Bloody hell, Spring has finally come. About time if you ask me. Today has been non-stop sunshine, which makes me even happier since I was working from home today. Since Drake was born I skip the office on a Wednesday and work from home instead. I am lucky enough to have a job that allows me to do that, and also thankful that I have the self motivation to actually get work done, especially on a day like this!
Why do I work from home? So I don’t miss him sliding down the slide in our back yard (thanks old owners for leaving that playset..), and picking daisies from the grass.
His first proper day playing outside for pretty much the entire day. If I was at work, in boring Bellevue, I would have missed it. It would have sucked. Thank heavens for work-from-home-Wednesdays. I get to see Drake sliding down slides, playing on swings and picking daisies. I get to be right there and catch him at the bottom of the slide, not just see it in a photograph from Danika.
If anyone from my company is reading this – Hello! I got work done, honest.
So what was for dinner… hmm. I was going through my folder of magazine recipe cutouts this week, and came across this one from an old edition of Bon-Appetit. It looked nice and spring like, so I figured I would make it this week. Happens to be fast enough for a mid-week meal too, which is always welcome.
I made a few changes. The recipe called for skin off, but heck to that – a lot of nutrients in fish is right under the skin, so keep that bad-boy hanging around. I played it a little differently this time though. I cooked the fish without the skin on, but then fried up the skin until it was really crispy and crunchy. A perfect textural pairing to a soft warm, light brothy dish.
The recipe also called for quite a bit of white wine. That isn’t too good for a 15 month old. If he was 18months, sure – why not!! So, a quick substitute was made here too. Sure, the dish wouldn’t taste quite the same without the wine, but I don’t care, it was still great!
A quick way to skin a fillet:
We all know there is more than one way to skin a cat.. the same goes for fish too. The easiest method, if you have a sharp knife, is as follows:
1) lay the fillet skin side down on a chopping board
2) Take a really sharp knife, preferably with a thin blade. Lay it flat with the board. Put the knife cutting edge just above the skin, on the short side of the fillet – keeping the knife flat (parallel with the chopping board)
3) Put your not knife hand on top of the fillet to stop it from moving.
4) Gently and smoothly slice horizontally just above the skin, through the fillet, making sure the tip and bolster ends of the knife are level (so we aren’t cutting a wedge). Slice from one end of the fish to the other, keeping your other hand on top of the fish at all times.
With a sharp knife, this will literally take a few seconds, and yield a mush cleaner removal of the skin than putting the fillet skin side up, and hacking away at it.
Salmon, crispy salmon skin, purple potatoes and a great herb dijon broth
3/4lb wild salmon fillet – cut into two pieces
8 small fingerling or small purple potatoes
3 small shallots – peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh tarragon, and a couple of whole leaves for garnish
3 cups of chicken broth (split into 2 1.5cup measures)
1 scant tablespoon of dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
3 good sized handfuls of spinach
Preheat oven to 400F
Wash the potatoes, but don’t peel them. Cut the larger ones in half, so they are all roughly the same size. Put in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Boil for 6-8 minutes – until the potatoes are almost cooked all the way through (if you poke one with a knife, it should still be a little firm in the middle). When done, strain and run cold water on them to cool.
In a small saucepan add the shallots, 1.5cups of chicken broth and the vinegar. Bring to the boil, and let it cook down for about 5 minutes – until reduced to almost half. Now add to this the rest of the chicken stock, the dijon mustard and the tarragon. Get boiling again, then just keep warm.
Whilst this is happening get a medium/large non-stick pan hot over a medium-high flame. Add a little olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. Add both fillets of salmon to the pan, what would have been skin side down. Cook for a couple of minutes until lightly seared. Flip, and do the same for the other side.
Place the fish in a roasting pan, and surround it with the potatoes. Pour over the broth, making sure to add all the shallots and tarragon to the pan – don’t leave any behind!
Place in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes until the salmon is just cooked through.
Whilst that is in the oven we are going to fry up the salmon skin, and wilt the spinach. Get that non-stick pan hot again over a high heat. Add a little more oil/butter if needed. Put the salmon skin in the pan, making sure it lays flat. Cook on one side for about 4 minutes, then the other side for about 4 minutes also. You want to make sure the skin is nice and crispy. Remove from the pan, and place on paper towel to drain.
In a large saute pan, get a little olive oil hot over a medium heat. Add the spinach. Keep the spinach turning, and it should wilt pretty quickly. When all leaves have wilted, remove from the heat.
To serve: Get two bowls. Divide the spinach between the two bowls. Add the potatoes/shallots to the bowls. Top with the salmon, and pour the broth over. Serve with a few slices of the crispy fish skin.