide them in his napkin or pass them on to me. Me, I ate everything. And then when I was a wee little kid we moved to France, where I ate all kinds of back end of animal and weird veg and just got used to it I guess. it didn’t occur to me that other parents either don’t feed their kids the same thing they’re eating for dinner or just have limited exposure to some foods.

So anyway, to make a long story short, I like fish and the boy knows it, and he enjoys cooking it for me. So we picked up this fantastic looking huge ass salmon fillet and I anticipated he’d make it so that I’d have some tasty lunches this week., but he got sidetracked with reformatting the hard drive on his computer.

However, he did pick out a recipe for me before he headed out to work, and I loosely followed it last night. You can’t really go wrong with a nice piece of salmon drizzled with a bacon and wine sauce. Pig and fish together, you know it baby.

Recipe courtesy of Gordon Ramsay, “In the heat of the kitchen”. The prosciutto-wrapped monkfish recipe is well worth buying the book.

Pan fried salmon in a red wine sauce

4 thick cut salmon fillets, about 5 oz apiece
2 carrots, peeled
3 ½ tablespoons butter
½ cup chicken stock
4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil
7 oz washed baby spinach
salt and pepper

olive oil
4 oz diced Canadian bacon
1 large shallot, minced
2 fat garlic cloves, chopped
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
bay leaf
3 tablespoons port
½ cup red wine
1 ¾ cup fish stock
2 cups chicken stock

Score the skin of the salmon and season it with salt and pepper.

To make sauce, heat a large wide pan until really hot, then add olive oil and quickly sauté the bacon for 1 to 2 minutes until browned. Add the shallots along with the garlic and herbs and cook until softened and caramelized, about 7 minutes. deglaze with the port, then add the wine and cook until reduced by 2/3rds. Pour in the two stocks and add pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, until reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Strain through a sieve, pressing with the back of a ladle. Set aside.

For the carrot julienne, cut the carrots into long, thin slices, then into thin sticks. Heat half the butter in a pan and sauté the carrots for a minute or so. Add the chicken stock and a little seasoning. Simmer, uncovered, for about 3 minutes until the liquid is totally reduced and the carrots are glazed. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and the remaining butter in a pan and sauté the spinach for a minute or two, until just wilted. Remove from the heat and season, keep warm.

To cook the salmon fillets, heat a nonstick frying pan until hot and add 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil. Pan fry the salmon, skin side down for 3 minutes. Flip over and cook the other side for 1 to 2 minutes. The flesh should be lightly springy when pressed; season lightly.

To serve, reheat the sauce. Place a mound of spinach in the center of each warmed plate an pour the sauce over it. lay a salmon fillet , skin side up, on top and finish with a little pile of carrot julienne. Drizzle a little olive oil around the sauce, if desired, and serve immediately.

Okay so I didn’t have the proper veg on hand. I did have some asparagus and broccolini, so I roasted those with some olive oil, sea salt, and pepper for a few minutes. i also used regular bacon, because that's what we had in the fridge. and fish stock? i'm a regular home cook and i dont have that handy, so i just used all chicken stock.

The sauce will take you forever and a day to make, but the salmon will take less than 10 minutes. The salmon by itself is just great, so if you’re looking for a Basic How To Cook Salmon 101 recipe, this is it. My sauce ended up a bit thin, but I saved it and will continue to reduce it tonight when I get home (I was running out of time last night). and as you can tell, all those years in art school really did me well, don't ya think? i have no food presentation skills. sigh.

Side note. The boy mentioned in passing that I ought to watch the Democratic Presidential Debate last night while eating dinner, which I thought was odd that he’d say that seeing as I don’t like watching politics while eating for fear of heartburn and stomach ache. He’s a joker, that kid. His sarcasm was lost on me. Not to be dissuaded, I got through 45 seconds of the debate before I realized that it was a load of absolute bunk, so what did I do? I put on The Exorcism of Emily Rose and proceeded to freak my shit out. I have this “thing” with scary movies. I love them and watch them yet I know later on in the night I’ll be awake and scared out of my gourd. But the worst thing of all to me are religiously-themed scary movies, because I grew up Catholic and that shit is BELIEVABLE to us. I have some friends who are either agnostic or atheist who just don’t get it and laugh out loud at The Exorcist. Let me tell you right here and now that The Exorcist is not funny. And we are not allowed to watch it in our house. So why did I think that Emily Rose would be any different? Because I’m a dumbass, that’s why. I stopped watching about 20 minutes before the end, right after Emily/Demon jumps out the bedroom window and runs to the barn. Damn, even typing that I got goosebumps. I ought to have known better.

Dear boy, you are absolutely not allowed to watch that movie. EVER.

Oh, but the fish was great.


NDM said…
I must confess that I laugh at such "scary" movies, because I don't find them believable; Silence of the Lambs on the other hand...

I also have to confess that Gordon Ramsey has an unnecessary obsession with male genitalia; I was watching an episode of one of his shows a few weeks ago, and everything was "don't you have any balls/bullocks?" or "show us your big bullocks!" and the like. I wasn't sure if this was a cooking show, or if somehow I'd accidentally hacked into Skinnamax...

I've always thought Ramsey was uber-obnoxious, and he is, but in this particular episode of whatever, he was justified: the chef in question was running a restaurant in Spain (aimed at holidaying Brits) which served such things as "chocolate prawns" and unspeakable bits of meat that were cooked loooong before anybody ordered them.
french tart said…
i saw that episode! that kid who was blowing all his dad's money in spain. i wanted to beat him over the head.

and chocolate prawns are gross. i did like ramsay's reference to donkey dicks though (the swinging kebab things).
Ashley said…
Your pink salmon looks fantastic (no pun intended) and I have to agree with you that movies like Exorcist and such are not for me. I dig comedy mostly because, honestly, I need to laugh more than I need to scream.
french tart said…
after some more thought on the subject, i forgot to mention my number one scary movie of all time, which as it turns out is also one of my top 5 favorite movies. Jaws thrills me each time i watch it. that has more to do with the music than the shark itself though. although after seeing that movie when i was a kid, i wouldn't get into the deep end of my cousin's pool for the rest of the summer.

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