Fri, 26 August 2011
I love pink salmon, the delicious but often overlooked species of the West Coast. During salmon season you’ll see pinks next to the other wild species like sockeye and coho in the seafood section of supermarkets. It’s just as fresh, just as delicious but often costs a lot less.
Most of the time I see fresh pinks packaged as whole, cleaned fish, but you can also get them in fillets in the freezer section. Here are two great ways to cook this excellent, wild, sustainable seafood.
Grilled Whole Pink Salmon in Foil
Makes 4-6 servings
The following simple technique gives the fish a more subtle and delicate flavor and texture than grilling over direct heat, and the orange adds a lovely flavor and aroma.
1 whole, cleaned 3-4 lb | 1.5 - 2 kg wild BC pink salmon (you can also do this with other salmon species or trout)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 Tbsp | 45 mL butter, at room temperature
2 Tbsp | 25 mL chopped fresh parsley
1/2 medium white onion, peeled
sprigs of parsley for garnish
Prepare your grill for medium direct heat. Tear off a strip of heavy-duty foil 21/2 times as long as the fish and double it. Spread 1 Tbsp | 15 mL of the butter evenly over the top surface of the foil. Place the fish on the buttered foil. Lightly season the fish inside and out with salt and pepper, and sprinkle it with chopped parsley. Slice the onion and one of the oranges into thin rounds and place half of the onion and orange slices inside the body cavity and the other half on top of the fish. Daub the remaining 2 Tbsp | 30 mL butter inside the fish and on top of the onion and orange slices. Squeeze half the remaining orange over everything and wrap the foil around the fish, sealing it tightly.
Place the foil package on the cooking grate, cover the grill, and cook the salmon for 8–12 minutes, or until the fish is just done (about 140 to 150˚F | 60 to 66˚C). You can poke a meat thermometer through the foil in the last few minutes of cooking to check for doneness. To serve, open up the foil, carefully transfer the fish to a warmed platter, and pour the juices left in the foil over the fish (alternatively, it looks great served in the foil, too). Garnish the salmon with orange wedges and parsley sprigs.
Planked Pink Salmon with Pesto
Makes 4 - 6 servings
This is a classic way to plank BC wild pink salmon. Serve it with a tossed green salad and maybe some Fettuccini Alfredo.
For the salmon:
two 1 – 2 lb | .5 – 1 Kg boned pink salmon fillets (or sockeye, if you can’t find pink fillets), skin on
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons for garnish
two cedar cooking planks, soaked in cold water overnight or at least a couple hours
For the pesto (for maximum convenience, you can use good-quality store-bought pesto)
1 cup | 250 mL basil leaves, washed and dried
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup | 75 mL pine nuts
1 cup | 250 mL grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup | 175 mL extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Season the filets with a little salt and pepper and set them aside.
In a food processor, purée the basil, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese with 2 or 3 Tbsp | 30 or 45 mL of the olive oil. With the processor running, slowly add the rest of the oil. Season the pesto with salt and pepper.
Coat the salmon filets with an even layer of the pesto (you’ll have enough pesto left over to toss with some pasta another day; it freezes well, too).
Preheat the grill on medium-high for 5–10 minutes, or until the chamber temperature rises above 500°F | 260°C. Rinse the soaked plank and place it on the cooking grate. Cover the grill and heat the plank for 4–5 minutes, or until it starts to throw off a bit of smoke and crackles lightly. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Place the salmon filets on the plank, leaving room around each for heat to circulate. Cook the fish for 8–12 minutes, or to an internal temperature of 135°F | 57°C. Serve the salmon garnished with lemon wedges.
Category:general -- posted at: 11:52am PDT
Fri, 19 August 2011
Makes 2–4 servings
This technique works with sardines, smelts, fresh herring, or any other smallish fish, like pan-fry-sized trout. Just make sure the fish are scaled, gutted, and ultra-fresh. The only thing you need to serve with these is a crisp, dry white wine.
1 lb | 500 g fresh, cleaned small fish
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
dried oregano (or finely chopped fresh herbs of your choice)
extra virgin olive oil
fresh lemon wedges
finely chopped fresh parsley
Prepare your grill for direct high heat. Pat the cleaned fish dry with a paper towel and place them in a nonreactive dish. Cut 3 or 4 diagonal slashes with a sharp knife, about 1/8 inch | 3 mm deep, along each side of each fish. Season both sides with salt, pepper, and crumbled oregano or chopped fresh herbs. Drizzle the fish with olive oil and pat the herbs and oil into the little slashes with your fingers.
When the grill is hot, place the fish on the grate. Cover them and cook them for no more than a couple of minutes per side. Remove them from the heat and season them with a little more salt and pepper. Drizzle the fish with some more olive oil and squeeze some lemon juice over them. Finish them with a sprinkle of the chopped parsley and serve them with a lemon wedge and a cold glass of wine.
Category:general -- posted at: 8:04am PDT
Fri, 12 August 2011
Whiskey and Honey-planked Peaches
Makes 8 servings
This delicious recipe is based on the technique of planking god Ted Reader. You can easily substitute ripe pears or nectarines for the peach halves. The key is to use perfectly ripe freestone peaches so it’s easy to halve and peel them.
1 cedar plank, soaked for 6 hours or overnight
3/4 cup | 175 mL Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey
1/2 cup | 125 mL honey
freshly ground black pepper to taste
freshly grated nutmeg to taste
8 ripe but firm freestone peaches, peeled and halved
1 Tbsp | 15 mL fresh lemon juice
1 cup | 250 mL whipped cream, sweetened with
a dash of Amaretto, or premium vanilla ice cream
8 sprigs fresh mint
Combine the whiskey and honey in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Season the mixture with the pepper and nutmeg. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer it until the liquid is reduced by half. Remove it from the heat and cool it.
Arrange the peaches cut side up in a dish just large enough to hold them in one layer and brush them with the lemon juice. Spoon 1 Tbsp | 15 mL whiskey-honey mixture over each peach and let them marinate for 1 hour.
Preheat the grill to high. Place the soaked plank on the grill, close the lid, and bake it for 3–5 minutes, or until it begins to crackle and smoke. Carefully lift the lid, place the peaches on the plank, cut side up, and close the lid. Cook them for 3–5 minutes, or until the peaches are hot and tender and starting to char on the edges. Remove them from the plank and transfer them to dessert plates. Garnish each peach with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream, drizzle it with the remaining bourbon-honey mixture, add a sprig of mint, and serve the peaches immediately.
SAFETY NOTE: Keep a spray bottle filled with water next to the grill to extinguish any flames – sometimes the corners of the plank will catch fire. You should always have a fire extinguisher near your grill in any case.
Category:general -- posted at: 10:08am PDT
Fri, 5 August 2011
Lamb Meatball Kebabs With Mint Jelly Glaze
Makes 4 main course servings or 8 appetizers
The combination of toasted pine nuts and fresh and dried herbs gives these kebabs a rich flavor and tender but nutty texture. This recipe is a bit fussy because the raw lamb meatballs are very delicate and need to be handled gently when they’re placed on the skewer and when you’re turning them on the grill. But man, are they worth the trouble! This is an unbelievably succulent kebab. Serve it as an appetizer or as a main course with some rice, tabouleh and grilled vegetables.
eight 7-inch | 18 cm bamboo skewers, soaked for at least 1 hour
1/2 cup | 125 mL mint jelly
1/4 cup | 50 mL water
1/2 cup | 125 mL pine nuts
1 lb | 500 g ground lamb
1/2 cup | 125 mL fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup | 50 mL chopped cilantro
1/4 cup | 50 mL chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
1/4 cup | 50 mL chopped fresh mint
1/2 tsp | 2 mL dried mint
1 Tbsp | 15 mL chopped fresh chives
1/2 tsp | 2 mL dried oregano
1/4 tsp | 1 mL freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp | 2 mL kosher salt
generous grinding black pepper
2 or 3 small zucchini, sliced into 3/4-inch | 2 cm discs
10 ripe cherry tomatoes
10 smallish button mushrooms, or 5 larger ones cut in half
Combine the mint jelly and water in a small saucepan and heat the mixture, stirring, until the jelly is melted. Set it aside.
Toast the pine nuts in a skillet or nonstick sauté pan over medium heat until they turn golden brown. Remove them from the pan, cool them for a few minutes, and then coarsely chop the nuts. Gently but thoroughly combine the ground lamb, pine nuts, breadcrumbs, egg, cilantro, parsley, mint, chives, oregano, nutmeg, salt, and pepper in a nonreactive bowl.
Wetting your hands to prevent sticking, shape the lamb mixture into about 25 1-inch | 2.5 cm balls. Thread the meatballs onto 5 to 8 soaked bamboo skewers, alternating them with the zucchini discs, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms. (Press the vegetables gently against the meatballs to help hold them in place while grilling.) At this point, you can refrigerate the completed skewers, covered with plastic wrap, for an hour or two.
Prepare your grill for direct medium heat and oil the grill. Spray the kebabs with cooking spray or brush them with oil and place them on the grill. Cook them for 4–5 minutes per side, or until the meatballs are cooked through, brushing them with the mint jelly glaze during grilling. (Note: These kebabs are touchy. Be careful when you turn them to ensure the meatballs stay on the skewer. The trick here is to start with a clean cooking grate and to not touch them for at least the first three or four minutes of cooking time, so the meatballs have a chance to firm up before you start moving them.)
(Photo copyright John Sinal Photography. Used with permission)
Category:grilling -- posted at: 2:37pm PDT