12 June 2015

Salmon with fingerlings and shiitakes

I'm almost certain it's time for something seasonally savory on here. And by that I don't mean asparagus. Or asparagus. The other day I glanced at a list of items one should definitely pick up if spotted at a farmer's market around now because they might not be there the next time if you blink. Among them was mushrooms. I brought home some wonderful shiitakes the other day, along with some fabulous fingerlings, which have an earthy sweetness straight from the soil, and roasted them up together(ish). And since we now have a fishmonger at a couple of the Jersey City markets, searing up some salmon fillets alongside the was just the kind of land and sea fare in order. Let me tell you, I am one happy shopper on the days where everything needed to sustain us can be purchased in an outdoor marketplace...where no scanners are beeping, and replenishing the plastic wrap or foil does not cross my mind. Where the answer of what to eat is simply before your eyes.

If cooking mushrooms previously invoked for you high heat and fat and lots of stirring and flipping on the stovetop and finding that process a little high maintenance (ahem), then I suggest you switch to roasting. Whether roasted whole or sliced, tender, mineral-rich mushrooms doused in a little oil and seasoning truly live up to their potential in a hot oven for a short stint, just like their counterpart of potatoes. For the fish I'm quite stuck on riffing Ina Garten's pan roast lately ( her salmon with green herbs is a keeper, too. I made it all late winter/early spring intending to share with you but never got One. Decent. Photo in the lack of evening light...oh well, take my word instead). Both call for skinning, which make the cooking faster, but there's really something nice about getting exterior char on the fish in pan-roasting.

ALSO: I'm over on ShopRite's Blog today with another rendition of my favorite streusel bars!

Seared Salmon with Fingerlings and Shiitakes

6-8 medium fingerling potatoes, cut in half
4-6 large shiitake mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch
Olive oil
sea/kosher salt + pepper
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
Pinch dried oregano
1 small garlic clove
1/4 tsp red wine vinegar
2 organic salmon fillets, center cut, 6-8 oz each, skinned, removed of any white extra fat
1/2 small lemon
1 small scallion, snipped
1 Tbsp  fresh dill + parsley, snipped
Pinch red pepper flakes

Turn the oven to 400. Line a sheet pan with parchment. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the thyme, a generous pinch salt, few grindings of pepper and enough olive oil to coat. Toss with your hands, spread on the pan and place in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile toss mushrooms into the same bowl as the potatoes. Grate half the garlic clove in, add the red wine vinegar, a little more salt, pepper and oil to coat. Toss well. After 15-20 minutes, remove pan and add the mushrooms to the potatoes, giving enough room for everything to breathe, and continue roasting another 15-20 minutes. Mushrooms should be slightly shriveled, tender and potatoes easily pierced with a knife and crisped on the outside. Set aside to cool a bit, then transfer to a low bowl or platter.

Meanwhile, let the fish sit out for about 10 minutes from the fridge. Rub the fillets with a tiny glug of olive oil and season well with salt and pepper and a little dried oregano. Heat an oven-safe, heavy skillet (I use cast iron) over medium high heat until very hot and brush or melt just a little vegetable oil. Place fillets presentation side down in the pan (they should sizzle on contact) and let cook undisturbed 1.5-2 minutes. Turn each over carefully with a large spatula and tongs, and transfer to the oven for 5-9 minutes, until just cooked in the center. A thin knife should slide through the thickest part with little resistance and feel just warm to your lower lip when removed. Rest on the plate a few minutes. In a small bowl mix the dill, parsley, pepper flakes a squeeze of lemon and oil, salt and pepper. Dollop over.

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