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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Oven "Fried" Salmon With Meyer Lemon Reduction, Buttermilk Creamed Potatoes, and Asparagus With Meyer Lemon and Texas Red Grapefruit Hollandaise

This was our dinner Friday night.  It's a bit more ambitious than my usual quick and easy cooking, but well worth the effort.

For the fish:
I intended to use trout for this dish, but evidently I had some miscommunication with the fishmonger and ended up with salmon.  Oh, well, it's all good!

Leave the skin on the fish.  Portion your fish into even serving-size pieces.  Rinse and pat dry.  Set up a breading station.  First bowl, flour with plenty of salt and freshly ground pepper.  Second bowl, one egg beaten with a splash of water.  Third bowl, panko crumbs mixed with freshly chopped dill and parsley (citrus zest would be good in this too).

Hold fish with skin side up, dip in flour, covering all sides except the skin.  Then dip in the egg mixture, covering all sides except the skin, and allow the excess to drip off.  Dip in the panko mixture, covering all sides except the skin, pressing lightly to coat the fish well.  Place the fish skin side down in a cast iron skillet coated with olive oil.  Give the panko-coated fish a light spritz of olive oil with a Misto sprayer or Pam olive oil spray.  Bake at 400 until fish is flaky.  Time will vary greatly depending on type and size of fish.

For the Meyer lemon reduction:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup shallots, fine dice
1/4 cup fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
1 cup chardonnay
1 cube Knorr chicken bouillon

Melt butter in skillet over medium heat, add shallots and saute until soft.  Add lemon juice, chardonnay, and bouillon cube.  Increase temperature to medium-high.  Stir until bouillon dissolves.  Cook at a low boil, stirring frequently, until sauce is reduced to a thick consistency.

For the creamed potatoes:
Scrub Yukon Gold potatoes and cut into thick slices.  Put potatoes in large saucepan and cover with water by 1 or 2 inches.  Add a tablespoon of salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook at a low boil until potatoes are soft all the way through.  Drain, cool slighly, and remove skins.

Over low heat mash potatoes with potato masher and add butter, buttermilk, mayonnaise, and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  A little buttermilk ranch dressing mix or green goddess dressing mix is a perfect seasoning for these potatoes.  I love the ones from Penzey's.

Use an immersion stick blender to process the potatoes until smooth and creamy.  For a pretty presentation, spoon into a heavy duty plastic bag, snip off a corner, and pipe onto plate.  Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and dill.

For the asparagus:
Rinse asparagus, trim the ends.  In a skillet simmer 2 inches of water with a healthy sprinkle of salt and a big squeeze of lemon juice.  Add asparagus in a single layer and simmer until crisp-tender.  Remove asparagus and shock in cold water to maintain the bright green color.

For the Hollandaise:
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
pinch salt
pinch cayenne

Vigorously whisk lemon juice and egg yolks together in stainless steel bowl until thickened and doubled in volume.  Place bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water.  The water shouldn't touch the bottom of the bowl.  Don't let the eggs get too hot or they'll scramble.  Continue to whisk egg/lemon mixture rapidly while slowly drizzling in the melted butter.  Whisk until sauce is thickened and doubled in volume.  Remove from heat, whisk in salt and cayenne.

I whisked in a big squeeze of Texas ruby red grapefruit juice to the finished mixture.  Next time I plan to make the Hollandaise with all grapefruit juice instead of Meyer lemon juice.  There's a Gordon Ramsay recipe for Hollandaise made with grapefruit juice and olive oil that sounds interesting to try.

Easy Asian Noodle Side Dish

Very quick, easy, and flavorful.  I used rice stick noodles, but they're a bit sticky.  I'll try it with sturdier noodles next time.

In a nonstick skillet, heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil over medium to medium-high heat.  Add a tiny splash of sesame oil, 2 or 3 anchovies that have been mashed with a fork, 2 or 3 cloves of garlic pressed through a garlic press, and a couple pinches of hot red pepper powder (I like the Korean version).  Saute until everything is cooked through and well combined.

Add cooked Asian noodles, whatever your preference, and toss well.  Garnish with a sprinkle of hot red pepper powder and chopped cilantro.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Like Christmas And My Birthday All Rolled Into One

I'm so excited, I can hardly wait.  At long last our kitchen is going to receive a much-needed improvement.  We're replacing this 26-year-old number:

With this:

Well, not exactly this, but a nicely discounted one like it from the "scratch and dent store," our local Sears outlet.  The flaws on the one we ordered should be hidden by our cabinets/counters.

Our old electric tract home/contractor grade range has been on her last "burners" for some time ... no really, only one burner on the stovetop still works right and in the oven only the broiler element still works correctly!  It takes some serious planning to roast or bake when the oven requires an hour to preheat. 

Of course I did valiantly do my part to preserve the life of the old range by using it only very infrequently until the last couple of years.  It was hard work driving through all those fast food joints and placing all those orders for delivery, but I took one for the team.  Papa John's and Chef Chu probably still miss me.

Seriously, though, my hubby is a terrific cook and now I've found out how much I enjoy it.  Our family is committed to eating healthy, frugal, homecooked meals.  It's going to be such a blessing to have the equipment to make it happen.  I'm eagerly anticipating the yummies we can create with a properly functioning appliance.  It's all gas, has two power burners, a regular burner, and a simmer burner, and also an oval center burner for use with a griddle or oversized stockpot, a warmer drawer, and convection oven whose self-clean feature hasn't been hopelessly destroyed by years of misuse.

Lots of tasty recipes coming soon :)