Not to mention Salmon with a Hot Mustard Glaze
On this day, I stood in front of Scolari’s fish counter, a locally owned and operated supermarket with 10 locations, mostly in Reno and Sparks. They tend to have beautiful produce, a nice meat and fish counter and an extensive deli counter featuring local and regional brands.
How could I miss the Verlasso Salmon with its rich salmon color and plump fillets?
Verlasso is the first and only ocean raised, farmed, Atlantic Salmon to receive the “good alternative buy” ranking from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. Farmed off the coast of Patagonia Chile, it is filleted on location, packed in ice and shipped fresh.
I have never bought and cooked it before, but Carol has. This is my big chance. Two half-pound fillets, a little over an inch thick. Beautiful.
It was still too cold and windy to grill, so I launched a recipe search for such a lovely fish. I settled on a NY Times recipe from February, 2006; Salmon With Hot Mustard Glaze adapted from David Kinch, then 44 and who remains the chef and a partner at Manresa, Los Gatos, California. Cooking Time: 30 minutes or less. Quick, EZ and lookin’ good.
While noodling around on the internet, I happened — by pure chance — onto a web site called thekitchn.com. I had never heard of it, but suddenly I was staring at a picture of a Hasselback Potato. It was striking in its purity and presentation.
Like the salmon recipe, the instructions couldn’t be simpler, but the potato took an hour or so to cook, so I started with that.
I put on my apron and set to work. I followed the easy instructions and once the potato was in the oven, I started on the fish. Carol prepped for Creamed Spinach and said to let her know when the potato and salmon are “five-minutes-to-go.”
Fabulous meal. But Carol doesn’t like rare salmon. The salmon was rare only at the thickest part of the fillet and there was plenty of meal for each of us around that. To my surprise, she suggested we make Salmon Tartare with the leftover. Now, I think it’s strange that she doesn’t like rare salmon but she likes Salmon Tartare, which is raw and served chilled. But maybe I’m strange; I like both.
Never mind, we’ll have another great meal from that Verlasso Salmon.
For the Salmon Tartare, I went to Jacques Pepin’s Fast Food My Way, — As seen on Public Television — a book published by Houghton Mifflin in 2004. Salmon Tartare on Cauliflower Salad. I had a half-head of cauliflower in the crisper and the rest of the ingredients are simple salad stuff. Here we go.
For a breakfast bonus, these are leftover slices from the Hasselback potato. I’ll have them with bacon and an egg.
R E C I P E S
Salmon With Hot Mustard Glaze for Two
Adapted from David Kinch, Manresa Los Gatos, Calif
Time: 30 minutes or less
For a 3/4 to 1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, an inch or so thick at its thickest, with skin
1. Heat oven to 250 degrees. In a small bowl whisk 2 Tbsp Colman’s mustard powder, 2 Tbsp sugar and 2 Tbsp water together. Set aside.
2. Pat salmon dry with paper towel. Heat a heavy ovenproof skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes or until very hot. Add 1 Tbsp oil. Add salmon skin side up, and sear quickly about 2 minutes, until it can be lifted easily with a spatula without sticking. Turn, and sear about 2 minutes skin side down. Thickest part should still be raw in center.
3. Brush top of salmon with olive oil and then with mustard mixture. Place in oven until medium-rare in center, check after 5 minutes. (An instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part should register 100 to 110 degrees.) Remove from oven, and serve.
Hasselback Potato for Two
Adapted from Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn at kitchn.com
For 1 large Russet potato, or equivalent Yukon Gold or Red Bliss
Heat the oven to 425°F with a rack in the lower-middle position.
Scrub the potato clean and pat dry. Cut slits in the potato, leaving the bottom intact. Space the slices 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch apart. You can rest the potato in a large serving spoon and use that as a guide for when to stop slicing.
Place the potato in a baking dish or oven proof skillet. Brush the potato all over with butter or other fat (duck, bacon), including the bottoms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. Bake the potato for 30 minutes. At this point, the layers will start separating. Remove the pan from the oven and brush the potatoes again with fat — you can nudge the layers apart if they’re still sticking together. Make sure some of the fat drips down into the space between the slices.
Bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are crispy on the edges and easily pierced in the middle with a paring knife. If you’re adding any *extras, stuff those into the slits and sprinkle over the top 5 to 10 minutes before the end of cooking. (Total baking time is 60 to 70 minutes).
*Optional extras: minced fresh herbs, spices, grated cheese, bread crumbs, panko crumbs
4. Serve immediately: These potatoes are best straight from the oven while the edges are at their crispiest.
Creamed Spinach for Two
As told to me by a friend.
For a 6 ounce bag of clean baby spinach
Roughly chop the spinach. Rinse and put in a pan with the water it carries. Cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Mix with one wedge of Laughing Cow cheese, Original Swiss. Add a dollop of Crème fraîche if you like. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Salmon Tartare on Cauliflower Salad
adapted from Jacques Pepin, Fast Food My Way
For the Salmon Tartare:
12 ounces salmon flesh, thoroughly trimmed
No more than 30 minutes before serving, cut the salmon flesh into 1/2 inch pieces and combine with 2 1/2 Tbsp chopped red onion, 1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives, 1 Tbsp drained capers, 2 tsp XV olive oil, 1 tsp rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Refrigerate.
For the Cauliflower Salad:
10 ounces cauliflower florets
Bring 3/4 cup water to a boil in a skillet. Add the cauliflower florets, bring the water back to a boil, cover and boil for 4 to 5 minutes, until tender. Drain the florets, chop coarsely and combine in a bowl with 1 Tbsp XV olive oil, 1 Tbsp chopped red onion, 1 Tbsp Dijon style mustard, 1 tsp red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.
For the Garnish:
Cut a hard boiled egg into small cubes. Mix with shredded fresh basil in a small bowl. (I didn’t have basil, used dill)
Place a 4-inch metal pastry ring on a plate and arrange a layer of cauliflower salad inside. Cover with a layer of salmon tartare. Arrange garnish around the ring. Carefully remove the ring. Repeat.