Saturday, 14 April 2007

Keep It Simple Salmon

Posted by Andrew

With my being busy for the past week mostly due to work, but also partly due to making sure I can watch the NHL playoff games, I haven't had as much time to devote to making dinner as just a couple of weeks ago. With only an hour or so between the PIT/OTT and TB/NJ games today, I had to make sure I made something quick and healthy without missing a minute of the games. With that in mind, I decided to venture into pan-seared salmon.

I'll admit I haven't done pan-seared fish before, but at least I learned a few things from this experience. The wildcard was the cooking time for salmon, and like many types of seafood salmon is temporally finicky. Don't cook long enough, and the fish will still be raw in the centre; cook too long, and the fish is dry and flaky. Salmon tastes best cooked when just flaky but still moist.

After sprinkling both sides of my salmon with salt and pepper, I drizzled a heated pan with olive oil, and over medium high heat I let the pan do its magic on the fish. Depending on the thickness of the salmon one only needs to sear each side for 1-2 minutes; make sure the salmon isn't too thick or the meat will be quite dry on the outside but still raw inside.

Once the fish was seared and cooked through I set it aside and added shredded shallots and sage to the salmon-infused oil in the pan. After tossing the shallots and sage in the oil for a few seconds I then added a cup of red wine (I still had some of that merlot I bought to make my shrimp linguine arrabiata for the office potluck), letting the liquid simmer for a few minutes. While it was simmering I mixed a tablespoon of corn starch with some water and used this to thicken the liquid in the pan. After adding some pepper and chicken broth to bring a bit more flavour to the red wine sauce I tossed the thickener, stirred the pan and drizzled some on my salmon.

In the meantime I cooked some spaghetti on the side, sauteing first some sliced garlic and basil in some olive oil in a pot. I then added the al dente spaghetti and some chicken broth (not too much though, wanting the spaghetti to be on the drier side) and pepper to the pot and tossed it until mixed evenly.

It looks like I made enough red wine sauce and spaghetti to have cooked another piece of salmon tonight. At least salmon cooks quickly, so the extra sauce and pasta may come handy from my fridge this coming week as I know my schedule won't be letting up.

What's more, I finished cooking in time to enjoy my dinner as NJ and TB started playing. OTT sadly lost today, but that story should be told elsewhere.

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