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Posts Tagged ‘Salmon’

Salmon isn’t something I grew up eating. Well… I take that back. We put canned salmon in salmon stew, but we NEVER had it fresh. Actually, I didn’t have fresh salmon until I was in my twenties. I think that was the case for most fish, unless it was bass or bream my dad caught.

Now, I eat salmon all the time… especially since we have an awesome fresh fish and meat market down the road. Thank you, Stowe Seafood!

What’s nice about salmon is you can cook it any way you’d like– bake, grill, or sear. It can also handle rubs and sauces.  Me? I’m boring. I like mine simple with just salt and pepper, seared in a cast iron pan.

I realize a lot of people don’t have access to sushi-grade salmon, so here are some keys to buying salmon:

  • Know where it comes from; domestic is always best.
  • Get wild caught, if possible.
  • There shouldn’t be a strong, fishy smell and you want the flesh to be firm. No stinky, mushy salmon– never, ever.

Once you buy the best you can get, be sure to cook it properly, which means to NOT overcook it. I have a feeling a lot people don’t care for salmon, because a lot of restaurants cook the hell out of it, and it’s bone dry. If it’s cook just beyond medium, it’s perfect (my opinion). Even if it’s cooked all the way through, but not a minute over, it’s still delicious.

Let me show you how I do mine, but know you can bake it at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, and it’ll be very tasty, but it won’t have the crispy skin (if you like that) or a seared top.

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First, heat up vegetable oil in a heavy skillet (I use cast iron). While it’s heating up, season your salmon. You can use any kind of seasoning you like. My husband likes Old Bay and I like salt and pepper.

Place the salmon, skin side down, in the hot skillet.

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Cook on med-high heat for at least 5 minutes. You want the skin to get crispy. If you don’t like the skin, that’s okay. Once the salmon is cooked, it will pull away from the skin easily. Once the skin is crispy, carefully flip.

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From here, keep an eye on the flesh of the salmon. You’ll see it turning more pale as it cooks through. It will take another 5-10 minutes, depending on how cooked you want it. My husband likes it just past rare. I like it just past medium. If you need to, take it off the heat, and with a fork, see if it pulls away easily in the middle. If it’s still undercooked, put it back in the pan for few more minutes.

Tip: If you normally cook the heck out of your salmon, try cooking it just a little less, just once. It could change how you enjoy your salmon from now on.

Sides:

I served mine with lima beans and a lightly dressed tomato, red onion, and cucumber salad.

For the salad, cut cherry tomatoes in half, and slice the onions and cucumbers. Put it all in a bowl that has a lid.

Whisk together red wine vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt, and pepper and then pour on top the salad.

Put the lid on and shake. Put in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

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Now, for the lima beans.

I know it seems like a strange side with salmon, but for some darn reason, we love it. If you don’t like lima beans, any veggie will work. Rice is also a good side with salmon.

My mom always told me to buy Fordhook Limas, so that’s what I buy. They’re a little bigger than the others.

I cook them according to the package. Then, I strain out most of the water, add a little butter, salt, and pepper, and then cook them down for another 10-15 minutes, stirring them often, and adding water (when needed) to make them creamy.

I apologize… I forgot to take pics while I cooked them. But, honestly, there’s not much to see.

Now, put it all on a plate and enjoy!

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Salmon– it’s healthy and delicious!

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What you’ll need for the salmon:

6oz – 8oz salmon fillet (as many fillets as you need for the amount of people you’re cooking for)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Seasoning of your choice

What you’ll need for the salad:

Small package of cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 purple onion, diced

1 cucumber, diced

1/4 cup good olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon sugar

What you’ll need for the lima beans:

One or two packages of Fordhook Lima Beans (number of packages depends on how many you’re feeding)

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tablespoon butter

Directions for Salmon:

Heat up vegetable oil in a heavy skillet (I use cast iron). While it’s heating up, season your salmon. You can use any kind of seasoning you like.

Place the salmon, skin side down, in the hot skillet.

Cook on med-high heat for at least 5 minutes. You want the skin to get crispy. If you don’t like the skin, that’s okay. Once the salmon is cooked, it will pull away from the skin easily. Once the skin is crispy, carefully flip.

From here, keep an eye on the flesh of the salmon. You’ll see it turning more pale as it cooks through. It will take another 5-10 minutes, depending on how cooked you want it. My husband likes it just past rare. I like it just past medium. If you need to, take it off the heat, and with a fork, see if it pulls away easily in the middle. If it’s still undercooked, put it back in the pan for few more minutes.

Tip: If you normally cook the heck out of your salmon, try cooking it just a little less, just once. It could change how you enjoy your salmon from now on.

Directions for the salad:

Cut cherry tomatoes in half, and slice the onions and cucumbers. Put it all in a bowl that has a lid.

Whisk together red wine vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt, and pepper and then pour on top the salad. Put on the lid and shake. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Directions for the limas:

Cook according to the package. Then, strain out most of the water, add butter, salt, and pepper, and then cook them down for another 10-15 minutes, stirring them often, and adding water (when needed) to make them creamy.

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Salmon Chowder

In the kitchen with my mom was where I gained my cooking wings. It’s where my love of mixing, stirring, cutting, baking, cooking, and creating was born. I’m so thankful for all the kitchen memories I have with her. The recipe I’m sharing today (and many more in the future) was inspired by her and I know she’s looking down, smiling, proud that I’ve started this blog.

Mom, this is for you! I love you and miss you.

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Growing up, when Mom said it was salmon stew night, I got so excited. I can still remember the amber glass Pyrex pot on the stove—milk simmering with a nice layer of butter on top and lots and lots of pepper.

It was my job to open the cans of salmon (we never, ever used fresh salmon) and get all the bones out. Who knew there was so much joy in such a tedious task, but I absolutely loved doing it.

After the milk, butter, salt, and pepper simmered for a while, Mom would put the salmon in and let it continue to simmer away. That was it… that was  the extent of her recipe. Mom always had a way of making the most simple ingredients taste amazingly delicious. I swear the whole “it’s a mom’s loving touch that makes everything good” is true. It’s the only way to explain how canned salmon in hot, buttered milk could taste so yummy.

Fast forward many years, to my own kitchen… I’ve turned Mom’s recipe from a stew to a chowder. Just like hers, it’s a go-to comfort food, it’s just a little more hearty. Mine is full of potatoes, onions, corn, and salmon.

As far as the salmon is concerned, sometimes I use canned, and when I do, I use wild salmon. Also, I always reserve the liquid and put it in the chowder for more flavor. Here’s the kind I use:

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Most of the time (like this past weekend), I use a fresh salmon filet from our local seafood market, Stowe Seafood. Look at this beauty!

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I’m not one to wait for fall or winter to enjoy soups and chowders. I love them too much to only make them in the cold months. Some people ask, “How can you enjoy hot soup in the middle of the summer?” Well… I guess I could ask the same about someone standing in front of a grill, then eating a hot steak and baked potato. Hot food is hot food, right? (Besides, fall is right around the corner. YAY!)

That being said, let’s make some chowdah on this beautiful first day of August!

First, if you’re using fresh corn, take the kernels off the corn. When there’s not fresh corn around, frozen corn works fine and dandy. I love Green Giant’s new roasted frozen corn.

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Now, chop your onions. It’s up to you how chunky or small you want them. I usually go for medium. Then, quarter the potatoes. Use golden or red potatoes. DON’T use russet; they break down too much, too fast. I like to keep the skins on. If you don’t like them, peel them. Also, I like mine in larger chunks. If you want smaller bites, go for it. It’s all about personal preference.

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Time to heat up the pot. Make sure it’s a large, heavy pot. I love my Le Creuset, but any big pot will do the job. Once it’s hot (medium high heat), add butter and oil (one tablespoon of each), and then add the potatoes.

Let them cook for ten minutes with the lid off, stirring often. Then put the lid on, lower to medium heat, and let them cook for another 5-10 minutes (depending on the cut of potatoes you choose), continue to stir every once in a while. If they begin to stick (especially if you’re not using a nonstick pot) use veggie stock to deglaze the bottom of the pot. It will unstick the potatoes and help them to not stick further. Plus, the stock will help steam the potatoes as they cook.

Now, it’s time to add the onions and corn. Throw them in and let them cook with the potatoes for about 8 minutes, stirring often, and adding a little stock if they begin to stick.

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While the veggies are cooking, warm 8 cups of milk. You can do it on the stove-top or in the microwave. You don’t want it boiling, just warm. I stress this– do not let it boil.

Add the milk to the veggies (if you’re using canned salmon, add the liquid from the can at this point). Season with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. I use a tablespoon of each to begin with. Then, after they’ve hung out with the milk for a little bit, I taste, and then add more of what I think it needs. You do the same. Want more salt? Add it. Want it more garlicky? Do it. Want it spicy? Add some red pepper flakes or cayenne. Add as much or as little of a spice as you want. Everybody’s taste buds are different on different days. Some days, I want to kick it up, some days, not so much.

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From this point, now that the milk is added, be careful. Do not let it come to a boil. Keep it on low heat. If you scorch the milk, your dinner is ruined. Also, if your milk gets too hot it’ll break down the fats and curdle. So, don’t rush it. You just want the vegetables to finish cooking. Taste them, especially the potatoes. Once they’re done to your likeness, it’s time to add the salmon. If you’re using canned salmon, add it, and let it simmer (on a low heat) for not long at all… maybe 5 minutes. If you’re using fresh salmon, put it skin side up, like this:

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Let the salmon cook for around ten minutes (depends on thickness of the salmon you use). Once the salmon begins to cook through, the skin will pull away using tongs, like this:

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With tongs, or a fork, break up the salmon into large chunks or small pieces… it’s your choice.

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Time to serve it up!! It goes great with cornbread, saltines, or oyster crackers. I also love a few dashes of Frank’s hot sauce on mine.

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What you’ll need:

1 onion– diced

3 ears of corn– kernels off the cob or a small bag of frozen corn (thawed)

1 bag (24 oz) of golden or red potatoes– quartered (or diced to your liking)

1 Tablespoon of butter

1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil

1/2 cup to 1 cup of vegetable stock– depending if you need it to deglaze the pot.

8 cups of warmed milk (I used 2%. Feel free to use whatever you like)

1 Tablespoon of salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder (Remember, you can adjust these amounts up or down to your liking)

Cayenne or red pepper flakes… if you want it spicy

1 lb of fresh salmon or three cans of canned salmon

Directions:

Add butter and oil to a hot pot and sauté the potatoes. Let them cook for ten minutes with the lid off, stirring often. Then put the lid on, lower to medium heat, and let them cook for another 5-10 minutes (depending on the cut size of the potato), stirring every so often. If they begin to stick (especially if you’re not using a nonstick pot) use veggie stock to deglaze the bottom of the pot and it will help the potatoes to not stick as much. Plus, the stock will help steam the potatoes as they cook.

Add the corn and onions. Let them cook with the potatoes for about 8 minutes, stirring often (add a little stock if they begin to stick).

Add warmed milk, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Let simmer until the potatoes are cooked through to your liking. Then, add the salmon. Once cooked through, if using fresh salmon, remove skin and break up with tongs.

Serve with cornbread, saltines, and/or oyster crackers. Hot sauce is good, too.

ALTERNATIVES AND TIPS:

If you like to cook with bacon, cook bacon in your pot, remove, and then cook your potatoes, onions, and corn in the bacon fat. Save the bacon and crumble on top of your chowder before serving.

If you’re lactose intolerant, or enjoy a Manhattan style chowder, use 2 cans (large) crushed tomatoes and 1 can (large) diced tomatoes in place of the milk.

Remember, DO NOT LET YOUR MILK GET TOO HOT OR BOIL.

Don’t add your salmon (especially if you’re using fresh) too soon. Wait until you’re  at least ten minutes away from serving.

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