Olive Oil Poached Salmon Salad

Monday, May 25th, 2015

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Building a beautiful salad is easy. Finding beautiful produce for your salad, not always easy. I strongly advocate visiting your local farmers market and getting your hands on the best greens of the year, available right now. Spring season is wrapping up but its not to late to get your hands on baby lettuces, herbs, greens like chard & kale, radishes, carrots,  and sweet peas. This salad was inspired by the spring season highlighting tender greens and the first run of salmon. Olive oil poached fish is decadent, extremely moist and flaky. You may never want to pan sear again! Feel free to get creative with your lettuce and vegetable combinations. The dressing recipe was inspired by the classic Green Goddess which is said to have originated in California. The herbs pack a punch, dill being one of my favorite ingredients of the moment!

Olive Oil Poached Salmon

7 oz Salmon, lightly seasoned with salt
2 Cups Olive Oil
1 sprig of thyme

In a small pot heat olive oil to 180 degrees. Make sure the olive oil is about 3 inches deep, you want the salmon to be fully submerged. Add salmon and thyme to the pot and cook for 6 to 8 minuets. Gently remove from the pot with a fish spatula and place on a plate. Let rest for 5 minuets. If you put the salmon right on the salad when its hot it will wilt down your lettuces.

Buttermilk “Green Goddess” Dressing

Yeilds around 1 cup

½ cup parsley, loosely packed
¼ cup mint, loosely packed
1 tablespoon tarragon
1 tablespoon shallot
1 clove garlic
zest of one lemon
¼ cup of cucumber, deseeded and skin on
¼ cup buttermilk
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream

Blanch dill, parsley, mint, and tarragon for 15 to 20 seconds. Shock in an ice bath. Squeeze the herbs with your hands to remove the excess water. In a blender place dill, parsley, mint, tarragon, shallot, garlic, lemon zest, cucumber, and buttermilk. Blend until smooth. In a bowl whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, salt, and herb puree.

Olive Oil Poached Salmon Salad

Yeild 2-3 salads

Buttermilk “green goddess” dressing
7 oz olive oil poached salmon
1-2 heads spring lettuces
1 bulb of baby fennel, shaved
1 hakuri turnip, shaved
1/4 cut sweet english peas, shelled
2 tablespoons toasted/salted pinenuts
2 tablespoons toasted/salted pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon cilantro leaves, to garnish
1 teaspoon fennel fronds, to garnish

To assemble, spoon about 2 tablespoons of buttermilk green goddess onto the bottom of the plate*. In a bowl light season the lettuces with a pinch of salt. Pile on the plate. Next add turnips, fennel, peas, pinenuts, and pumpkin seeds.  Gently pull apart the salmon and scatter on the plate. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the top and finish with cilantro and fennel fronds. Serve immediately.

*Its nice to plate the dressing on the bottom on the plate and not saturate the lettuces which will wilt them. But if thats how you like to make it, by all means do!

 

 

Back to Basics- Chocolate Soufflé

Friday, May 8th, 2015

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101 in how to torture me as a Chef, make me work a day as a Pastry Chef. Recipes!?! That I must follow with exact precision. What? I admire pastries. I love to eat pastries. But cooking pastries is a whole different discussion. What, might you ask is my problem? Well, lets start with following exact directions. I cannot just add a dash of this, throw in a touch of that. Without proper hands on experience with tried and true recipes, ad libs to a baking recipe tend to fall flat, literally! Just watch Top Chef, see the fear that appears in the eyes of a Chef as they face the challenge of crafting a dessert.

This is probably not the best way to start a conversation for how to bake anything… but we all must face our demons at some point. Having a set of handy, tried and true dessert recipes will be your best friend when venturing into the world of sugar and spice and all things nice.

That being said, I am starting a Back to Basics Recipe Series and our first subject will be chocolate soufflé with Rum Milk. Soufflés are a classic French dessert that combine a pudding like base with whipped egg whites that puff up in the oven and create an airy, light dessert. The real challenge of a soufflé is timing. You must serve it straight out of the oven as it will deflate in minuets after being baked. The Rum Milk acts as the perfect side-kick, something I dreamed up with the help of my culinary partner in arms, Ben. I had the pleasure of eating the classic bread pudding soufflé at Commanders Palace in New Orleans early on in my career and I have a strong memory of that dessert. When they brought the dessert to the table they punched down the center of the soufflé and poured a warmed crème anglaise into the center. This is my suggested service style with the rum milk. Although, I have seen one or two guests love it so much, they drink it!

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Chocolate Soufflé

Yields 8 ramekins

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

6 oz milk chocolate*

6 oz dark chocolate

½ cup of heavy cream

2 egg yolks

pinch of salt

6 egg whites, room temperature

2 tablespoons of sugar

 

Rum Milk

Yields 3 cups

¾ cup brown sugar

½ cup dark rum

½ vanilla bean, scraped

1 quart whole milk

 

For the Chocolate Soufflé :

Lightly butter the inside of 8, 4 ounce ramekins. Sprinkle with sugar, allowing to the coat the buttered sides. Tap out any extra. Place on a baking pan.

Mix milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and cream in a metal bowl. Bring 2 cups of water to a simmer in a sauce pan over low heat. Place metal bowl on top of the sauce pan, stirring until the chocolate is melted and incorporated into the cream. Remove from heat. Stir in egg yolks and salt and set aside. In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment beat egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually mix in sugar and continue to whip until the whites form stiff peaks. Using a spatula, gently fold a third of the eggs whites into the melted chocolate. Fold in the remaining egg whites in 2 additions. Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins. Fill the ramekins almost all the way to the top. As this point the soufflé can be placed into the refrigerator until ready to serve. Bake at 400°F for ten minuets. Serve immediately.

For the Rum Milk:

In a sauce pan mix brown sugar and rum. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. This will help cook out the alcohol and prevent the milk from curdling. Add in milk and vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer on low heat and cook until reduced by a third. I suggest serving it warm or at room temperature.

*I like to use Valrhona Dark & Milk Chocolate.

** Rum suggestions: Goslings or Myers