Fettuccine with Salmon, Peas and Corn

IMG_2001Some days, I just crave salmon. I can’t explain it, really, but when I have that craving, there is nothing to do but give in and enjoy. I’ve learned to listen to my body, and when it wants protein, I usually give in. Typically, we buy locally produced seafood and meat, but salmon isn’t local to North Carolina, so I make an exception for it. We purchase wild caught salmon, not farm raised, which ups the price for dinner. So, instead of giving up on it or blowing my budget completely, I like to add it to pasta, which stretches our meal out a bit. To save money, we also bought wild salmon pieces (the leftover pieces from trimming fillets) instead of pricey steaks or fillets. Since we were cutting them up anyway, it didn’t seem worth the price to buy a larger cut.

We tend to eat pasta dishes on Fridays or Saturdays, the day or two before our long runs. In our marathon training, we are up in the 20+ miles now (when the oppressive humidity allows), so we need the carbs to help us fuel through our running schedule. We agreed that this recipe is a keeper.

This pasta dish is wonderfully satisfying. It includes wild caught salmon pieces fresh, local organic corn, which is super good right now and peas. If you thought ahead and froze spring peas, this is a terrific use for them! This dish also uses a creamy faux alfredo sauce made from cauliflower–yes, you read right. Cauliflower! This genius recipe was posted by a talented food blogger on Pinch of Yum. HERE is her recipe. It is amazingly awesome.

Fettuccine with Salmon, Peas and Corn (makes 6 servings)

  • 1 lb. organic fettuccine noodles
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 lb. wild-caught salmon pieces, cut into 2″ chunks
  • 2 cups fresh, raw, organic corn (you can use frozen as well)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 recipe cauliflower alfredo sauce
  • Kosher or mineral salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. Prepare the cauliflower alfredo sauce and set aside.
  2. Heat water in a stock pot for the pasta. When the water boils, add a healthy amount of salt to the water. Add the pasta and cook according to directions (about 10 minutes for fettucine).
  3. While the pasta boils, heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat.
  4. Add the onions and saute for about 10 minutes, or until onions are soft. If onions begin to brown, turn the heat down.
  5. Add the minced garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
  6. Add the salmon and cook with the onions for about 4 minutes or until salmon is opaque on the outside.
  7. Add the corn, peas and cauliflower sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir well.
  8. Heat the sauce until all is warmed through–about 4-5 minutes.
  9. Drain the pasta and add to the skillet. Toss all together to combine.
  10. Serve immediately.

 

 

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Potato, Fennel and Smoked Salmon Hash

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I don’t know about you, but I’m still smarting a bit from the Super Bowl. Actually, I’m smarting a lot. At any rate, while the game was the least exciting Super Bowl I’ve ever watched, our pre-game dinner was pretty darn fabulous. Typically, I make a meal of foods representing both teams, and even if I’m only routing for one of those teams, we still make sure everyone is honored. This year’s menu went like this:

  • Grilled Ancho Chili Bison Steaks
  • Baked Anasazi beans with bacon
  • Potato, Fennel and Smoked Salmon Hash
  • Colorado Cowboy Cookies

If you ever have an opportunity to get bison strip steaks from Whole Foods, I highly recommend it. They are worth every penny. Steaks you can cut with a fork. Yum, yum and yum.

But on to Seattle. This dish was our Seattle representation and it was equally awesome (and a bit more budget friendly than the steaks). I would make this again for brunch and add an over easy egg to the top. Ohhhhhh, so delicious! And our leftovers were terrific warmed up for a second supper!

A note about smoked salmon: Most smoked salmon you find in the grocery is cold-smoked salmon, sliced very thin and usually served on bagels. You know what I’m talking about. For this dish, though, you want the hot-smoked variety. Hot-smoked salmon is  a thick fillet of fish smoked over a heat source. It is harder to find in a regular grocery (at least in North Carolina), but specialty grocers like Whole Foods carry a nice assortment.  We bought a maple smoked version produced in Alaska, and it was pretty phenomenal. Highly, highly recommend this.

Although my Denver Broncos completely tanked, we still had a great pre-game celebration that included some new recipes, so the evening wasn’t a total loss. Click HERE for last year’s Super Bowl menu!

Potato, Fennel and Smoked Salmon Hash (serves 6 as a side dish or 4 as an entree)

  • 1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and cubed into 1″ or 1 1/2″ cubes
  • 3 tbsp. cooking oil (I used reserved bacon fat)
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 bulbs of fennel, cored and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried fennel seeds
  • 1 package hot-smoked salmon, skin removed
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. In a stock pot, add the potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt and water to cover. Heat the water and boil the potatoes for 5 minutes or until just soft.
  2. Drain the potatoes and let sit while you prepare everything else.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil or bacon fat over medium heat.
  4. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until onion is translucent and soft.
  5. Add the sliced fennel and cook for about 5 minutes or until the fennel is soft. Add the fennel seeds, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Remove the fennel/onion mixture to a bowl and set aside. Wipe the skillet clean.
  7. Add the remaining oil/bacon fat and heat over medium heat. Add the drained potatoes, and cook for about 10 minutes. You want the potatoes to be nice a browned with a little crust on them, so don’t stir the potatoes too often.
  8. Add the fennel mixture to the potatoes and stir well. Gently flake the salmon and add to the skillet. Cook until everything is heated through.
  9. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
  10. Serve immediately.
  11. For brunch or for a heartier supper, add a poached or fried egg to the top!

Wild Salmon Poached in Miso

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The need for this dinner started with a vacation. To Disney World. Where I ate. A lot. 

Not only did I consumer more food than usual, it was all the wrong foods, although they seemed so right at the time. Chocolate covered ice cream bars in the shape of Mickey heads, huge muffins, barbecued ribs, turkey and stuffing, cake and ice cream and a steak as big as my head. Like a wild night out on the town, it was fun at the time, but later, not so much.

Since we don’t typically eat processed food and eat little sugar, this menu left me feeling tired, bloated and sluggish. Not what I need with a half marathon just a month away. For our first week back, I’m focusing on eating light proteins, lots of fresh vegetables and adding in foods with probiotics–mainly fermented foods like miso soup, kombucha tea and kim chi. 

This recipe calls for wild caught Alaskan salmon and miso soup broth–two nutritional powerhouses that also compliment each other with their delicate flavors.

Poaching fish is very easy, healthy and pretty quick. You can use wine, juice, cider or broth as a poaching liquid. In this case, I used miso soup broth. Miso is a traditional Japanese stock made with fermented soybeans, barley and rice malt. It has a very mild flavor and is high in protein as well as vitamins and minerals. Miso also is rich in lactobacillus acidophilus, which promotes healthy tummy bacteria.

To poach the fish, I made a simple envelope out of aluminum foil, wrapped the fish in it, poured in some miso and baked the fish/miso packet for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. You can use the same process for poaching other kinds of fish, chicken or even vegetables!

I served our salmon with fresh green beans and mashed cauliflower “potatoes”. It was the spa meal our tummies craved after all the junk we had eaten. And now our bodies and our digestive systems are on their way back to normal!

Wild Salmon Poached in Miso (serves 2)

  • 1 lb. fillet of wild caught, Alaskan salmon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup miso broth
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. On a rimmed baking sheet, place a piece of aluminum foil large enough to make a little tent up and around your fish fillet.
  3. Place the fish fillet in the center of the foil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Tent the fish fillet and fold the top edges of the “tent” down to seal.
  5. Fold one open end of the tent up and seal.
  6. Pour the poaching liquid into the remaining open side, then fold that side up and seal. You should have something that looks like a little, sealed up boat.
  7. Put the baking sheet with the fish packet into the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes.
  8. Use caution when opening the foil packet as the steam will be hot! 
  9. Serve immediately.

Poached Salmon and Citrus Cous Cous at the Musee d’Orsay

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I’ve worked in museums my entire career and no matter where I have lived, one thing remains constant. Art museums tend to have the best food. Typically, though, American museum dining is a very disappointing option. Designed to serve the masses quickly, American museum food service tends to fall back on a fast food model of prepackaged foods or hamburgers, pizza and fries. I’m not sure how much of that is to keep the profit margin high and how much is because we don’t think people will want anything better. Clearly, we don’t see food as a source of national pride. I usually stay away from these places unless I am desperately hungry.

But France is another situation entirely. Food has a place of prominence here, although obesity is rare. Quality over quantity.

We visited the Musee d’Orsay in Paris yesterday and I think it is now one of my favorite museums. Not only is the art in this renovated train station absolutely lovely, the building itself is an architectural gem. I heard that the restaurant in the museum was beautiful and quite good, so we decided to give it a try. Oh. My. Goodness. It was pricey, but that is probably the second hallmark of museum dining, so not a surprise.

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I had “Le plat” (special of the day), which was described to me as “salmon”. That waiter was a bit understated. What showed up was a plate of loveliness–that would be a better description. A generous fillet of the silkiest poached salmon I have ever had was perched on top of a bed of Cous Cous with minced carrots and other vegetables. All of it was laid on top of a citrus beurre blanc that I could have licked off the plate. On a chilly, rainy spring day, this was nourishing and delicious. Not sure I can replicate most of what I am eating here, but this is one I have some confidence about.

Sometimes the best things you bring back from vacation aren’t souvenirs, they are ideas!

Chili Dusted Salmon with Fig Glaze

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Sounds fancy, doesn’t it?

Here’s the deal. I’m on a mission to find creative ways to use some of the preserves, jams, salsas and pickles we put up last summer. Sure, sure, homemade jam on fresh bread or on a toasted bagel is hard to top. And tomato salsa is great on almost anything. But now that I’m past my “Oh my gosh, we’re going to run out of food!” craziness, I can relax and have fun with what we created. Like this dish. Have you ever eaten salmon with figs? I hadn’t, but I will again!

I was in Whole Foods buying turmeric capsules (more on that later) and tried a sample of a salmon dish. It was so good! Sweet and spicy, but with lots of nice salmon flavor. Wouldn’t I like to buy their special Whole Foods spicy rub? Or some gourmet fig preserves? Or salmon? I started to consider it (I am such a sucker), when I had a revelation. I had ALL of those things in my house already! Yay for me! Out of Whole Foods without spending more than I needed to AND a great idea for supper 🙂

This dish is super, super easy. If you can turn on your broiler, you can make this. We used a large, wild caught, American salmon filet. It was ginormous. You could do this with salmon steaks as well–you’ll need to adjust the cooking time, but otherwise it’s all the same. We even used the rest of our homemade Cajun seasoning from our Family Gras jambalaya, but you could use store-bought as well.

Chili Dusted Salmon with Fig Glaze (4 servings)

  • 1 large, wild caught salmon fillet about 1-1 1/2″ thick (or you could do 2 smaller fillets)
  • 1 tbsp. Cajun seasoning (see recipe HERE)
  • 3/4 cup of Sticky Fig Jam (see recipe HERE) or store bought fig preserves
  1. Bring salmon fillet or steaks to room temperature.
  2. Line a broiler pan with foil and turn your broiler to high. Adjust your oven rack to allow 3-4 inches between your broiler and the fish.
  3. Dust the salmon liberally with the spice mixture and put fish on the broiler pan.
  4. Broil the salmon for 5 minutes. Remove from oven.
  5. Cover the salmon with the fig preserves and broil for 2 minutes more. Watch and make sure the figs don’t scorch.
  6. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

We served our fish with vegetarian collard greens. For the first time, I made collards without any bacon or meat and they were pretty fabulous.

Collard recipe to come tomorrow!

 

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