Food+ Wine: Matt's Date-Night Salmon How-To:
In the hopes that Seattle is about to enjoy another weekend of Ray Bans and farmer tans, we put together a date-night meal fit to be eaten out on the patio. It’s nothing too fancy, and probably more delicious because of that. Everything we bought for this meal was as close to local as possible: Coho Salmon from Fisherman’s Terminal and greens & veggies from Pike Place. So, without further ado, here’s a rather simple recipe that Chef Tracey likes to pull out during spring as an excuse to drink some white wine and catch some rays:
It’s easiest to split up the directions into three parts: the verde (a similar, yet more complex tasting cousin of pesto), the salad, and the salmon. [This recipe will feed two people with leftover verde for whatever you see fit (ie.pasta, garlic bread, etc.)] Here goes…
½ cup each of chives, parsley & basil
¼ cup each of watercress, tarragon, chervil & capers
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (or two whole anchovies)
1 roasted clove garlic
½ cup olive oil
Zest of one whole meyer lemon
Put capers, anchovy & garlic in food processor and pulse on and off for ten seconds. This will ensure that the capers break up nicely. Add the remainder of the ingredients except for the olive oil. Pulse for another 10 seconds. Take off the lid and scrape the sides clean of any stray herbs. Add the olive oil, replace the lid and turn “on” for about a minute, or enough time to ensure there are no more large chunks or leaves.Scrape into a bowl and Part A is done. (Note: This recipe can be modified to fit the greens you have in your fridge. Have some arugula? Delightful! Spinach? Great, too.)
Grab the leftover of the watercress bunch from the verde recipe, and cut clear of the root system. You can pick the stems if you prefer, but we like the texture and look that they provide. Incorporate the watercress with one fennel bulb sliced as thin as you can get it. Then, section out 1 ½ grapefruits, and mix it on in.Take the other ½ of your grapefruit and juice it into a cup. Use a 1 to 3 ratio with your booty and whisk in olive oil, e.g. 1oz juice to 3oz. oil.
2- 6oz. salmon steaks with skin on
1 tspn olive oil
Couple pinches of salt and pepper
We chose a cut of Coho salmon that had skin on one side. The reason for this is that when cooked correctly, the skin crisps up and acts almost like niri (seaweed) in sushi, and gives you more texture. Get your pan going on medium heat, add olive oil to cover surface. As this is heating up, pat your salmon down with a paper towel to extract excess moisture and salt and pepper only the skin side (or the side going face down first). Drop into glistening oil and let sear for about 30 seconds before reducing heat to low. Let cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the whitish hue of the cooked fish has risen to a little less than half way up the cut. Quickly salt and pepper top-side and flip.Cook for another 3 minutes using the same technique (medium for 30 seconds, then down to low for remainder) and part C is finished.
I don’t know about you, but when I look down on a pretty looking plate, I walk a little taller when serving it (“hey there little lady, I made you some fish… No big deal or anything… Just a bit of crisped Coho salmon I picked up down at Pike, along with a simple watercress, grapefruit, and fresh fennel salad, all topped with a little of my homemade verde…”). Here’s how we finished the presentation: We put the salad at the bottom of a shallow soup bowl (premixed with your desired amount of dressing), placed the salmon right across the top of the greens, and bloop, scoop a bit (or a lot, if you’re like me) of verde and voila; a pretty, delicious meal that even I can cook (with Chef Tracey’s help of course).
This meal is perfect served with a crisp white wine that has complexity. If it’s too straightforward of a white, it is liable to get lost in the flavorful dish. With this in mind, Travis, one of our pairing experts, chose a 2011 Columbia Valley blend from Buty Winery which features 60% Semillion, 19% Sauvignon, and 21% Muscadelle. It was darn near perfect, the Semillion matched with the grapefruit and citronette, the Sauvignon with the salmon, and the Muscadelle with both the fish and the verde. This wine goes for $27.99 in the shop, which I find to be reasonable for a nice spring date-night. However, If you’re looking to spend a bit less, you can also go with Alba COR’s 52% Pinot Gris 48% Gewurztraminer blend ($17.99) that features bright peach and lychee notes and a pear spice along the finish. Although with its lighter body and lower complexity you run the risk of the dish overwhelming the bottle. Regardless of the wine compliment, get on out into that weak Seattle sunshine, cook up some fish, and put on a nice tan the kind for which Seattle is so well known.
Matt (your soon-to-be Wednesday server!)
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