Monday, April 28, 2008

Eating Healthy

Roasted Salmon Salad with Red Chili Raspberry Vinaigrette and Walnuts

For the Salmon: I followed a method I found in the March 2008 copy of Cook's Illustrated. Basically, their method for roasting salmon involves heating the oven and a sheet pan to 500ºF while prepping the fish. Usually, you would portion the side of salmon into individual fillets and cook it in batches according to size, but I was lazy and just roasted the whole side which meant that the "shallower" end would be well done when the large end was medium rare. The next step is to score the salmon skin in a large crosshatch pattern being careful not to cut into the flesh. A sharp knife is essential here.

I seasoned the salmon with salt and pepper before rubbing on a nice coat of spicy brown mustard, followed by a thin layer of dark brown sugar. I pulled the hot sheet pan from the oven and placed the salmon on it skin-side down. I placed it back in the oven on the bottom rack and immediately lowered the temperature to about 275ºF. I roasted for about 8-9 minutes. The salmon should be medium rare; cook a few minutes longer for well done - which is okay if you prefer your salmon dry and "sticky" (I'm referring to the tendency of overcooked meats to stick to your teeth, momentarily gluing them together while chewing).

Caution: Using my method with the brown sugar will most likely set off the smoke alarm when the sugar melts onto the sheet pan. Omitting the sugar will make for an easier cleanup. An old restaurant trick is to place the salmon onto an unlubricated pan causing the skin to adhere, and using a spatula to separate the meat from the skin for a nice presentation. However, it's a bit tricky to remove the skin from the pan during cleanup.

For the Vinaigrette: Place one tablespoon of Chili Raspberry Jam into a large mixing bowl (you can substitute any preserves you have). Add about a table spoon of Rice Wine Vinegar (or other mild white vinegar) and whisk thoroughly. Whisk in about two tablespoons of decent olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. As with all vinaigrettes, add a bit more vinegar if it's not tangy enough, or add a bit more oil to tame the vinegar bite. This last step is very important; it's the key to a good vinaigrette.

To Assemble the Salad: Chop, rinse, and dry about half a head of green leaf lettuce. Place it in the mixing bowl atop the vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Toss with the vinaigrette until evenly coated and place on a chilled plate achieving as much height as possible. Gently place several slices of salmon on the greens and garnish with walnuts. Sprinkle the rim of the plate with habanero powder or cayenne pepper.

1 comment:

Brae said...

Oh my... This dish looks particularly awesome! Has me dreaming of camping already.