Tag Archives: greens

Salmon and greens

It’s a wonderful combination, of both colors and flavors.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s a thrill when the Copper River salmon comes in from Alaska.  I like to buy the leaner and less-costly sockeye, though king is wonderful too (but costs twice as much) — and we’re fortunate to have such a good fish store in town.  It’s always worth getting the freshest possible fish.

Grilled salmon is a great summer treat — but we don’t have a grill (and it’s one of many prohibitions our landlords have imposed). Fortunately, I discovered a new way of cooking the fish that keeps it moist and flavorful.

Actually, it’s not really my discovery, nor is it new. In fact, it seems as if nearly everybody’s been cooking salmon this way–but it’s new to me: the slow method, which I apply to so many other foods. In this case it’s the slow roast at a temperature I rarely use: 250 degrees. The low heat makes it that much harder to commit the cardinal sin of overcooking fish.

It’s done!

For a half-pound filet, just put on a light slick of oil on the fish (1/2 a teaspoon or so), some herbs (chopped thyme, chives, dill, basil, cilantro — really anything you like) and some lemon zest if you wish, salt and pepper. Then pop it in the oven, skin side down, until it’s flaky — 15 or 20 minutes or maybe more (start checking after 15 minutes). If you want to cut down the time a bit, you can start cooking in a skillet (skin side down) until the skin is crisped, then move it to the oven.  One thing about this way of cooking: the fish won’t be really hot when you serve it.  Cooked, yes, but hot, no.

There are so many choices for fresh greens this time of year.  I had a nice bunch of bok choy from Terra Verde farms and I cooked it up with some chopped garlic and ginger.

I was feeling so virtuous after I ate this healthful dish that I decided I could have dessert: a light version of lemon panna cotta I’d made the day before.

Want the recipe? Go to my lemon blog and click the page on top labeled ‘Sweets.’ I’ve posted both the full fat creamy version as well as the lighter virtuous version.

By the way, this is a good a time as ever to tell you that my forthcoming book, Lemon: A Global History, is now up on Amazon and my press’s website. It won’t be out till September but you can take a peek at the contents now.

Meanwhile,  if you have some salmon left over, and some nice fresh lettuce and arugula (or any other kind of salad greens), you can keep enjoying that  salmon/green theme.

Today’s lunch!

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Filed under dessert, salad, summer, supper time, Uncategorized, vegetables

An autumn appreciation

I shook off the melancholy of summer’s ending last week with a drive over the mountains to Cashmere and a wonderful time spent with Aviva, both in the kitchen and outdoors. We baked three types of lemon pie and invited friends for a sampling.

Before I left, friends gave me some Bartlett pears, Jonathan apples, cucumbers and tomatoes — and on the way home, I stopped to buy a rustic loaf of German rye from a bakery in Leavenworth, and corn and potatoes sold from the back of a truck.

The leaves were just starting to turn on Steven’s Pass, and with my car piled up with gifts of the harvest, I realized my mood had turned as well. There’s a reason that our harvest festivals are seasons of thanks-giving.

Supper at home was really easy: cucumber salad, tomatoes with basil, corn on the cob (last of the season) and bread, along with delicious smoked wild salmon that Steve bought from our wonderful local fish store, Vis Seafoods.

Lately, one of my favorite meals is a simple beans-and-greens dish with garlic.  I was inspired to start cooking beans again by some very nice looking cannellini beans I found at  Conte di Savoia , an Italian grocery in Chicago. Yes, you could use canned beans, but trust me: these are better.

Beans and greens

The beans: You just soak the beans overnight in plenty of cold water; drain and put them in a large saucepan with fresh cold water to cover (and more), bring the water to a boil and then cook at a low boil for about 30 to 40 minutes or so, until they are tender but not mushy. Turn off the heat and then add some salt to taste.

The greens: Wash a bunch of greens — chard, kale, beet greens, or any other type–and leave some of the water clinging to the greens. Remove the stems, slice the greens into strips, then cut them in half.

The dish: Dice a few garlic cloves (as many as you like); heat some olive oil in a skillet, and fry the garlic until it’s golden and fragrant. Add the chopped greens, and saute until they are tender; then add some of the beans, with a little of their cooking water and cook, stirring the beans and greens together, until it’s hot and the greens are cooked as much as you like. Salt and pepper to taste, adding some red pepper and/or grated Parmesan, Romano or Pecorino cheese if you like. Serve with some crusty bread on the side. (You could also serve with grilled sausages, as Lidia Bastianich suggests with her version of this dish.)

More beans: Of course, if you have leftover beans, they can go in a tuna salad, a soup, or a tomato sauce to serve with pasta.  Or you could  just mash up some beans with lemon juice, olive oil and garlic, and serve as a dip.

Now, about that pie. It really isn’t lemon pie season, and I recommend that you make a dessert with late plums or peaches, or pears, apples, pumpkin–something in season–and wait till winter to make a lemon pie. But I was testing recipes for my book, and it just had to be done now. Fortunately, I had Aviva’s help, and help from the pie-sampling friends as well. Here’s how they looked:

Lemon meringue pie, French lemon tart, Shaker lemon pie

If you love lemons (and rich desserts–lemon desserts are deceptively rich and caloric), you’ll love the French  lemon tart recipe, and I have really easy methods for making both the tart dough and the lemon curd filling.  Shaker lemon pie, with the double crust, had nearly as many votes, and Aviva tried out a traditional pie crust recipe with egg and vinegar.

The lemon meringue pie tasted good; however, it was a stressful baking experience (too many steps, not to mention failures) and collapsed as soon as I cut into it.  I will be sure to remedy both these factors before posting a recipe for you–

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Filed under dessert, fall, fruit, supper time, Uncategorized, vegetables