Time in the kitchen is my way of decompressing, my attempt at a moment of Zen. Over the past couple months though, I didn’t really have the desire to get in there and do much of anything. Life, career, kids, whatever – I just hadn’t been feeling it. Last week though, that spark came back and I had every intention of getting back in there, but right in the thick of it, I nearly wacked the tip of my thumb off chopping mint for a Tzatziki sauce for the tandori chicken I had on the BBQ. I can not remember the last time I cut myself, but I know it has been years. I have never gone to the ER for a kitchen cut and, luckily, I still have not, but it was close.
Cutting my thumb wasn’t all that funny, but the real accident of the night was. As my last post detailed, I intended on making two dishes – one on purpose and a second on accident. Hand chopped or not, I did accomplish what I had hoped, but the accident happened as backwards as the idea was supposed to. I planned to make a tandori chicken pita sandwich that I have made every spring for the past 5 years. While I was prepping this, Dani threw the kids meal at me which was also chicken. In turn, I threw their chicken in with some Soy Vay Island Tereyaki and pineapple like I have made a 100 times and BBQ’d it. Turns out, you can make the most complex tandori chicken pita with a crazy tzatziki sauce, but a slam bam Soy Vay w/ pineapple chicken can steal the show.
Moral of the story – accidents happen. Chop a thumb…throw some tereyaki chicken on the grill for the kids….please a crowd.
What does this have to do with the beautiful Salmon dish pictured in this article? It too was a bit of an accident. I am guessing my new gig has put the creative fire back in the brain, but when I got home tonight I had a fantastic piece of salmon filet staring at me and no plan in place. The result was a perfect accident of what was in the fridge and belonged on the plate.
1 lb Salmon Filet
10 Stalks of Asparagus- Break by hand, reserving bottom pieces
1 Tomato sliced
1 clove garlic minced
1 lemon – two slices and a tsp of zest
1 Tbsp capers
4 artichoke hearts broken apart
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup Spinach
1.5 cups chicken stock
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
Tony Checheras Creole seasoning, pepper for taste
1/4 stick butter
Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare a broiling or cookie sheet by covering with aluminum foil. Put one more sheet of aluminum over, perpendicular to the other so you can create a box to enclose the fish/veggie mix (only tops of asparagus). Lay salmon down and drizzle w/ olive oil. Sprinkle w/ creole seasoning and pepper. Flip, add all vegetables, drizzle w/ olive oil and sprinkle w/ creaole seasoning and pepper. Add a dash of water. Fold first foil over fish/veggie mix then second so the fish/veggie mix is enclosed in a box of foil it can steam in. Put in oven middle rack.
While fish/veggies bake, chop asparagus bottoms into 1/2 inch pieces, then boil asparagus bottoms in water, chicken stock, thyme, and bay leaf. Begin to saute garlic in pan. Once asparagus approaches done (5-7 min), add asparagus bottoms to garlic (reserve liquid) and saute for 5 min. Meanwhile, continue to boil down stock mix by 1/2. After asparagus has simmered w/ garlic, put asparagus & garlic back in stock, remove bay leaf. Put spinach in to saute pan with a tsp of olive oil, saute 1-2 minutes, then add to stock, stirring to mix, then blend mix w/ emulsion blender. Simmer to reduce.
While above sauce is being made, bake fish for 10 minutes then switch the oven to broil hi. After two minutes, open up foil to expose the fish mix to the top burner and brown for 3-5 minutes.
5 minutes prior to fish finishing, run sauce through strainer into saute pan, then simmer down to thick sauce. Right before plating, add cold butter, whisking in to a thick sauce.
To plate- put 1 tbsp of sauce on plate, place a serving of salmon over (1/2 lb per plate), then vegetables on top, and 1 more tbsp of sauce over the top.