Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Salmon (gulp)

After working in restaurants and dealing with a variety of fish, the list of fish I will consume has vastly decreased. The reason for this, I will not share with you, because I don’t want to ruin fish for you. Mostly it has to do with handling fish too much, getting grossed out by the rawness of it and the lingering stink on my hands and clothes. I used to love sushi! Not so much anymore. It’s raw. As in: it hasn’t been cooked. Who knows how old it is and if it has been properly handled? Because of this, I won’t order it-raw or cooked, at a restaurant. Now don’t get me wrong, all the places I worked at were very cautious and safely stored their fish, I just don’t trust anyone else to do the same.
Unfortunately for me, in my home one of “our” favorite menus is grilled salmon, garlicky spinach and baked sweet potato. I have been able to choke down my salmon, pushing away any past unpleasant fish images in my head, to the point where now I am enjoying it again. Normally I am happy to season it with Lawry’s garlic salt, pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon, but I want something more tonight. So I brought out my Culinary Artistry inspired to come up with a sauce to shake things up. Now as you know, I tend to eat on the “healthier” side, but what the hell? Let’s have some fun and make something with mayo and sour cream. Maybe, just maybe, some bacon!

Okay,first off, what about a relish/salsa with diced tomatoes, onions, minced garlic, white wine vinegar, lemon or lime juice, olive oil and basil, chives, or tarragon?
Another option would be roasted corn, bacon, tomatoes, avocado, chopped cilantro with lime juice and olive oil.
Why not a compound butter? (Please see my post on Compound Butters)
Or a lovely quick sauce with equal parts mayo and Dijon. You could also add some course mustard to add some texture.
Like horseradish? Make a horseradish cream sauce with crème fraiche (or sour cream) with as much horseradish as you can take!
An herb mayo would be a delicious green sauce. Mix a combo of chopped chives, dill, parsley and chervil into mayonnaise with a bit of fresh lemon juice.
For me, a mayo sauce is too rich paired with the fattiness of the fish, so you will see I have added an acid (citrus juice or vinegar) to those sauces. Actually, I added it to all the sauces because I really like citrus juice. If you don’t, leave it out!
The one I am going to try tonight is very similar to a putanesca sauce:
In a pan sauté some onions and garlic in olive oil, until translucent. Next, add maybe a half teaspoon or so of anchovy paste, 1 tablespoon chopped black olives and cook that for a minute. Then add chopped (or pureed), canned tomatoes, a tablespoon of rinsed, drained and chopped capers and simmer until the sauce has thicken. Now here is where my Mother and I ALWAYS differ. I was taught by a very scary Italian Chef (he had a glass eye that lingered in the opposite direction than his real eye, which sounds funny but it was terrifying in combination with his temper) that you cook the tomatoes until they turn sweet. Suzie says sometimes the tomatoes are too tart and adds sugar. Both have years of experience, who am I to say who is right? If it is still tart, cook more or add sugar, I will leave that up to you. Right before serving I will add some basil chiffonade (fancy for sliced basil) And of course, season to taste.

We shall see how it goes. Let me know if you come up with any yummy sauces for your favorite fish dishes!

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