Monday, May 12, 2008

Tastes like . . . Oregon?

Fresh Snake Hill Farm asparagus, toll caught King Salmon from Kate's Fish (more from them below), and some Quinoa w/ dried apricots, both from the Westside food co-op.

The salmon was a piece from the midsection, and was so thick that half a pound was only around an inch wide across the top. To get decent looking portions with good surface area for searing (however lightly) I split the fish into belly and loin pieces, removed the skin from each of the two pieces, and then laid the pieces on their sides for cooking. Pictured above is the loin piece--the belly was just about the same thickness. If the skin was still on it would be along the edge of the fish piece towards the bottom of the picture. Hate to loose the skin, but for simple stove top cooking it was just easier to cook the fish on its side. Enough of that. It was a great fish with a smooth salmon flavor and buttery texture. Seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked to medium rare in a mix of butter and canola oil, there's not much better.

As for the asparagus, again, it's asparagus season, so I'm going to get as much of it as I can. Cooked the same way I usually do it. Regarding the side effects, you put up with what you have to. The stuff is worth it.

The Quinoa. A quick rinse and then one part quinoa to two parts water with a little salt and some chopped up dried apricots for good measure. Simmered covered for about 20 minutes, and left to rest covered for another five, and that's all there was to it. The apricots added a nice sweetness to quinoa.

No sauce with this meal. The salmon was rich enough. Still, a sauce would have looked nice.

And some rhubarb preserves. Straight out of The Silver Spoon Cookbook, one cup of sugar to each pound of rhubarb (straight from the community garden), let steep for two hours, and then the resulting mixture is poured into a pan for 30 min. of simmering (with lots of stirring) followed by an additional 5 min. of simmering with some grated orange zest (Here the zest was from a Frog Hollow nectarine? courtesy of Stuart--his Flicker pages are linked on the right.). It's a shame to go from beautiful stalks to a brown blob, but the taste (and preservation power) is worth it. Great with ice cream, maple syrup, and some crushed nuts.

While I associate salmon and rhubarb with the Northwest (where I first tried rhubarb pie--I know, I was raised in a bubble), this last picture is pure Great Lakes. In addition to the salmon, I got a whole Walleye from Kate's for a side project. I got the fish filleted and wasn't in need of the bones, just flesh that day (although I was hoping for eggs, but unfortunately he wasn't a she). After the fish was cleaned and the fillets bagged up, Tom, the friendliest fishmonger in the CLE, was considerate enough to make sure I didn't leave the best part behind. Below are the tiny and tasty Walleye cheeks, skin on, over more of the quinoa with some parsley grown by a wonderful Bosnian couple that sell some great stuff at the Shaker Market every week. Really a nice little appetizer.


ntsc said...

We had very fresh asparagus last night, cut free from our patch not an hour before dinner.

We had it wrapped in thin very fresh pancetta, which had been hanging in my basement up until my wife brought in the asparagus.

This was accompanied by a standing rib and mashed potatoes with a nice Shiraz.

The CFT said...

Hard to compete with that--it sounds great. Great blog too. While posts on the topic have been scarce over here, I love the cured/curing meat.

maybelles parents said...

wonderful--i love to think that we have passed at the market every week. I love all those purveyors and I love your simple preparation.

The CFT said...

Stop by and say hello--I'm at the Mackenzie Creamery/Crooked River Smokers stand. Sometimes it's busy, but there's always time to talk.