Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sugar and Spice

Williams-Sonoma has the most excellent recipe for spice-rubbed salmon. Since I found the recipe, I rarely make salmon any other way. It's just that good. I paired the fish with glazed carrots and my new favorite veggie, roasted beets. I got the veggie recipes from Cook's Illustrated. When I sat down to eat, I realized that each item on the plate had an element of sweetness and two had sweetness and spice.

I started with frozen wild salmon. (Yea Trader Joe's!) Thaw then rinse the fish and pat dry.
Toast your spices: fennel, coriander and cumin. Toasted whole spices have so much more flavor than pre-ground spices. (If you don't have whole spices on hand, toast your ground spices in a little olive oil and apply them as a paste to the fish. Make sure the paste is cool first.) Once your spices are fragrant (but not scorched), transfer them to a spice grinder. Give them a good whirl.

Add brown sugar and a pinch of Kosher salt. Mix well. The recipe gives a specific salt amount, which I never follow. Sprinkle the mixture evenly on the fish. Here is where I add additional salt if necessary. This way is easier for me because I judge salt better by sight. Pat the mixture into the fish. After seasoning, put the fish in the refrigerator for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, heat olive oil until almost smoking. Carefully add the fish, skin side up, to the pan. Sear for a couple of minutes. Carefully flip the fish (you should see good caramelization.) Move the pan to the oven. Cook until desired level of doneness. I'm a well-done, fish-is-flaky, kinda girl. I know ... the food police are on the way.

To the carrots! Actually, I worked on these while the fish was in the refrigerator.
I added rosemary and a touch of smoked paprika to the carrots and left out the lemon juice. They were good. Next time, I think I'll try cumin and a mix of sweet and smoked paprika. Add the carrots, chicken broth, sugar and seasoning to a nonstick skillet. Bring to a boil.Reduce the liquid and add your butter and a bit more sugar. You now have glazed carrots!
Dish it up and eat it up! I know the plate is missing some green. I was just too lazy to look for the frozen spinach and I hardly ever have fresh salad greens. on hand The leftover beets were a fine stand in.

See the appropriately sized piece of fish? Yeah. ... I finished the other half straight out of the pan while standing over the stove. My kitchen is a classy establishment.

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