Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Broiled Salmon with Wild Mushrooms

What have we here? Well kiddies, what we have here is epicurean perfection. 14 minutes of cooking, and voila, a beautiful, delicious, balanced and nutritious dinner. In making it, you will demonstrate your mastery of several basic cooking techniques; including broiling, sauteing, mincing, deglazing and reducing; but none of that will matter once you take that first bite. Your mind will be completely consumed with its exquisite complexity and all other thoughts will flee. It's just that good. The earthy, deeply carmelized mushrooms, with the hint of emerald green from the spinach, combined with the touch of cream and vibrant lemon zest flavor are just a perfect combination for the quickly broiled salmon. I could eat this every night for a month and still want more.

While we all know salmon is super good for you, it is also a touch controversial, what with our oceans and rivers being over-fished, and the farmed product (I feel sort of odd calling another life a product, sorry) under fire for being a potential health risk. So in choosing your fish, it is important to make informed choices, right? Right. Once you've got that covered, well, the rest is a cake walk. Try it, and enjoy.

1 pound salmon filet, bones removed
1 lemon
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 medium shallot, minced
1 pound assorted wild mushrooms
1 cup fresh spinach leaves, shredded
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter

In a heat proof dish, coat the salmon filets with some butter. Add a splash of white wine. Broil, about 5 inches from the flame, covered with foil for 3 minutes per inch of thickness. Uncover and continue to broil for an additional 2 minutes.

In a saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon over butter over super high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms in a single layer. DO NOT move the mushrooms for four minutes. Gently shake the pan, add the minced shallot and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. Add the cream and lemon zest (do not add lemon juice or it will curdle) Heat for a moment or two, until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat.

Serve along side some steamed asparagus.

Serves 2


The November issue of Esquire magazine included John Mariani's annual list of the nation's "20 Best New Restaurants," including Providence and Ortolan. What you won't see is a disclaimer about which meals Mariani ate for free, at the personal invitation of the chefs. Most serious journalism outlets — including The Times, Gourmet and Bon Appetit — bar critics from accepting free meals. But others routinely publish articles based on meals — and sometimes trips — paid for by restaurants, hotels and local tourism offices. Several restaurants, including Ortolan, made Esquire's list after serving Mariani free meals, a practice chefs and restaurant publicists described as standard when they have invited reviewers to their restaurants, or when the reviewers have made reservations through publicists. The practice came to light last month when Chicago chef Homaro Cantu of Moto restaurant was quoted in the Chicago Sun-Times as accusing Mariani of slighting his restaurant because the chef rebuffed a four-page faxed list of demands - Los Angeles Times

The majority of salmon served in restaurants and found on grocery store shelves is farmed rather than wild.

The Chanterelle mushroom has a trumpet-shaped cap with a pastel orange color - often described as either apricot. The flavor is laced with a fruity scent, reminiscent to some of apricots. It is found throughout the forested areas of the United States and Canada (and in temperate forests around the world). Wild-Harvest.com

It is election day. Please vote.

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I KNEW there was something seriously wrong with that Esquire article. Bah.
The method for cooking the mushrooms is a revelation to me. I hope I can try it soon. Do you think I will have problems if I use a standard Calphalon pan?

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has one of the most extensive Seafood Watch websites in the world, including links to scientific reports, regional guides, and handy wallet cards. The Salmon page says that wild-caught Alaska salmon have the "Best Choice" rating, wild-caught California, Oregon and Washington salmon have the "Good Alternative" rating, and farmed Atlantic salmon have the "avoid" rating.
AWESOME info, thanks Marc!
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