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Posts Tagged ‘salmon’

Photo by Karen Knauff

I like to think outside the box when it comes to food; this dish has Thai and Indian elements. One might not expect flavors from across the Bay of Bengal to marry well, but seared salmon rubbed with garam masala was delicious when paired with jasmine rice cooked in coconut milk with mangos, cilantro, and peas. I finished the dish finished with a rich curry-coconut sauce.

Ingredients:

  • Box of jasmine rice (white rice will work)
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • salt
  • ¼ cup of chopped dried mangos or fresh
  • 1 lemon
  • Cilantro
  • Frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of curry powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Salmon filets (Follow Trader Joe’s thawing directions)
  • Garam masala (my version had coriander, chilies, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, and cloves—The five Cs)
  • Cooking oil

Pour the contents of a box of rice into a medium saucepan. My jasmine rice called for two cups of water, so I used a cup of coconut milk, a cup of water, and a pinch of salt. Follow the cooking direction and start rehydrating the dried mangos in a pan with a ½ cup of water, over medium heat. Remove from the heat when they are soft. This is not necessary if you have fresh mangos.

When the rice is finished, add the juice of half a lemon, mangos, chopped cilantro, thawed peas, and salt to taste.

For the sauce, sweat the minced shallots and garlic in butter with salt and pepper. When they are fragrant and soft, add the remaining coconut milk. Finish with curry powder, lemon juice, and cinnamon. I chose to strain out the garlic and shallots for a cleaner looking sauce. Reheat when the salmon is finished.

For the salmon, salt and pepper the flesh and massage with plenty of garam masala. Get a nonstick pan very hot and pour on a thin layer of canola or olive oil. Sear the filets skin-side down first. Also, start the thick piece first and watch the side until almost all the flesh has lightened in color. Flip and cook the spiced side for a minute, being careful not to burn the spices.

When the fish is firm and flaky, serve immediately over a mound of coconut rice and spoon over the coconut curry sauce. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve right away.

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The name of this post may seem lackluster and halfhearted. Yet my mother’s recipe isn’t just a way of preparing a dish; it has become, in my mind, everything that the word represents. It’s not that I think all salmon swim around in the ocean with mayonnaise, dill, and lemon on their backs. It’s just that any other preparation for the fish seems wrong.

Easy Peasy Preparation:

Simply mix mayonnaise, lemon juice, and chopped fresh dill. Slather on fresh salmon. Place in a 350º oven for 25 to 30 minutes. We used a 3.5 pound salmon filet. It should be flakey, yet very soft. The citrus cuts through the fat in the salmon and mayonnaise. The mayonnaise locks in the moisture of the fish and makes the dish creamy and savory. The fresh dill is fragrant and has a slightly grassy and lemony flavor that pairs well with the lemon. Also, the sweet, fennel flavor counter-balances the mayo.

Dill has many calming qualities, especially regarding one’s stomach. Yet another reason why this dish is the perfect comfort food. This dish has been in my family for a while and I’m sure many people prepare their salmon similarly. It’s easy, nutritious (despite the fat), and delicious.

We served it with a grilled lime slice, baked yukon golds with sour cream, cheese, and chives, grilled patty pan squash slices, and a fresh salad with corn, apples, walnuts, and garbanzo beans.

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71 West Upper Ferry Road

Ewing, New Jersey 08628

Lunch Mon-Fri 11:00 am -2:30

Dinner Mon-Sat 4:00-10:00 pm

Sunday 3:00-10:00 pm

My family and  I found this restaurant on our way to another. You could say it was restaurant “cheating”. After one look at the menu, I knew I wanted to eat there. It featured interesting items like Osso Bucco “Veal Shank bone complete with lots of marrow”. The place was lively and busy with lavender colored walls and artsy black and white images of Italy. They were

mushroom risotto

playing Andrea Bocceli. I already knew they had good taste in something. There was tasty parmesan encrusted bread on the table and we all got a salad with a light vinaigrette. I was disturbed by the fact that the centers were cut out of the cucumbers. It appeared as though a hungry member of the kitchen staff had a quick nosh. I had the apparently famous mushroom risotto. It came out piping hot. The rice was slightly undercooked to my taste, but it was very savory and flavorful. It was chock-full of a variety of mushrooms which were tender and so meaty that I thought I tasted chicken a few times.  I actually enjoyed thee dish more as it cooled.

Salmon Florentine

My mother ordered the salmon florentine special in a pink cream sauce. Yellow must be the new pink these days. The salmon was as moist as my mothers…quite an accomplishment. The portion was generous for the fish and the fresh spinach. I took some on my plate and tasted the sauce with my finger. Unfortunately, all I tasted was my finger.

My sister ordered fettucini alfredo. We asked if the alfredo was good and the waiter said “This is an Italian restaurant. Of course the fettucini alfredo is good”. I disagreed, but he was right, it was easily above average. The sauce was rich, but not overly cheesy and the taste of the pasta came through well.

Fettucini Alfredo

My dad had the Pollo Trifolata: chicken breasts with shitake, portobello, and Crimini mushrooms in a Madeira wine sauce. It was similar to marsala, but more savory than sweet. It was the best dish on the table and the sauce was flavorful with a subtle wine flavor.

Chicken Trifolata

For dessert we had the house- made Tiramisu, usually made of lady fingers dipped in strong coffee or rum, layered with a whipped mixture of egg yolks, mascarpone cheese, and sugar, and topped with cocoa. It was definitely better than most and lighter and less mushy than most, yet the homemade whipped cream received all of my attention. We had ricotta cheese cake too. Unlike cream cheese or mascarpone cheese cakes, it lacked a smooth texture. It also had an overpowering almond flavor. We didn’t send it back…there was whipped cream on the plate.

I would definitely revisit the restaurant. The prices are not astronomical and the service is great. The food comes out quick and is fresh. Bring your family, your own beverages, and an empty stomach.

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