May – Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

May – Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

I must admit that I have been reluctant to try all the various forms and recipes for pesto out there that aren’t ‘traditional’. I have a great love for pesto made with fresh from the garden basil. But, on the www you can find pesto made from almost anything. The greens include basil, mint, spinach, cilantro, seaweed, arugula, chard, kale and Italian parsley. The nuts can include pine nuts, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and almonds. Whew! The term pesto has stretched to include almost any green and nut whirled to a chunky paste with olive oil (although even that is not used exclusively).

But now is a different time, we are all pushed to use ingredients and our pantry in ways that would have been unimaginable a few months ago. During the past few months I have seen many creative and interesting recipes out there. Waste is not an option when you are trying to make your grocery shopping trip last as long as possible. A forgotten head of broccoli was looking a little sad in the back of the produce drawer. A few months ago I might have thrown it into the worm bin. Not now. The salmon from the back of the freezer also needed cooking. Combining the two together was a delicious surprise. This version of charred broccoli pesto doesn’t contain any nuts or basil. But it tastes delicious and you won’t miss them. The charring adds a lot of umami flavor and makes up for any lack of nuts or basil. There are only 4 ingredients; roast charred broccoli florets, garlic, parmesan and olive oil (plus salt). Whiz them all in your food processor for a few seconds and voila! It certainly perked up the salmon.

Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

Charred Broccoli Pesto

Charred Broccoli Pesto

Charred Broccoli Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled but left whole
  • 1 large head of broccoli, florets broken into smaller pieces (save the bigger stems for another dish)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of parmesan cheese, either grated or broken into chunks
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt to taste

Put any unused pesto into a small jar and top with olive oil. It will keep for at least a week.

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Cut and wash the broccoli into small florets, place them on the baking sheet and coat with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Reserve the stems, they are delicious when peeled tough skin and stir fried.
  4. Roast until the edges of the florets begin to crisp and brown, and the broccoli is tender. This will take about 30 minutes.
  5. In a food processor pulse the broccoli, parmesan, and garlic cloves. In a slow stream add the additional 1/4 cup of olive oil.
  6. Taste and add salt if necessary.
Charred Broccoli Pesto

Charred Broccoli Pesto

The miracle idea of slow roasting is that it is difficult to overcook the fish. The end result is velvety soft, moist and cooked all the way through. This method has become my preferred way of cooking salmon. Although the salmon had been in my freezer for a few months, you would have thought it was caught that morning.

This was a smaller piece of salmon, just right for 3. If you have a larger piece you will need to either increase the cooking time, or cut it into individual portions before cooking.

The slow cooked salmon was one of the methods reviewed in an exhaustive testing by Food 52 where they did a comparison of salmon cooked 12 ways.

It was one of their favorites.

Slow Roasted Salmon

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb salmon filet
  • 1/2 cup of charred broccoli pesto

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil
  3. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the baking sheet and coat with the pesto
  4. Bake for 30 minutes.
Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

 

The inspiration for the charred broccoli pesto came from the blog The Modern Proper. They added basil but alas it was not to be had by me. I didn’t miss it and don’t think it is necessary.

 

Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

Served with a stir fry of red Chinese cabbage, onion, and broccoli stems.

I am taking this dish to share with the folks at Fiesta Friday, this week it’s #329. I am a cohost along with Diann @ Of Goats and Greens

Make your way over to Angie’s, the host of Fiesta Friday, to read all the amazing posts about food and crafts. It’s a amazing variety of bloggers. And, thank you for visiting me. I would love to hear from you.

February – White Fish with Magic Green Sauce

February – White Fish with Magic Green Sauce

Have you heard of basa? It is a freshwater fish, a type of catfish and its Latin name is Pangasius bocurti. It was on sale at my local fishmonger recently and although they admitted it was farmed, they said it was raised with best practices according to their supplier. The fish is native to Southeast Asia and farmed in large numbers in pens around the Mekong River system in Vietnam, as well as China and Cambodia. There is some controversy between various seafood watch organizations as to the sustainability and environmental impact of farming it. The Seafood Importers Association of Australasia is a strong advocate, the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise Program does not recommend it, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch’s montereybayaquarium.org website rates it as a “good alternative” to catfish but with some caveats.

Basa is described as having large, white fillets with no bones, and flesh that is moist with a light, firm texture and a mild fish flavor. This makes basa a versatile species that can be used in a multitude of recipes and cooking styles.

I had great aspirations and was inspired to cook it according to the recipe posted for Goan Fish Curry by Caroline’s Cooking. But then it was 6 pm and I couldn’t find the coriander seeds and didn’t have a fresh tomato (it being the dead of winter and pouring rain outside). I quickly lost my ambition. The curry will have to wait, maybe this weekend. But, plain pan fried fish sounded very boring. What to do? Searching for inspiration I stumbled upon one of my old blog posts for Magic Green Sauce, written almost a year ago. Magic Green Sauce elevates almost any “plain” food straight up to heavenly. Try it on grilled chicken breasts or tofu, you will not be disappointed.

I made a few alterations to the basic recipe, using what items were on hand. Here is the recipe so you don’t need to look it up:

Magic Green Sauce (makes about 2 cups)

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup packed mixed parsley and cilantro, I added a few sprigs of mint (basil or Thai basil would have been lovely but I did not have any on hand)
  • I small piece (about an inch) of lemon grass (strictly optional but found in the back of the crisper drawer and love its aroma)
  • 1 jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • Juice of 1-2 limes (I like 2)
  • 1/2 cup water (I used coconut water)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup shelled cashews (original recipe uses pistachios)
  1. Pulse all the ingredients except the nuts in the bowl of your food processor until smooth and well incorporated.
  2. Add the pistachios or other nuts and blend until mostly smooth.
  3. Serve as a dip, a spread, or sauce. You may thin with additional water or oil if needed. I like mine the consistency of a thick mayonnaise.

This will keep for a week and is better if allowed to mellow for a few hours before using, if you have the time.

Magic Green Sauce

Magic Green Sauce

Magic Green Sauce

Magic Green Sauce

I prepared the fish simply, processing a couple of handfuls of cashews till the size of panko crumbs, lightly coating the fish in the nuts to have a crunchy outside. Then quickly sautéing the filets in coconut oil on medium high heat. It took only a few minutes. You could also use a coating of flour or panko break crumbs instead of the nuts. I wanted this to be gluten free.

Sauteed Basa with Magic Green Sauce

Sauteed Basa with Magic Green Sauce

The original recipe for Magic Green Sauce came from the blog A Pinch of Yum, one of my favorites.

Try this sauce with a tray of roasted vegetables as well.

Roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes

Roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes

Magic Green Sauce

Magic Green Sauce

I am taking this dish to Fiesta Friday #161 hosted by Angie. Her cohost this week is Laura @ Feast Wisely. Click on the link to join the fun and read the recipes brought to the virtual party by other bloggers.

September in the Kitchen – Salmon and Sweet Potato Burgers

September in the Kitchen – Salmon and Sweet Potato Burgers

Leftovers, don’t you just love them? They really spur my creative thoughts. In this case, it was about 2 cups of leftover grilled fresh salmon from the night before. What to do with it? I wanted something warm (cold salmon salad didn’t do it for me on a crisp autumn night). I have had delicious fish croquettes made with leftover white fish and mashed potatoes. What about salmon and sweet potatoes? If I used yams they would have a lovely pink color. What do you think? It was worth a try. Success! I added some finely chopped Serrano chili to counter the sweetness and add a touch of heat.

Salmon and Sweet Potato Burgers

Salmon and Sweet Potato Burgers

Salmon and Sweet Potato Burgers

  • About 2 cups of leftover salmon, flaked (canned would probably work as well)
  • 1 large cooked sweet potato or yam (or 2 smaller ones), removed from the skin and mashed
  • 1 Serrano chili, seeded and shopped finely
  • 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
  • 4 finely chopped green onions
  • Soy sauce, I used about 2 tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Panko for coating (I used gluten free Panko)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • For serving, sliced avocado and more chopped cilantro
Salmon and Sweet Potato Burgers

Salmon and Sweet Potato Burgers

  1. Combine the flaked salmon, mashed sweet potato, chili, cilantro, scallions, soy sauce and mayonnaise in a large bowl. Taste for seasoning before adding the beaten egg. You may need to add a bit more soy sauce or salt. Once to your liking, add the beaten egg.
  2. Spread the panko (or bread crumbs) on a plate.
  3. Form the salmon mixture into burger like portions with your hands, coat with the panko and place in a single layer on a plate. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil, sauté the burgers for about 3-4 minutes a side, or until cooked through.
  5. Serve with avocado and more chopped cilantro.
Salmon Burgers

Salmon Burgers

 

July in the Kitchen – Grilled Sweet Potatoes

July in the Kitchen – Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite vegetables, and they are super good for you as well. They lend themselves to many cooking methods but I’ve been on a search to find one that suits the grill and can be (mostly) made ahead. This recipe fits the bill. You can do the pre-baking earlier in the day (when it is cooler), and then pop them on the grill to brown at the last-minute. This would be a perfect side dish for your BBQ on the 4th.

IMG_3328

Here is a bit of background on the healthiness of sweet potatoes. They are ranked as one of the top nutritional vegetables by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Amazingly the sweet potato has been found to contain between 100-1,600 micrograms of vitamin A in every 3.5 ounces. It could be possible to meet over 90% of your daily vitamin A needs from this single food.

Eat the skin and you get more fiber than a single serving of oatmeal.

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Miso-Sesame Sauce

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Miso-Sesame Sauce

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Miso-Sesame Sauce

  • ¼ cup of mild white or yellow miso
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons of organic peanut oil
  • 1 sweet potato per person, scrubbed well and sliced ½ inch thick
  • Chopped cilantro and a couple of tablespoons of seedy mix for garnish
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the miso, soy sauce, sesame oil, and peanut oil. IMG_3329
  3. Place the sliced sweet potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet. Brush the exposed side with the sauce. IMG_3330
  4. Roast 20 minutes.
  5. Turn, brush with the sauce and return to the oven for another 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and leave at room temperature until ready to roast.
  7. Grill until toasty brown on each side, this should only take a couple of minutes on each side. IMG_3331

Garnish with cilantro and some seedy mix or roast pumpkin seeds.

IMG_3334

The same sauce was delicious brushed over some fresh salmon steaks prior to grilling.

IMG_3332

Yum!

IMG_3335

Do you think they will like this at Fiesta Friday? It will be a wonderful side dish for BBQ ribs or chicken. And easy since you can make it ahead.

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday

Please join us for the party, Fiesta Friday #75. Click on the link to see what’s up at Angie’s, the food and company is wonderful.

May in the Kitchen – Slow Roast Salmon with Herbed Lemon Verbena Pesto

May in the Kitchen – Slow Roast Salmon with Herbed Lemon Verbena Pesto

It is hard to beat salmon on the grill, crusty skin and tender center still slightly pink. On the downside it does require careful watching and can overcook with even an additional 30 seconds on a hot BBQ or grill pan. This recipe for slow roast salmon is very forgiving, and you can walk away. You will have time to serve the bruschetta and have a glass of wine with your guests.

The recipe is adapted from the SF Chronicle archives. I used a mix of herbs, heavy on the lemon verbena but with the addition of lemon thyme, chives, and an Italian calamint (member of the mint family which has flavors of oregano, mint and basil).

Herbs for lemon verbena pesto

Herbs for lemon verbena pesto

Slow Roast Salmon with Lemon Verbena Herb Pesto

  • 1 cup of washed and packed mixed fresh herbs such as lemon verbena leaves, sorrel, chives, mint, chervil and thyme.
  • 2 shallots, peeled
  • 4-6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 fillets (4-6 oz) or 1 larger (about 1.5 lbs)  fillet of salmon, skin on
Lemon Verbena Pesto

Lemon Verbena Pesto

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Combine the shallots and herbs in a food processor. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper. Process to a paste.
  3. Rub the paste over the cut surfaces of the salmon.
  4. Place the salmon, skin side down, on a non-stick or parchment lined roasting dish.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes for smaller fillets, up to 45 minutes for a single larger one. The fish should be translucent in the center but opaque.
Salmon with lemon verbena pesto

Salmon with lemon verbena pesto

I’m taking this to share with the gang at Fiesta Friday #70. I didn’t get to party last week and am looking forward to seeing what everyone has been up to. Please come join us at Angie’s.

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday