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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Poached Salmon with Herb Caper Vinaigrette

So my coworker walked in today and mention how her doctor was mad at her about her diet. She basically doesn't like seasonings, only likes ground beef and sugar, and eats whole bags of M&Ms and whole cartons of ice cream. I was sort of like "well what about oatmeal?" hates it. "chicken breast?" hates it. "seafood?" no way. I did agree to help her exercise at lunchtime. I watch her dogs for her and she has junk food in her house I didn't even know existed like Oreo sticks that come with a container of frosting to dip it in. In some way being at her house is very exciting to me since we don't have any of that stuff at our house. I usually get very sick to my stomach, and regret it all - Coldstone ice cream cakes, Pecan Pie flavored chocolates, frozen pepperoni pizzas and all the rest of it. I also watch about 12 hours of Bridezillas when I am there, so pretty much every aspect of it is totally unhealthy. So in my dear beloved coworker's honor with her cholesterol problem and all, I decided to make something really healthy for dinner.

First I made some bread. It is a Mark Bittman recipe from How To Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food. It's his quickest yeast bread. What I really love about this recipe is that you can get all the benefits of fresh bread (it's warm, it's steamy, it makes the house smell amazing, it's as fresh as possible) without the usual downside of it taking 4 hours. Sure, it does not have the really crusty crust or fully developed flavor as many other bread recipes, but I started it at 7:00 and it was ready to eat when we ate dinner at 8:30. If you have the freshness and the warmth, you don't totally notice what it's lacking, especially if you mix in some fresh herbs or olives and sprinkle some sea salt on top. Basically you just put flour, yeast, and salt in the food processor add warm water and a bit of olive oil, shape it either into a loaf or a round, let it rise covered as you preheat the oven. Then, you use a pizza peel to lower it onto a pizza stone, and in about 45 minutes you have delicious, steamy, homemade bread. It's really great to think that from scratch bread doesn't have to just be for weekends.


Then I made the poached salmon.
We love this recipe. It's from Cook's Illustrated. We've made it for Scott's parents in Brooklyn and in Canada. I made it for my mother when I went home for my future Matron of Honor's housewarming party. It's very healthy and very delicious. What you do is cut a lemon into 8 to 10 1/4 inch slices and arrange them in a skillet. You add some shallots. You chop up some tarragon and Italian parsley and and throw the stems in the skillet. You put in some dry white wine and water. You put the salmon on top of the lemon slices. You put it on high, get to a simmer, cover, put it on low and walk away for about 11-16 minutes. The lemon slices keep the bottom from getting overly done and the wine and the water make sure it's very moist at the end. You take the fish off the heat, tent it with foil, reduce the cooking liquid and then make a very delicious sauce with shallots, the chopped herbs, honey, capers, olive oil and salt and pepper. You drizzle the sauce over the salmon, and voila, with a nice green salad you have a totally delicious, totally healthy dinner that took barely over 20 minutes. I paired it with a white Alsace wine. It's crisp and slightly sweet to echo the flavor of the honey in the vinaigrette.
It is truly a bummer my coworker cannot appreciate things such as this that are good for your heart and also delicious. I wonder if it has to do with what you are fed when you are young. If all you eat is things that taste greasy, or sugary, the absence of that tastes bitter or weird perhaps, but if you open up your mind to new tastes and experiences, poached salmon with herb caper vinaigrette can be quite the delight.

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