Is it Wednesday already?

I haven’t meant to be away.  Really, I’ve thought about this blog many, many times in my (yikes) 5 day absence!  Unfortunately, most of my thinking has gone along these lines:  I really should blog.  I really want to blog.  But I haven’t been very good at keeping at my blogging topics this week. It has also been very affected by my tendency to be anxious, which, in my heart, fuels depression.  This week has been stressful, despite the time I have.  Ah, the time.  Where does it go?  I haven’t talked about my job yet on here, partly because I like thinking about it about as much as I like thinking about things like serial killers.  And I don’t think I will venture into it (can. of. worms.), except to say it occupies a lot of my thought life.  Let’s just say I worry about work more than I actually work — it’s true, ask Eric.

So instead of detailing anything about the week itself, I will tell you all about the dinner I cooked tonight.  Unfortunately, it was a huge rushed mess and thus I did not take a single photo — I had all four burners and the broiler going in the last several minutes.  I decided to make a special dinner for Eric tonight because tomorrow will be busy with youth group, and then he’s going to be visiting his brother in Seattle this weekend.  The menu was:

Salad: arugula, red onion, apricots, pecans, and blue cheese with bacon red wine vinaigrette. [altered from the recipe at this link]
Main course: Wild sockeye salmon with roasted lemon beurre blanc (butter sauce)

Side: mushroom gratin with asiago cheese [link]
Dessert: French apple tart [link]

Now, that sounds fancy (and, okay, it was!), but I had plenty of snafus.  For instance, my French apple tart is actually currently in the oven because I accidentally put too much butter in the pate brisee and it turned into a brick in the fridge. I had to remake the whole thing.  It’s a tragedy to waste so much butter…  Also, I left my beurre blanc to rest too long while I was frantically finishing the gratin and salmon, and it separated, so I had to do a quick salvage job while the salmon started getting cold.  All in all, it ended up turning out well, though, and that tart smells delicious cooking!  Almost worth having a 400 degree oven on for an hour while we’re already sweating.  I’m pleased to say it has cooled down quite a bit since last week, however. 80’s instead of 90’s is fine with me!

Here is the recipe I used for the salmon, courtesy of Char Zyskowski at Apple Charlotte Cooking Company (Spokane).

Salmon with Roasted Lemon Beurre Blanc (serves 2, with extra sauce… because who doesn’t love butter?)

Two 4-oz. salmon fillets
Olive oil
salt and pepper
1 lemon
1/8 c. white wine vinegar
1/6 c. white wine (I know, I was halving… guesstimate.)
1 medium shallot, minced
1 1/2 tsp. heavy cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small cubes and kept very cold! (I put mine on a paper towel in the refrigerator, which is close enough to my stove… if yours isn’t, Char suggests placing the butter on waxed paper over ice.

1. Place fork-poked lemon in the microwave for 45-60 seconds. Squeeze half the lemon juice into a medium-sized stainless steel pot. (I know, wasteful! Again, halving… you could try cutting the lemon in half before microwaving if you want.)

2. Add vinegar, wine, shallots, and a generous dash of salt and pepper to the pot.  Reduce the mixture to about 2-3 tablespoons of liquid.

3. Add 1 1/2 tsp of cream to stabilize the mixture (classically, this is not done; however, it’s a trick everyone uses as the beurre blanc is an emulsification, very fragile and can “break” easily).

4. Reduce the heat to very low.  Whisk the butter into the reduction one cube at a time, stirring constantly.  Continue until all the butter is mixed in.

5. Strain through a mesh sieve into a small stainless steel bowl or pot and place over a pan of hot water on very low heat to keep warm.  Don’t leave this for more than 15 minutes.

6. Saute the salmon fillets.  Place a small amount of olive oil and butter into a saute pan.  Place the fillets in the pan and season them with salt and pepper.  Saute until about 1/3 of the fish has turned opaque as you view it from the side.

7. Turn the fish over and cook until just a thin line of pink remains through the middle of the salmon.  The entire sauteing process takes about 7-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.

8.  Serve: Pour a small amount of the beurre blanc onto a warm plate, then place a fish fillet on top.  Top with parsley if you’d like.

*If your sauce separates, you can repair it by starting over with lemon juice.  Whisk your sauce into it a little at a time to re-emulsify.  Add a bit more cold butter (1-2 tbsp) to even out the butter/acid ratio.


4 Comments to “Is it Wednesday already?”

  1. Bravo! I’m not sure I’d have pulled this off as well as you did!

  2. Wow — what a fancy dinner. I’m impressed :)

  3. Why do I continue to be amazed at what you do and how you do it? I should have come to expect it by now, but…I will continue to enjoy the telling! Bravo.

  4. very nice!
    i’m liking the idea of the bacon vinaigrette. and burre blancs and burre rogues are some of my favorite sauces.

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