Potato-Crusted Salmon

Salmon happens to be one of my favorite fish.  The coral color alone draws me, but then the melt-in-your mouth texture hooks me completely.  Often I hear from people that they don’t care for salmon because it tastes ‘fishy’ to them.

There could be two reasons for this.  The first is, of course, that the fish isn’t fresh.  We all know what to do about that – be pickier about where and from whom we buy our fish.

The second reason, however, is something we can change.  When salmon, and many other omega-3 packed fish, is over cooked, the flavor changes, giving the fish an unpleasant ‘fishy’ smell and taste even though it’s fresh.  The trick to cooking fish, and salmon in particular, is to make sure you remove it from the heat before it is completely finished cooking.  The final 2 minutes while you are getting everything else to the table will allow the residual heat to finalize the cooking.  This gives fish a soft, tender quality that is elegant and luscious.

Potato-Crusted Salmon
Thicker pieces of salmon work well for this dish. It’s a bit of a race to get the potatoes cooked before the salmon is overcooked and having center cut pieces of salmon helps as does cooking the salmon potato side down for a longer time.   For a little bit of a twist, it’s also possible to sauté the salmon and potatoes separately.  Simply use two pans, one for the salmon and one for the potatoes.  In this case you would make 2 to 3-inch wide patties and sauté in olive oil over medium high heat.

For the salmon:
2 pounds center-cut salmon, cut into 4 to 6 pieces
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Several grinds of fresh black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup sour cream for garnish (or more) (optional)

For the potatoes:
3 russet potatoes, peeled
1 egg
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons freshly chopped dill, or 1 teaspoon dried

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the salmon on a platter and rub with the lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Set aside. Place a strainer in the sink or over a platter.  In a medium bowl, grate the potatoes and place the potatoes in the strainer.  Press down on the potatoes to squeeze out any excess water.  Return the potatoes to the bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Press the potatoes on top of the salmon about 1/2-inch thick. There may be extra potatoes to make potato pancakes with.  Heat a skillet over medium‐high heat.  Add the olive oil and carefully place the salmon in the pan, potato side down. Sauté until the potatoes are browned, for about 7 to 10 minutes and carefully turn with a spatula. Immediately put the pan in the oven and bake for another 7 minutes, carefully watching the salmon to be sure that it doesn’t become over cooked.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6 people

Fun Photo Friday – Chloe Cairns

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Fun Photo Friday

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Potato Skins with Artichokes and Fontina

I’m sure that other parts of the country are beginning to thaw (if they ever were really frozen), but up here in Maine, the idea of having the oven on for a couple of hours to bake potatoes, bread, pie and a roast while we pull our chairs up around the stove to warm our toes, hands and cheeks is still quite in vogue.

This is one I made yesterday when the wind was howling – still.  The crew was happy to run from the barn to the house to find a blast of warm air hit their cheeks as they came in for tea or to check on the new baby chicks.

Potato Skins with Artichokes and Fontina
5 russet potatoes
10 marinated artichoke quarters, coarsely chopped
6 ounces sliced Fontina cheese
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pierce the skin of the potatoes with a fork and place on the middle rack bake for one hour or until the potatoes are tender in the middle and give a little when you squeeze them.  You can do this step ahead of time.  When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half and scoop out the flesh on the inside.  Save the flesh for gnocchi or a soup and place the skins onto a baking sheet.

Reduce oven to 300 degrees.  Divide  the artichoke quarters evenly among the the potato skins and top with slices of  Fontina.  Grind the pepper on top and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer

Annie
Good to go in the garden as soon as the ground thaws

Annie on TV! – 207 and Rob Caldwell

Once again, I made my way down to Portland through snow and sleet to do a taping of a Mushroom and Chicken Pot Pie for 207′s comfort food segment.  Rob and the NBC affiliate, WCSH6, as always, was the perfect host and here we are having a good time cooking together.

Mushroom and Chicken Pot Pie on WCSH’s 207

Annie
It’s a quick, fun watch.

Fun Photo Friday

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Fish Stew with Porcini Mushrooms with a Quick Buttermilk Bread

It’s only a few days until daylight savings time, however, until the snow melts from the ground and the temperature rises above 35 degrees most days, comfort food will remain a staple in our house.  I just can’t bring myself to keep the stove off!  Scarves, many layers, turtlenecks and fingerless mittens are also a constant.  It’s just how it is some years in Maine.

I find myself looking for those things I love because complaining about weather, over which I have zero control, is not my cup of tea (or bowl of stew)…  Could this be the last snow fall of the season?  How lovely that a new coat of snow has freshened up the roadsides and our yard.  Are those cardinals at the bird feeder?  The seeds are on their way.  The green is on its way.  The warmth is on its way….

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And for now I’ll delight in the cozy meals that still sound just as delicious now as they did in October when I began to crave them.  Fish Stew with Porcini Mushrooms is the recipe that ran in the Portland Press Herald today.  Of course Quick Buttermilk Bread goes super well with the stew.  Check it out.

Annie
Turning my attention to things I like

Fun Photo Friday – Rock City Coffee ROCKS!

Rock City Coffee supplies us with superlative coffee all year long and we supply them with time out on the Riggin with us in the summer.  Last summer, this vibrant, eclectic, energetic group of co-workers came on board to first torrential rains and then brilliant sun.  The make of a person is sometimes what they do with the circumstances presented them and we can tell you that this gang made the most of it all.  And did I mention they drink a lot of coffee?  Such a huge thanks to Jesse Stuart for his awesome photos!

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Annie
We had fun with you all!

Super Big Roasted Portabella Mushroom Ravioli

These ravioli are ravioli for grownups.  They are huge and one, maybe two, per plate are all that are needed for a grownup-sized serving.  The wonton wrappers make it actually a pretty easy process and the end result is super elegant.  We had them for a weeknight meal and felt like royalty.  I’d serve these to guests any time.

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Super Big Roasted Portabella Mushroom Ravioli with Spinach Tomato and Brandy Cream Sauce
Ravioli:
4 portabella mushrooms
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch scallions, ends removed
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
4 ounces cheddar, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
Several grinds of fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic; about 1 clove
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Zest from one lemon
2 eggs
1 to 2 tablespoons flour, just enough to dust the counter
1 package egg roll wrappers; at least 20 wrappers
Water
Extra virgin olive oil if needed

Sauce:
1 1/2 cups diced onion; about 1 medium onion
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brandy
2 dashes Worcestershire
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
4 cups lightly packed spinach, de-stemmed, washed and drained

Ravioli:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rub the portabella mushrooms with the olive oil on a large baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes until the mushrooms are dark and the edges are really brown.

Combine all ingredients except the flour, wrappers and water in a food processor and pulse until fully combined.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Meanwhile, very lightly dust a work surface with flour and lay out 4 wrappers.  With a large spoon or number 12 scoop, place mushroom mixture in the center of the wrapper.  With a pastry brush, wipe water all around the mushroom mound.  Lay a second wrapper over top of the first and line the top edges and corners up.  With your palm and the edge of your hand, press the two sheets together around the mushroom mix, pushing any air bubbles out passed the edges.  Dust a baking sheet with a little flour and transfer to the baking sheet.  Repeat.

When the water is boiling gently transfer all raviolis to the pot.  If the pot looks like it will become crowded, work in two batches.  Cook the ravioli for 3 to 4 minutes or until they are floating on the surface and the pasta is a uniform color.

Remove to a platter with a slotted spoon or basket strainer.  Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and repeat if needed.  Serve immediately with the sauce.

Makes 10, serves 5 to 10

Sauce:
Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Melt the butter and add the onions.  Sauté until the onions begin to brown and caramelize, about 15 minutes.  Add the brandy and reduce by half.  Add the chicken stock and cream and reduce again.  Remove from heat and add the tomatoes and spinach.  Turn with tongs until the spinach is wilted, but still bright green.

Makes 3 cups

Annie
Lovin’ my pasta

Fun Photo Friday – Design Time

I wonder what’s happening here?  Can’t tell you right now, but we’ll share as things develop!

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Annie
Thanks Mim from Over the Rainbow Yarn!

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