A recipe for (and a story about) a poached salmon dinner

I was at the supermarket ready to buy some salmon fillets when I saw the salmon steaks – these huge, meaty, Flinstones-like mofo’s that weren’t too much more expensive. I bought two steaks and the fish monger warned me that I would have to remove the bones. “Be careful,” he advised, “they’re shaped like pins.”

I bought the steaks, and I also got some spinach and some potatoes. I was going to make pan fries, sauteed spinach and poached salmon. All was well until I got the salmon home and saw how difficult it will be to get the bones out. I looked online and saw that most people used tweezers – something I didn’t want to do because we use tweezers in the house for our bathroom-related grooming needs, and the last thing I wanted to do was overlap our bathroom utensils with our kitchen utensils. So I looked around my kitchen and searched for the right tools – I grabbed a pair of tongs, scissors, and pair of herb scissors (which are basically scissors with five blades to save time on chopping herbs).

I took to the salmon and realized this would be a problem. The herb scissors were too big and were hacking away at the meat, making salmon tartar. The regular scissors were simply snipping the ends of the pins, but leaving the bulk of the bone embedded in the meat. And the tongs were to big and get at the end of a pin – you really need tiny instruments for surgery this precise. I was still reticent to use tweezers, so I actually used my teeth and pulled pins out with my mouth like a stupid dog. After a few bones were pulled out, I stopped, realizing that if someone saw me gnawing at a raw salmon steak, it would look nuts, if taken out of context.

So, I broke down and got our tweezers – which worked like a charm. Now, my thing will be how to get the tweezers clean again – I’m thinking of boiling them in a pot of hydrogen peroxide.

So, while watching Mrs. Brown’s Boys in the background (an Irish sitcom with a dude playing a feisty old lady – it’s like the Irish Tyler Perry), I made dinner. I’m still learning to cook and not leave the kitchen looking like a disaster, but haven’t learned it yet, so even though I started with a clean kitchen, my sink is crammed with dishes. I’m a great cook, but I need to a maid to clean up after me.

Anyways, so I made poached salmon steaks with sauteed spinach and oven fries. These are the ingredients.

Salmon:
2 salmon steaks, with the bones pulled out – use tweezers, not your teeth
1/2 cup of dry white wine – I buy the cheap plonk that comes in tiny, airplane bottles.
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of vegetarian broth
1 rib of celery, chopped in big pieces
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1/4 onion cut in wedges
4 peppercorns
1 sprig of fresh dill

Spinach:
1/2 bag of spinach
1/2 can of Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup of vegetarian broth
1 clove of garlic, minced finely
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
pepper

Potatoes:
4 small potatoes, cut into wedges
1 tbl of Coleman’s dried mustard
1 tsp of dried dill
1 tbl of olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix the potato wedges, mustard, dill, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and stab some holes into the bowl. Microwave on high for about 3 minutes to parboil the potatoes.

When the potatoes finish cooking in the microwave, remove CAREFULLY – the bowl gets extra hot and when you remove the plastic wrap, make sure that when you unwrap the bowl, keep your face away from the bowl because the heat is ridiculously hot.

Take a cookie sheet and grease it lightly and pour the potatoes onto the pan and spread them until they make a single layer and throw into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes until they form a crispy brown crust – I’d check them after about 8 minutes.

While your potatoes are cooking, work on the fish. Pour the wine, broth, and water into a large pan. Add the vegetables into the liquid and throw in the peppercorns and the dill sprig and let it come to a boil. Lower the heat until it simmers and carefully put in the salmon steaks. let them simmer until they are cooked – about 10 minutes. Grind the pepper and keep mixing.

When your fish is done, remove it from the liquid and cover and let it sit for a few minutes and serve it with the potatoes and the spinach. For a sauce for the fish, I mixed horseradish mustard with sour cream.

While your fish is cooking, heat oil in a pan over a medium heat, and add the garlic and let it cook for about a minute until it gets fragrant. Add the red pepper flakes and stir constantly to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the beans and broth and mix, raising the heat to high to boil, and let the liquid reduce to half. Then add the spinach leaves, a handful at a time and mix – some of the leaves will be wilted and some will be barely cooked.

 

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