Thursday, March 21, 2013

What The Croute Do I Do With Salmon?

I know that in my last post, I talked about how I thought that I may or may not have some sort of gluten allergy.   Well, it turns out that I don't, but I do have other dietary issues such as anemia and a severe slight Girl Scout cookie addiction.  That being said, I know I said I would create and post some new gluten-free recipes, but the fact of the matter is...I've moved on to a different focus.  Now, that doesn't mean that I won't do that sometime in the future, because I am interested in the gluten-free phenomenon.  It just means not this time around.

Instead today I would like to talk about all the new recipes that I've tried over the last several weeks!  In my household, we try to assign dinner happenings with each day of the week.  For instance, Monday used to be Taco Bell Monday, until Taco Bell started making us sick every time we ate it.  So, we just decided to make homemade tacos on Mondays and skip fighting over the bathroom for the rest of the night.  Tuesdays are leftovers or "Get what you want nights" which basically means fend for yourself.  Wednesday is our eat out night of burgers or BBQ, Thursday is calzone night at a local pizza joint (because that's the restaurant's special for that day).  Friday used to be Pizza Night before we found calzone Thursdays so now Friday is a little up in the air, but I usually cook some sort of easy meal like spaghetti or something.  Saturday is the same as Friday, but lunch is always leftovers from the week.  But Sunday - Sunday is my day to create!

Sunday the kitchen is mine to experiment with something new or try out a recipe that I found and think will be a challenge to cook.  Or at least that is what Sundays have become.  They used to be just big meal days, such as roast, chicken schnitzle, etc.  But Sunday lunch (or lupper as I call the meal between lunch time and supper time), has evolved into something much more rewarding.

The first thing I tried in the evolution revolution, was one of Gordon Ramsey's dishes called Salmon en Croute.

I left the grain mustard off, because if you've been reading this blog from the beginning, you'll know that I just don't like mustard.  This dish was exciting for me to try because:

1) I've never cooked with fresh dill or fresh basil, or even salmon fillets for that matter!
2) I have never used pie crust for anything other than pies, I know weird right? (Not really)

So, I went to the market in town that carries the best fresh and frozen fish and looked for either one whole side of salmon, or a couple of fillets.  The best option was a fresh frozen (I know, what an oxymoron) side of salmon and it looked delicious!  But there was a problem.  The recipe specifically calls for the salmon to be skinned.  All the awesome cooking show chefs say you can just ask your local butcher to remove the skin for you.  Well, I didn't see how my local butcher could remove it from a frozen fish, but maybe he had some fillets or a thawed side that he could remove it from while I waited.  Just as I was thinking that, my friendly local butcher asked if he could help me.  I explained what I needed and why and he asked what the recipe was that I was cooking.  "Salmon en Croute," I said.  And then his eyes glazed over, but he replied with an "uh, huh."  He told me he did not have any salmon without the skin, but that it will peel right off when I cook it.  I re-explained that the fish would be encased in a pastry so that wouldn't which he repeated, "Well, it'll just fall right off if you cook it."  Yes, thanks genius.

I took the salmon home and let it thaw overnight in the fridge.  The next day I unwrapped it and tried tugging on the skin to see what I was really dealing with.  Hm, it was not going to come off without a fight, (or according to the genius butcher, fire).  However, I had a knife.  Mind you, it was not a filleting knife, or a fancy knife, or even a sharp knife for that matter - I know, a dull knife is the most dangerous thing in a kitchen.  Maybe I'll get a round to sharpening them all, but for now, I'm going to keep telling my story.  So anyway, it wasn't all that bad, it just took some patience .  I held the corner of the skin, prying it up just enough to make an incision (yes, I'm now an official animal skin surgeon).  I sliced slowly as close to the skin as I could, cutting off the least amount of meat with the tough skin as I gently pulled it back and away from the fillet.  I took off a few chunks when I accidentally sliced a little deeper into the meat than I meant to, but all in all, it came off pretty well.  I don't need no stinkin' heat to teach that skin who's boss!

Ok so, I watched the above video for technique, followed the recipe (minus the mustard), converted said recipe from metric to standard measurements, wrapped it up and popped it into the oven.  While it was cooking I boiled some new potatoes, (which by the way is a fancy way of saying little potatoes) consisting of red, golden, and purple varieties of small potatoes. I know!!  I had no idea there was any such thing as naturally purple potatoes!  And unlike the red kind, they are purple all the way through!  I was very excited.  Anyway, I boiled those up, then drained them and drizzled them with a little olive oil before sprinkling them with rock salt, cracked pepper, fresh basil, and fresh dill.  Toss, and serve hot.  I pulled the salmon out of the oven when the crust was cooked and let it rest while I blanched some broccoli for about 3 minutes.  In a small skillet, I used a touch of olive oil to sauté two cloves of garlic, then tossed in the broccoli for a couple of minutes.  I then slice the salmon into 4 parts, as instructed, and served it all up together.  I also made up a couple of simple salads on the side.

*Oh, and just FYI - bake the salmon on a baking sheet with edges, because I did not and about half way through cooking, the butter leaked out of the parcell, dripped off the pan and all over the bottom of my oven.  There was a lot of smoke inside of it and I was about 3 minutes from setting my entire kitchen on fire.  This has been a The More You Know: Cooking Addition announcement.  You are welcome.*

I have to be honest, fish is not one of my favorite meats unless it is batter-dipped, deep fried, and covered in catsup, mostly because the flavor isn't really all that appealing to me.  Therefore, I never cook fish, I don't really know what to do with it.  However, this one dish was so amazing, that it made me wonder what else I could do with other varieties of fish?

Ack!  I have more recipes and Sunday Lupper experiences to share, but my laptop battery is dying!  Ok, stay tuned for more to come...


  1. I've had pan seared salmon with oven-roasted leeks and carrots before...think it was an every day food recipe. Will have to try this one out sometime.


    1. I definitely recommend giving it a go. You can also add goodies like mushrooms or peas on top of the salmon (before it is wrapped in pastry). I thought about trying the mushrooms, but I like to make a new recipe first as it is written (basically), then add and change things the next few times. I've never had roasted leeks, but that sounds good! Thanks for reading!