Sunday, July 01, 2007

Whole Poached Salmon

Saturday 30 June

Barbara caught this big salmon at Kroger's (it didn't fight much), so we invited Julie and Liz over for an impromptu Saturday Night Sit Down.

The recipe is simplicity itself, straight from Julia's The Way to Cook. Make a big batch of mirepoix of vegetables, cut in 1/4 inch dice, with the usual suspects: carrots, celery, and onions. Sauté the carrots first in lots of butter, then add the other guys. Put the vedge down as a bed in a fish poacher, or a pan big enough for Mr. Fish (who can be curled up if you need to). Stuff the cavity where the guts used to be (check first for guts) with sprigs of thyme, parsley (if you got it, ours is bolted now), and here's the secret: TARRAGON.

Pour in an inch of wine, cover and cook over a low flame or two, for about 40 minutes. I set the automatic probe thermometer to 140º, but alas, the only defect of the automatic probe thermometer is that you can't hear it out by the garden where we were having margaritas for which Julie brought the fixins. We're planning to combine the A.P.T. with a baby monitor, and become gazillionaires. We also had chips and a freshly made pico de gallo: just diced-up tomatoes and red onion, plus chopped fresh coriander, lime, and salt. The theme of the evening was obviously vegetables diced into tiny cubes.

We rescued Mr. Fish, pulled off the skin and the brown bits. Set aside most of the tiny dice of mirepoix, then poured all the sauce into the cleverly reserved and NOT washed up pan in which we'd initially sautéed the mirepoix. Then we added more of the magic tarragon, and some chopped up leaves of sorrel. Reduced the sauce, added cream, and returned mirepoix to the pan at the end to heat up. Some of the resulting sauce got poured over the plattered fish for decoration, and the rest got passed at the table, with nice pieces of the salmon fillets. Served with a lovely Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi, which Liz brought.

Dessert was Graeter's Peach ice cream, which we think is our favorite flavor, especially since it's only available in fresh-peach season, that is, right now. We topped it with some local black raspberries, rising from their bath of Triple Sec like some goddess or other on the half-shell.

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