Suzi's Blog

Salmon Baked in Tomato Confit Juice

 

A few weeks ago we published a post for semi-confit tomatoes, a recipe that is repeated below. Once those tomatoes are done, don’t wash the pan. You have gold there. Olive oil scented with tomatoes, thyme, bay, and garlic. You could, of course, add some onion, too.

Take that pan, put in a hunk of salmon — the ideal fish but by no means the only one you might use. Bake at high heat, say 400 degrees, for about 10 minutes. The time will depend on how well done you want the fish and, of course, the thickness. For dinner, you now have the fish and the tomatoes.

Only the white wine remains.

Semi-Confit Tomatoes

Yield: about 1 ½ pounds

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups light olive oil
  • 2 ¼ pounds ripe cherry or medium tomatoes
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1 tablespoon white peppercorns, coarsely crushed

Preparation:

Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the whole, unpeeled tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf, garlic, and crushed pepper.Cook gently at about 160⁰F for 5 to 10 minutes. The riper and the smaller the tomatoes, the less time they will take to confit.Let them cool in the pan, then transfer them to a jar or bowl and pour over the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. The semi-confit tomatoes will keep well in their oil for at least 2 weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Just season them with salt and pepper before using.

Source: Pastry by Michel Roux

 

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Suzi’s Lemon Salmon Packets

Salmon Leftovers. Uncooked salmon leftovers. Is there such a thing?

Suzen had an event at Cooking by the Book where the main course was grilled salmon. We ordered plenty of that pink jewel, more than we needed for the 30 people in the party. So the next day we had leftover, uncooked salmon.

“Salmon cakes?” I asked. Truth is, I haven’t had a salmon cake in 50 years and then it was made with canned salmon, lots of bread crumbs and was cooked by the grandmother. I’ve mentioned her before, so I don’t need to go into detail: overcooked and dry. Not even Tartar sauce could make it palatable.

“Yuk! Never,” came Suzen’s reply. “I’ve never had one. Sounds disgusting.”

“Well, yeah, they can be. But I thought that you could …”

“I’ll do something.” She said. A few minutes later came, “Get some string and I’ll need your finger.”

If she had cut herself, the tourniquet would be on her finger, and she hadn’t cut me yet. I was a bit blurry about what she had in mind.

This is an inspired recipe, something that popped into her mind. Suzen made salmon packets, blanketed by lemon slices tied around the fish, and then quickly grilled. The dish is astonishing flavorful. The cooked lemon is soft and sweet. Rather than brush the lemon slices aside, you want to cut through each one and have a bite of lemon and salmon together.

There are salmon lovers and salmon haters out there. The haters are those who have attended too many weddings and bar mitzvahs. You don’t have to convert religions here, but you can easily convert from hater to lover. Isn’t that better: all that omega stuff from the fish and less stress from no hate.

Don’t overcook! You can take a packet off, explore it for doneness, and return to the grill if needed. You can’t “unoverdone” something.

As for those salmon cakes, I haven’t forgotten. It’s just a matter of finding the right time and right method of begging Suzen. I don’t think a direct whine will work with her anymore. Something more personal, perhaps, like confessing after 26 years of marriage that I have a secret salmon addiction.

“Consider chicken,” would be her most likely response.

 

Suzi’s Salmon Packets

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 5-ounce slabs of salmon, about 1 ½ inches thick
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 lemons, sliced finely
  • Olive oil
  • String

Preparation:

Preheat your grill to medium high, about 400°F.

If necessary, lightly wash and dry the salmon with cold water. Salt and pepper each piece of salmon.

Cover the top and bottom of each salmon piece with thin slices of lemon. Request the services of your husband, friend, or a neighbor to tie the lemon to the salmon. It really is a three- or four-handed job. Lightly coat each packet with olive oil.

Grill the salmon for about 3 minutes on the side. Remove from the grill. Test for doneness.

Place each packet on a plate and snip the string. Carefully pull away the string so that the lemon slices remain on the bottom and top.

How to serve this for a meal? White rice made with a rich chicken stock and simple salad with soft Boston leaves. Although you can do red with salmon, there is a delicate flavor here that you do not want to over power. Think Vouvray, think sparkling Vouvray.

 

Source: Suzen O’Rourke