Showing posts sorted by relevance for query salmon. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query salmon. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Fast, Easy and Delicious Can't-Resist Salmon for a Meal or an NFL Game Day Snack

Eating healthy makes good sense and doesn't have to take a lot of time. One of my favorite dishes is a dry rub roasted salmon that makes its own glaze.

Roasting a salmon filet is perfect for a family meal, NFL game day or a party entree. For a pot-luck dinner last weekend with friends, I  made roasted salmon and a Little Gem lettuce salad with carrots. Healthy, nutritious and delicious and oh so easy.
To get the salmon from refrigerator-to-table, all I needed to do was season the filet with dry rub and place it in the refrigerator. Overnight the mix of sugar, salt and aromatics drew moisture out of the fish. The dry rub turned into a wet slurry that became the base for a sweet-heat savory glaze. 

The filet takes 30 minutes to cook in the oven. The glaze takes 5 minutes to cook in a saucepan.

Because the salmon is best served at room temperature, the dish can be cooked ahead of time and served when everyone is ready to eat. Which makes it ideal to make ahead when you know you will be busy before the meal.

For brunch, the salmon can be served with toasted bagels and cream cheese and with scrambled eggs. For lunch, dinner or watching a football game, add a green salad and pasta and you have an entire meal.

Dry Rub Salmon with Brown Sugar Mushroom Glaze

Adding tomato sauce to the glaze mellows the flavors. You can use canned tomato sauce but making your own will taste much better. Roasted tomato sauce is so easy to make, I would encourage you to make a lot and freeze the sauce in 6 ounce air-tight containers. That way, when you want to make a pasta sauce you will have roasted tomato sauce in the freezer.



Yield 4-6 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Marinating Time: Overnight

Cooking Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour + marinating overnight

Ingredients

2 - 3 pounds fresh, skin-on salmon fillet, preferably wild not farm raised, washed

Dry Rub

2 1/2 - 3 cups brown sugar, depending on the size of the filet

1/3 cup kosher salt

1 tablespoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

Glaze

1/4 - 1/2 cup dry rub wet slurry from overnight refrigeration

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon raw onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley or kale

2 large shiitake or brown mushrooms, washed, pat dried, stem end trimmed, finely chopped

1 large tomato to make 1/4 cup roasted tomato sauce

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 500 F. Remove the stem from the tomato. Place the whole tomato on a Silpat sheet or parchment paper on a baking tray.
Roast 20 minutes. Transfer the tomato and any juices from the baking tray into a food mill or a fine mesh strainer. Press the tomato to collect the juices and pulp. Reserve skin and seeds to make vegetable stock or discard. Set tomato sauce aside or refrigerate in an air-tight container. The sauce can be frozen if made ahead.
Inspect the filet and remove any bones. Trim off small fins if there are any and discard. Pat dry.

In a bowl, mix together the dry rub seasoning.

Measure a piece of plastic wrap that it is longer than the filet by 5" on all sides. Lay the plastic wrap on a flat surface.

Spread half the dry rub on the plastic wrap. Lay the salmon filet on top, skin side down. Spread the remainder of the dry rub on the salmon.

Fold over the ends of the plastic wrap so the salmon and dry mix are pressed against each other.  Put the package into a plastic bag and seal.

Place the plastic bag on a baking sheet in case of leaks. Refrigerate.

The next day, remove the salmon filet. The dry rub will have become a wet slurry.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

To make the glaze, place the bag in a bowl. Remove the salmon from the plastic bag and plastic wrap being careful to capture all the liquid. Use your hand to scrape off any dry rub that clings to the filet or the plastic wrap. Mix together any remaining dry rub and the wet slurry.

Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and place a small wire rack on top of the aluminum foil. Place the salmon filet on the wire rack, skin side down. Place in the oven.

In a small sauce pan, heat olive oil and sauté onion, mushrooms and Italian parsley or kale until lightly browned. Add dry rub slurry and roasted tomato sauce. Mix well. Simmer 5 minutes. Set aside.
After the salmon has been in the oven 20 minutes, remove. Place a generous amount of the glaze on top and return to the oven another 10 minutes. Reserve any extra sauce.
Remove from the oven. When the salmon is cool enough to touch, use a pairing knife to help remove the filet from the wire rack. Keep the skin on the filet.  When transferring the salmon to a decorative plate, be careful not to disturb the toping.

Serve at room temperature with the extra sauce in a small bowl.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Father's Day Brunch with Native American-Style Salmon

One dish that's become a favorite for our Father's Day brunch is a Native American-style salmon that can be prepared in the oven or the grill. Perfect to serve with toast, cream cheese, red onions, and capers with a green salad, grilled vegetables, and a simple dessert of bread pudding or fresh fruit and cheese.

Whether you prepare the salmon on-the-day or the day-ahead, it should be served at room temperature to bring out the sweet flavors of the fish.

Brown Sugar Salmon

Yield 4-6 servings
Time 2 hours marinade or overnight; 30 minutes

Ingredients

3 pounds fresh salmon fillets with skin on, preferably wild not farm raised, washed
3 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon paprika

Method

Buy either fillets or the filleted side of a whole salmon. Carefully inspect the flesh to remove any bones that might have been missed. Pat dry.

Measure a piece of plastic wrap so that it is longer than each piece by several inches. Lay the plastic wrap on the cutting board.

Mix together the brown sugar, kosher salt, and paprika. Spread a thin layer of dry mix on the plastic wrap, lay a piece of salmon on top, then cover the salmon with another layer of dry mix. Fold over the ends of the plastic wrap so the salmon and dry mix are tightly wrapped together. Put the package into a plastic bag and seal.

The dry rub will become wet as the sugar-salt mixture pulls moisture out of the salmon. To prevent against spills, place the plastic bag on a baking sheet. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If using a grill, turn one side to high, leaving the other side "cold".

Remove the salmon from the bag and peel off the plastic wrap being careful to reserve all the liquid. Line a baking tray with a piece of aluminum foil, place a wire rack on top, and put the salmon on the rack.

Put the marinade into a small saucepan and simmer 5 minutes until reduced by half. Baste the salmon with the sauce.

If using a grill, place the pan with the rack and the salmon on the cold side. Cover and cook 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so the salmon cooks evenly. Baste, cover and cook another 10 minutes.

In the oven, bake 10 minutes, baste, cook another 10 minutes and remove. I like my salmon on the moist side. Check to see that these cooking times give you the texture you like.

Serve at room temperature with bagels or toast, cream cheese, chopped red onions, and capers.

Variations

Add 1 tablespoon grated ginger to the basting sauce and reduce.

Add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne to the basting sauce and reduce.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Friend in Need: The Ingredients' Challenge

A dear friend has decided to shake up her life. She's taking the plunge and moving to New York. Making such a big move requires many changes. She'll have to find an affordable apartment and a new school for her son. Getting used to shopping and traveling around without a car is also a big adjustment for someone accustomed to LA. And there's the move itself. All the packing and arranging with movers. But before beginning all that, my friend sent me an email asking for help. She has a long list of food in her refrigerator and pantry that she wants to eat before she leaves town. I've excerpted part of her list. As you can see, she needs a lot of help. I can offer some recipes, but she needs many others.

Please send in your recipes so we can help her leave town with a clear conscience.
In my freezer:

Sockeye salmon fillets
Boneless leg of lamb, seasoned/butterflied from Trader Joe's
Boneless beef bottom sirloin tri-tip
Ground chicken
Extra lean, boneless, skinless, trimmed chicken (ick)
Alaska cod fillets

In my over-flowing pantry:

Sauces: Moroccan tagine simmer sauce, Cuban mojito simmer sauce, cacciatore simmer sauce, olive tapenade spread, roasted red pepper and artichoke tapenade, artichoke antipasto
Lots of nuts, including a big box of walnuts, pignolia, pepita and almond mix (I guess for a salad)
and unsalted dry toasted sliced almonds.
Cans of black beans, garbanzo beans, mixed bean salad, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, corn. most great for chili, and burritos....
To start her off, here's a salmon dish that borrows from a Native American recipe and can be served as an appetizer or main course.

Native American Salmon

Marinate the salmon overnight with a dry rub of cayenne, ginger, brown sugar, and kosher salt. The salt will pull water out of the fish. What started as a dry rub at night will be wet in the morning.

1 lb. salmon, washed, pat dried
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
1" piece of ginger, peeled, grated
Pinch of cayenne

On the cutting board, spread a piece of plastic wrap twice the length of the salmon. Spread the grated ginger and cayenne on the flesh. Mix together the dry ingredients. Put half of the dry rub on the plastic wrap. Lay the salmon on top of the dry rub. Put the other half of the rub on top of the fish. Fold the plastic wrap over the salmon, then put the packet into a Ziploc bag and carefully seal. Keep in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, remove the salmon from the plastic wrap. Save the sauce and pour it into a small saucepan and reduce by half over a low flame. With a pastry brush, coat the top of the salmon with the glaze.

Place the salmon on a wire rack on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Alternatively, if you have a bbq, set one side on high, put the salmon on the baking sheet on the cold side. After 10 minutes, rotate the pan so the salmon gets cooked evenly.

Serve at room temperature with bagels and cream cheese or on toast or with a salad.

Serves 4. Preparation Time: 15 minutes. Cooking Time: 20 minutes.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Labor Day Meal: Salmon with a Citrus Glaze Tangos with Mango Salsa

On holidays like Labor Day, the best dishes to serve friends and family are the ones that take very little effort to prepare.  That way you can spend your time enjoying the day not laboring in a hot kitchen.

Versatile salmon can be grilled, sauteed, baked, and braised. More often than not the preferred approach is to simply grill the fish--whole or filleted--with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper, the Italian way. But there are times when a little more seasoning accents salmon's natural flavors.

Spanish style preparations saute the fish with fresh tomatoes, pitted olives, peppers, onions, and parsley. American barbecue relies on sweet-heat. Another approach, one borrowing from South American and Caribbean recipes, marries citrus with honey and garlic in a simple sauce.

Serve the roasted fish with a side of reserved pan drippings and a mango-grilled corn salsa and you'll have the perfect summer meal to be enjoyed with a glass of chardonnay or an ice cold beer.

Mango Salsa

Make the salsa ahead and keep refrigerated in a sealed container

Serves 4

Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

1 ear corn, husks and silks removed, washed
1 large mango, washed, skin removed, meat cut into small pieces, pit discarded
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, washed, leaves only, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, skin on, charred in an open flame
1 tablespoon olive or safflower oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Method

Grill or oven roast the corn in a 400 F oven for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool and remove the kernels. Discard the cob. Clean off the charred skin from the garlic, finely chop, add to a bowl with the corn kernels, mango, onion, parsley, olive oil, and lemon juice. Toss well. Taste and season with sea salt and pepper.

Roast Salmon with a Citrus Glaze

Buy a fillet that has skin but not bones for easy serving.  The fresher, the better.

Serves 4

Time 45-60 minutes

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds salmon fillet with skin on, washed, pat dried
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 garlic clove, skin removed, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon pepper flakes or cayenne
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, washed, leaves only, finely chopped


Method

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cutting across the fillet, score deeply into the flesh about half way. Place the salmon on a Silpat or other non-stick material like parchment paper placed on a rimmed baking sheet.

Mix together the juices, honey, garlic, olive oil, cayenne, and parsley until the honey is well dissolved. Pour over the fillet.  Roast in the oven 30 minutes.  Remove and clean away and discard any pink solids.

Raise the temperature of the oven to 500 F. Baste the fillet with the pan drippings. Return the salmon to the oven and cook another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, baste, bake another 5 minutes being careful to brown but not burn the skin.

Transfer the salmon to a serving plate. Use a rubber spatula to collect all the pan drippings and place in a small bowl.

Serve the salmon with the pan drippings, mango salsa, and a green salad or freshly steamed rice.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

To Eat Well and Eat Healthy, California's Bay Area Chef's Use Flake Salt on Summer's Best Produce

Recently I was invited to take a culinary tour of the San Francisco Bay Area. That meant exploring Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose eating, drinking and meeting chefs. The restaurants were as varied as they could have been. They served pizza, steak, soul food, Mexican dishes, sushi, Portuguese and Vietnamese cuisine.
Two were Michelin starred, San Francisco's Omakase and San Jose's Adega Restaurant.  All were well-known local favorites. I loved each and every one of them.

Looking over my notes and photographs getting ready to write about the trip, I noticed something interesting. In four of the restaurants, chefs had taken special notice of the flavor enhancing qualities of specialty salts.

For years I have been using sea salt and additive-free Diamond Crystal kosher salt when I cook. On this trip I was impressed with the ways in which chefs used flake salts to finish their dishes.

Two chefs curated high quality flake salt

In Oakland at A16 Rockridge, as the pizzas I had ordered were baking in the wood fired oven, Isaiah Martinez, Executive Sous Chef, served me a plate of roasted calamari with deep fried Corona beans and paper thin slices of lemon. I took at bite. Delicious.

Before I could take another bite, Martinez sprinkled flake sea salt on the dish. I tried another bite. The flavors were brighter and cleaner.  At A16 Rockridge, Jacobsen's Sea salt is not used during cooking but as a finishing salt, sprinkled on at the last minute to protect its delightful crunch.
At chef Marc Zimmerman's extraordinary Alexander's Steakhouse in San Francisco, premium steaks are accompanied with a tray of a dozen+ salts. With my steak from Hokkaido, Japan's northern most island where the weather is cold and the cattle retain their fat to keep warm, I dutifully tasted each salt. Preferring some over others. The clear favorite for me was Murray River Flake Salt from Australia. The pink salt had a clean taste, just like Jacobsen's, but with an added minerality that worked well with the rich flavors of the beef.


Two chefs transformed flake salt by adding flavor

At Craftsman and Wolves, an upscale artisanal bakery and cafe in the evolving Mission District, chef William Werner creates inventive pastries and baked goods. He makes brownies flavored with Marcona almonds and salted caramel. His morning buns are beautiful works of art and inventively flavored with wild bariani honey, vanilla and Meyer lemon.
One of the bakery's most popular items is called The Rebel Within. Secreted inside the breakfast muffin is a whole soft boiled egg. Served with the muffin is a tabasco flavored flake salt. The crunchy, spicy salt works perfectly with the custardy egg and delicately flavored muffin.
Chef Gustavo Romero Veytia created a seasoned salt because he hates waste. At Calavera Mexican Kitchen & Agave Bar in Oakland's Uptown, Veytia uses a lot of roasted tomatoes to make salsas and sauces. He found himself throwing away mounds of tomato skins that were still full of flavor.

His solution was to roast the skins until they were parchment-paper-crisp before crumbling them together with Maldon flake salt. The result was a tomato salt that he sprinkles on special dishes like his Ensalada de Tomate. He dresses a richly flavored sampling of local summer-ripe tomatoes with a light cheese and crumbled chorizo dressing. Scattered along the sides of the plate are tomato flakes. A few of those sprinkled on a tomato and a superior dish becomes an extraordinary dish.

At home

So I could try Jacobsen's and Murray River flake salts in my own kitchen, I ordered them online as soon as I returned home.
At our Sunday Pacific Palisades farmers market, I picked up all I needed to create an easy-to-make feast. I could have used the outdoor grill but I am so in love with my de Buyer carbon steel pan, I cooked the salmon and veggies in the kitchen where I could more easily control the amount of char.

Even if you do not yet have these wonderful flake salts, you can have fantastic results using sea salt at the end to finish the seasoning.

Charred Vegetables and Salmon Filets With Flake Salts

If you have a quality flake salt like Maldon, Jacobsen's or Murray River, all the better, but definitely sprinkle on sea salt just before serving so the salt retains its crunchy freshness.
Murray River flake salt has a delicate minerality which is why it works so well with the steaks at Alexander's.  Made with water harvested from Netarts Bay off the Oregon Coast, Jacobsen's has a lighter, more delicate flavor and a bit more crunch than Maldon's. 

Murray River does not sell its products directly online except in Australia. Jacobsen's is available directly from the company. Both are available online from multiple sources. Maldon Salt is widely available in kitchen supply stores, upscale markets and online.

These salts cost quite a bit more than supermarket sea salt, but you only need a little to add a lot of flavor.
All of these companies sell flavored versions of their salts. I am certain they are lovely, but for this dish, use naturally flavored flake salt.

Serve with a tossed green salad, steamed rice or pasta.

Serves 4

Time to prepare: 15 minutes

Time to cook: 15 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound fresh salmon filets, skin on, bones removed, washed, pat dried

1 large yellow onion or 5 shallots, washed, peeled, stems and ends removed

4 ears of corn, husks and silks removed, washed, pat dried, cut into 3" sections

4 medium sized carrots, washed, ends removed, peeled, cut into slabs 2" long, 1/2" thick

6 shiitake mushrooms, washed, ends trimmed, cut into thick slices (optional)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons canola oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon flake salt, Maldon, Jacobsen's or Murray River to taste

Directions

Mix together the two oils and set aside.

Carefully check the salmon filets for bones. Remove any that might have been missed before. Using a sharp knife, create pieces 3" long and 1" wide. That size piece is easy to handle.

Prepare all the vegetables before beginning to cook.

Put the cast iron or carbon steel pan on a high flame with the overhead exhaust fan on. Do not add oil until the pan is hot.

When the pan smokes, drizzle on a tablespoon of the mixed olive oils. Season with a dusting of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Using long tongs, sauté the vegetables separately since they cook at different speeds. Start with the carrots. When they are charred on both sides but not burnt, remove and set aside.

Do the same with the onions and mushrooms (optional).

Add more of the mixed oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed.

Put the cut pieces of corn on the cob into the pan.

Turn the cobs in the hot pan until most of the kernels are charred. Work in batches if necessary.

When all the vegetables are cooked and reserved and the rice, salad or pasta has been prepared, add a bit more mixed oil to the pan.
Place the salmon pieces in the hot oil. Work in batches if necessary. Turn each piece so it browns on all sides.

Place the vegetables on a plate. Add the salmon. Just before serving, top with flake salt. Serve immediately.

Friday, December 27, 2013

New Year's Eve Treats: Salmon with Crispy Skin and Buckaroo Cookies

Where does time go? Last I looked, it was almost Thanksgiving. Now it's almost New Year's Eve. 2013 was a good year. Wishing everyone a great 2014.

On New Year's Eve we're having friends over for a late dinner and an evening of movie watching. We've seen most of the movies in Oscar contention and we have our favorites (HerNebraska Philomena and Fruitvale Station). But we have more to watch so we'll enjoy the evening with food and films.

Two of the treats I'll make include holiday cookies and salmon filet with crispy skin.  A few months ago for my oldest son's birthday party, we had a dinner at Napa Valley Grille in Westwood. Franklin likes farm fresh food, simply prepared, not fussy. We sampled the menu and the food was delicious. The chef stopped by to see if everyone was happy. A friendly, nice guy, chef Taylor Boudreaux sent out a pasta dish with truffles as a gift to the table. What a nice thing to do.
One of the dishes we had at the dinner was  a salmon filet with crispy skin. It's a simple dish but I've never been able to get the skin right at home. Chef Boudreaux agreed to do a video demonstration.
The interview and video are on Zester Daily. He makes it look so easy. He shared the magic. I tried it at home. It worked! So cool.

Chef's Secret To Crispy Skin For Pan-Seared Salmon Filets

Alana Vague, a friend of a friend, was baking cookies as holiday gifts. She put them in little brown paper bags, nicely tied with a ribbon.  They are delicious and Alana says they're easy to make, a recipe from her great-grandmother. They'll be perfect to snack on while we're watching movies.

Alana's Great-Grandmother's Buckaroo Cookies
Yield: a lot

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups quick oats
1 cup butterscotch chips
2/3 cup chocolate chips

Directions

Cream butter and sugars
Add eggs and vanilla
Add dry ingredients
Stir in oats and chips
Drop by tablespoon on cookie sheet
Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes
(I bake them for 7ish then let them rest on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes or so)

Saturday, January 9, 2021

A Feast Made for an Inauguration

On January 20th, we want our friends and family to join us at our house to watch Joseph R. Biden and Kamala Harris take their oaths of office. But as with so many aspects of life, the pandemic has changed the way we share important moments in our lives.

Although we will be in our separate homes, we will be together watching the Inauguration in real time. Afterwards, to share our reactions, we'll log onto Zoom. During both, we'll enjoy favorite dishes and toast with a favorite drink.

I was asked to contribute recipes.

Here are the favorites I would have prepared if everyone had gathered at our home. For my wife and myself, I'll make just one dish, plus our favorite drink for a toast.

If you want a recipe, click on the title/link.

Have a great Inauguration! Looking forward to a better future.

Chicken - brined, topped with feta and onions



Roast chicken is easy to prepare.  After pre-heating the oven and washing the chicken inside and outside, simply place on a roasting rack in a pan and bake 30 minutes breast side down, then 30 minutes breast side up. The feta and onion topped roast chicken recipe adds a few steps and ingredients to create a savory, delicious, festive meal. 


For the full recipe, please click on the above link.


Chicken - fried, topped with honey


A chef showed me this recipe and I have used it ever since. Compared with a roast chicken, fried chicken takes a bit more work. The same technique can be applied to fresh vegetables to make best-ever onion rings, asparagus, shiitake mushrooms and string beans.


With the onions, slice very thin and separate into rings. With shiitakes, cut each mushroom into two pieces before placing into buttermilk and then dredging in seasoned flour. Asparagus and string beans, boil 2 minutes in water, seasoned with Diamond Crystal kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon to 1 quart) before placing into buttermilk and dredging in seasoned flour. 


Use good quality canola oil and heat until a parsley leaf fries quickly but does not burn.


For the full recipe, please click on the above link.


Brown Sugar Roasted Salmon


A favorite of my wife, the salmon is seasoned twice. First by dry seasonings. Secondly with a sauce applied at the end of roasting. Depending on the thickness of the filet, the salmon cooks quickly, between 10-30 minutes. Delicious if served hot or at room temperature.



For the full recipe, please click on the above link.


Salads & Vegetables - salt boiled, then roasted artichokes, carrot salad, chopped parsley salad with feta


Roasted artichokes can be served hot or at room temperature, seasoned with sea salt and black pepper. Several salads give you a variety to choose from. 


[Grilled+Artichokes.jpg]


For the full recipes, please click on the above link.


Sangria Fruit Salad



Easy-to-make and festive, by adding bite-sized bits of fresh fruit, after you toast Biden-Harris, you can enjoy dessert.


For the full recipe, please click on the above link.


Chesney Hill's French 75 Cocktail


Chesney Hill is a go-to cocktail person. When I asked her what she would serve to toast the Inauguration, she didn't hesitate. A classic French 75 Cocktail.


The satiny smooth drink packs a wallop so sip and enjoy. 


Made with gin (or vodka or even cognac), a sparkling wine (preferably champagne), simple syrup, lemon juice and a lemon peel twist. Shake with ice, serve and toast our new President and Vice President!


As with everything in life, using the best ingredients produces the best results. Use a quality spirit and champagne or sparkling wine.


Ingredients 


1 oz. gin (Chesney recommends Empress Gim)

3 oz. champagne or sparkling white wine

1/2 oz simple syrup (1 cup white sugar + 1 cup water, reserve what isn't used)

1/2 oz fresh lemon juice

Lemon peel twist to garnish


Directions


Making simple syrup is, well, simple. Place sugar into a small saucepan. Slowly add water. Turn the burner on low and walk away. Do not stir or agitate. The sugar will slowly dissolve in the heated water. Do not allow to boil but do reduce the syrup by continuing to cook on the low flame 10 additional minutes after the sugar granules have disappeared. Cool and use, reserving the unneeded portion in an air tight container kept in the refrigerator. 


Place all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Strain out the ice as you pour into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel twist.


Serve icy cold.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Award Winning Chef Albert Roux Sets Up Camp in Texas

When Albert Roux and his brother Michel arrived in London in the early-1960's their future was uncertain. They had a grand ambition to open a world-class restaurant specializing in high-quality, classic French cuisine in a country that famously preferred fish and chips. 

Le Gavroche was instantly recognized for the quality of its preparation and attention to detail and began a revolution in English cooking. 

Chef Albert Roux recently turned his attention to America. Did he set up camp in Miami, Las Vegas, New York, Chicago? None of the above.

Chef Roux opened Chez Roux on the grounds of La Torretta del Lago Resort and Spa, 600 La Torretta Blvd., Montgomery, Texas 77356 (936/448-4400), on the edge of Lake Conroe, an hour north of Houston. He chose the location because of his long friendship with the owner Ronnie Ben-Zur. 

Chez Roux specializes in a cuisine Chef Roux developed with his son, Michel Jr., at Le Gavroche. Using sauces made with jus and reductions, the menu relies entirely on market-fresh, organic, hormone-free ingredients.

The elegantly intimate dining room seats 65, with a chef's table--a banquette on the mezzanine overlooking the kitchen--that seats an additional 10. 

Meals can be ordered either a la carte or prix fixe. There is dinner service Tuesday-Saturday and brunch on Sunday. Lunch is available for special parties. 

On assignment for Peter Greenberg, I interviewed Albert Roux in the kitchen of Chez Roux in March.

When you began your career, you were famous for introducing classic French cuisine to England and mentoring well-known chefs like Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsey. How has your cooking changed over the years? 

 What I am doing here is very much the way my son, Michel, cooks at Le Gavroche today. My first cookery book, La Nouvelle Cuisine Classique, was very much oriented to Escoffier. There was no roux, no flour. Nevertheless, it was rich because we used quite a lot of butter and cream. Now we have entered a new phase, using pure jus and reductions so the natural flavors predominate. 

You've said that you want to use all organic, farm-fresh ingredients at Chez Roux. 

Yes, absolutely. If you are a great chef but you do not have good raw ingredients, you are nothing. In the U.S. you can move food around quickly. For example in London if I buy foie gras from France, it's only seven hundred miles, but it will take two days to reach me. Here, I order salmon from Alaska and the next day it's in my kitchen. What is available in America is fantastic. I went to Pike's Place Market in Seattle. They had to drag me out of there. We were leaving the next day and I smuggled through customs two big bags of fruit and vegetables. 

Everything had another dimension. Peaches, beautiful peaches, white and yellow. Tomatoes. Cherries, so heavenly perfumed. And the big salmon, aye ya ya. The Copper River salmon is the best in the world. In Texas there are very good food purveyors. I went to the Houston farmers' market. It was a revelation to see the army of believers there. Those people are never going to make a fortune, but they are very very proud of their produce, as they should be. 

You have the best beef in the world. The veal also is absolutely first rate. We've found some beautiful duck, squad, and quail. The game here is fantastic. 

Chickens, that's another matter. The quality of your chickens is bloody awful. But there are some that are good, the happy chickens. They haven't been in a cage. They have not been fed with hormones. They've been allowed to scratch in the earth and find the little worm and they taste infinitely better. 

What do you import from Europe? Some cheeses come from Europe. 30% of the wine list. But my aim is to use 95% of the product from the U.S.A. 

After all these years, do you still enjoy cooking? 

Absolutely. 

When you eat at home, what do you cook? 

It's very very simple food. On a typical weekend in the country, Friday night we arrive in mid-afternoon. We'll have a steak, just grilled, sauteed potatoes, a little Bearnaise sauce, a nice salad and fromage frais, mixed with cream and herbs. Saturday morning will be breakfast at about eleven o'clock with a glass of champagne, scrambled or fried eggs with baked beans--I love baked beans--it has to be Heinz. 

Heinz Pork and Beans? 

Oh yes, that's the best thing in the world. We'll also have nice crispy bacon, American style. Then a grilled tomato with a bit of olive oil. And that's it. Dinner would be focused on the wine. I have an excellent cellar. On Saturday afternoon I'll look around and pick out a bottle. With a top wine you don't want a rich cream sauce, just a simple little jus. During the first four months of the lamb season, a leg of lamb or rack of lamb roasted, new vegetables from the garden--I have a beautiful garden--a bit of cheese and a bottle of wine and that's it. 

I've been told the kitchen at Chez Roux doesn't use conventional gas stoves. 

That's correct. The kitchen is green. We are ruining the world and it doesn't even belong to us. It belongs to our grandchildren and the children of our grandchildren and at the rate we're polluting it, there will be no world to pass along. 

Do you notice that we're sitting in the kitchen and it isn't hot? The prep chefs are not sweating or perspiring. Why? No excess heat because the stoves use induction heat. 

As soon as you lift the saucepan, the heat stops. In a conventional kitchen, the first thing the chef does is he lights all the burners, ovens, and the salamander, even the ones he doesn't need right away. And they will stay on until the kitchen closes for the night. This is a bad habit. 

Why waste the energy and throw the money away? We save money on the consumption of energy and also on the retention of staff. Employees stay longer because if you work in a very pleasant environment, they tend to stay longer and that saves money as well. 

How much time will you spend in Texas? I am due to come four times a year for two weeks. But my feeling is, I'll be here more often. If I get too depressed by the weather in the UK, I'll jump on a plane and spend a couple of weeks in Texas. 

As a chef, what have you learned about America? 

Never deny yourself. The blessing of America is it is a continent with all the seasons, with many people who care about food. That makes it such an enjoyable experience to cook here.
For a profile of Chef Roux's restaurant in Sofitel's London St. James Hotel and articles about local, organic produce, please check out: Sofitel's Distinctive Vision Sprouted Broccoli from Green String Farm in Petaluma, California A Vegetarian Feast At the Santa Monica Farmers' Market Where's the Beef? Tracking Down Free Ranch, Grass Fed, Hormone Free Beef A Twofer: Roast Chicken with Fresh Rosemary & Chicken Stock to Use Later Villa Rental 101: A Visit to Beautiful Places in the Sonoma Valley

Monday, March 22, 2021

Carbon Steel Pans Sear in Flavor with High Heat and Easy Clean Up

A few years ago I convinced a chef to teach me how he made crispy skin on a filet of fish. chef Taylor Boudreaux said it was easy. I couldn't believe that. For years I had tried to cook a filet of fish with the skin on and the result wasn't good. Either the skin was chewy or burnt to a crisp.

When I ate Boudreaux's salmon filet with mushrooms, the charred skin was crisp as a slice of perfectly cooked bacon. A perfect contrast to the moist, sweet flesh.

He reveals the secret in the video. A carbon steel pan. That's it. The pan takes an incredible amount of heat. Up to 700F. The skin sizzles and in seconds is perfectly seared. A quick flip to char the flesh and then into a 350F oven to cook the filet on the inside.

After I bought a pan and seasoned it and used it successfully on a fish filet, I discovered the pan's other advantage. Easy clean up. Very much like a cut-down wok, the pan needs only a quick cleaning with a soapy sponge to remove the left-over oil, heated again on the stove top to burn off the water and that's it. No strenuously scrubbing to clean the pan the way I had done for years with the stainless steel pans I relied upon. Just a quick clean up and I was done.

A cast iron pan also works well at high heat, but from my experience the carbon steel pan does a better job. Both pans are relatively inexpensive. A carbon steel pan will cost half the price of a comparably sized, quality stainless steel pan. When you shop for a carbon steel pan, buy one that is made with a thicker gauge steel. I have been using de Buyer pans. Chef Boudreaux recommends Matfer Bourgeat. The advantage of the thicker gauge pans is they retain heat longer than the pans made with a thinner steel.

Cast iron pans are easy to find. Carbon steel pans, not as much. In the Los Angeles area, the only source for the pans is Surfas Culinary District. In New York, I have seen them upstairs at Zabar's

Recently, I have seen a great many De Buyer pans on Amazon. I recommend looking there. Given the variety of De Buyer pans, I recommend the frying pans, not the pans with higher, rounded sides and frying pans with smooth bottoms. The ribbed bottoms are excellent to create grill marks, but the ribs inhibit good sautéing.


Using the pan exclusively, I discovered the beautiful work it does on steaks. 


Treated very much in the same way as the fish filets, each side of the dry seasoned steak is charred and, if the steak is more than 1" thick, then placed into a 350F oven to cook the interior of the steak for five minutes. While the steak is resting for five minutes under aluminum foil, quickly sear your favorite vegetables in the pan to pick up the pan dripping flavor and serve as a side dish.


After that, I moved on to tofu, shrimp, octopus and chicken breasts. And then onto vegetables. Broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, Japanese eggplant, carrots, asparagus, green beans, English peas and corn kernels. Every firm fleshed vegetable I tried worked perfectly when I applied high heat using the carbon steel pan.

Blast the Heat for For A Charred Vegan Salad

Chef Tips For Crispy Skin Pan Seared Salmon Filets

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Young Chef Practices His Craft in an Art Gallery

Dinner begins on a dark and windy night. An errant newspaper skitters across the street. My invitation to a tasting by chef Paul Shoemaker, says the address is 4200 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood 91602 but the entire block looks abandoned. Using my iPhone as a flashlight, I locate the numbers on the building although a battered sign says this is the Evolution Dance Studios.

To escape the darkness, I follow a rectangle of amber light. Just beyond the doorway, the entryway brightens with stylish lighting and colorful paintings on the wall. A plaque declares this is INTRO. A few steps more and I’m inside a large space with a beautifully set communal table. Overhead bare bulbs hang like trapeze artists. Bingo! I’m here.

General manager, Rob Ciancimino greets me with a flute of light and dry Marcopolo prosecco.  I join the other twenty guests and wander around the space, which doubles as an art gallery. The colorful paintings are by Oscar Meza, a multi-talented professional skateboarder and artist.

Rob returns to see if anyone needs a refill. Glasses are raised and he pours. He tells the group that he is happy we’ve joined him tonight.  INTRO is open for Friday and Saturday night dinner and available for private events. All of this is prelude to the fall when he and his partners will open Verse, a bar, club and restaurant down the block.

It’s time to take our seats and read the menu. The fourteen courses are a mix of elegant ingredients (big eye tuna, foie gras, Maine lobster and Hamachi) and comfort foods (beets, dates, bone marrow and ravioli). And because this is fine dining, there will be wine, including a tasting of wines hand carried by Matthew Ospeck from AuburnJames winery in St. Helena.

As we are introducing ourselves to our table mates, Ciancimino sounds a small chime. It's time to begin our meal. 

Chef Shoemaker comes out of the kitchen to talk us through his first dish. He has a great smile. He avoids the traditional toque and chef's whites. Appealing and friendly, he wears a baseball cap and a brown apron. His first presentation is visually stunning.

The Edible Cocktail is a Meyer lemon icy-foam gin martini sharing a block of charred wood with two Asian spoons. We raise our glasses to salute the chef and each other. The cocktail is delicious and fun like eating a best-ever lemony snow cone. Then we feast on the spoons, enjoying the mix of textures, temperatures and flavors. Sweet, frozen, crunchy, spicy and acidic sensations roll around in our mouths. The evening begins with a “wow”.

The next dish riffs on the great versatility of salmon. Half a dozen roe are scattered on top of a thin slice of sashimi quality belly meat which in turn is placed on a strip of salmon skin cooked to chicharon-crispness. Designed as a sensory encounter, when placed in the mouth, the skin evaporates and the roe releases its salty creaminess leaving the pleasure of the fatty, pliant belly meat. The art of the dish is notable because even after the bits and pieces are consumed, the favor sensation continues with the wonderful heat of Togarashi, the sharp edged Japanese pepper powder.

For his tastings, each dish, from the first to the last, from small plates of single bites like the bone marrow ravioli or the butter poached lobster to the larger plates of Hamachi and hanger beef steak, demonstrates Shoemaker’s culinary talent. His flavors are balanced. Every element has a contrary element. Sweet is paired with acidic. Crispy with pliant. And, more often than not, a gentle heat lingers at the finish to prolong the experience. 

Adding to the sensory experience, the dishes are beautifully platted. Some are served on charred blocks of textured wood. Others in pure white porcelain bowls. Shoemaker arranges the edible ingredients like an artist applying paint to canvas. The ingredients are as much a part of the visual portrait of the dish as they are part of the flavor composition.

Each time the chime sounds, we are alerted to the beginning of a new adventure.

For the sixth course, a single Maine scallop in a porcelain white bowl is placed in front of me.  Cross-hatched with grill marks, the pink-white scallop the size of a silver dollar rests on a pillow of avocado mousseline next to a pale white cube of pickled daikon, smaller than a dime. At the bottom of the bowl, chef poured a pool of house-made ponzu broth with a gathering of white and black sesame seeds. The scallop is paired with AubernJames’ Meritage 2010 (Napa Valley), a lovely, crisp white that compliments the delicate flesh and acidic broth.

Selecting the ingredients for this dish as with all the others, Shoemaker searches for the best ingredients. If he can't find what he wants locally, he looks elsewhere. 

What Shoemaker serves depends on the seasons. He tells me with a big smile that this week he is expecting a FedEx delivery of Dutch white asparagus. He is the kind of chef who delights in the perfections of the moment. Who will source ingredients from half-way-around the world. 

In his travels he is always on the look out for quality providers, which is how he found the fisherman in Maine who supplied him with the scallops for our dish. And the scallop is perfect. Tender. Slightly sweet. Full of briny flavor.

A DIY Kitchen Produces Sophisticated Results

Looking at the complexity of each dish, it is easy to visualize Shoemaker’s kitchen. It must be high tech, fitted out with the latest gadgets. Given the detailing of the platting, surely there must be a dozen sous chefs bending over plates with tweezers picking micro greens from their mise en place.

Nope.

Shoemaker’s kitchen is a large space with a playhouse feeling.  When I walk in, one of the chefs is taking a break on a rope swing secured to the ceiling. There are some high-tech tools like a sous-vide cooker but INTRO’s kitchen is very basic. The two 1970s era stoves were purchased on eBay. There is no grill so with DIY inventiveness, to place grill marks on the scallop, the chefs use a kitchen torch to heat a knife red hot. Pressing the sizzling knife against the scallop creates the cross-hatch marks and adds a hint of caramelization.

Back in the art gallery-dining room, the chimes sound. To explain the dish, Shoemaker reappears as the servers place the next dish in front of each diner.

Foie gras is served nigiri style, on pressed rice. Who would have imagined that fat slices of beautifully charred foie gras go so well on vinegared rice, itself also lightly charred on the bottom to create a thin crust? The sweet acidic flavor so essential to balance the richness of the foie gras comes from a single blackberry sliced in half and a dollop of sour plum sauce.

The foie gras is exactly what I want from a fine dining chef. He should have a mastery of technique. Display flawless execution. Present artful platings. Cook with inventive parings of textures. From the beginning to the end, Shoemaker delivers in all those ways.

At the End

Talking about the meal, everyone has their favorite dish. Mine is the pork belly. A fat triangle of pork skin is fried to airy crispness. Which contrasts perfectly with the fork-tender, apple cider poached pork belly served with a sunny-side up quail egg, the yolk still runny, and pureed sweet potato flavored with maple syrup and bourbon. As we eat, all conversation ends. We're all too busy savoring each bite to talk. I am careful to maximize the deliciousness of the dish. I swab bits of pork belly into the richly sweet sweet potato, being sure to add a bit of egg yolk and maple syrup.
As people finish, they say to no one in particular, “Wow.” “That’s amazing.”

I reach for my glass of AuburnJames' delicious Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Napa Valley and notice that chef leans against the wall in a corner of the room. Clearly he is an impresario who takes delight in hearing us appreciate his creations. 

As we finish dinner, Shoemaker brings out his crew. Like the end of a theatrical performance, the cast takes a curtain call. Seen on the street, his cooks would be mistaken for skateboarders. To our applause he stands smiling with Paul Richardson, Erik Punzalan, Raymond Morales, Dro Dergy and Joel Ocampo.

At that moment it seems abundantly appropriate that this space is named INTRO. Ciancimino is using the pop-up chef’s table to introduce Shoemaker to Los Angeles. With the slow roll out to the opening of Verse in the fall, Los Angeles will have the opportunity to meet a very talented chef in an intimate dining experience.

INTRO: Art Gallery & Chef’s Table, 4200 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood 9160. Champagne is served at 7:30pm. Dinner begins promptly at 8:00pm. http://www.experienceintro.com; reservations on https://resy.com/cities/la/intro-art-gallery-and-chefs-table

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