Unexpected


Over the years, many sources have inspired what you’ve seen on these pages.  There have been half a dozen or so different cooking magazines, as well as countless culinary websites.  Cookbooks make contributions from time to time, and every once in a while  comes something one of you suggested.  There even was an idea from a country’s tourist board, and a mysterious recipe at the back of the box, photocopied years ago from a magazine long since forgotten.

Still, when the daily postal delivery a while back inexplicably included the January/February 2019 issue of  Shape, a glossy dedicated to women’s fitness, it nearly joined the other junk mail in the recycling bin, until a corner banner promising “Amazing New Recipes!” stayed oblivion’s hand.  Why not?  A minute is all Shape got, though, before it shared the trash with a flyer for a monster truck show.  It didn’t even take that long for the article to overcome that skepticism.

The salmon did it.  Not only is the fish one of the most promising varieties, but for this attempt Faroe Island salmon was purchased, suggesting a particularly special…decadence.  The fish didn’t disappoint, either, as it’s moist, succulent and flavorful.  Everything salmon strives to be.  However, the real highlight is, well, just below the fish.

What’s in the photo looks like whipped potatoes, and it shares their substance and taste, but would you believe it’s cauliflower?  The secret is to steam the veg with pine nuts and almond milk (another first – not bad), then to purée it with fresh horseradish and to top it with freshly-ground pepper.  If not warned, the taster would swear they’re potatoes.  Which they are, effectively, except without all the guilt and the carbs.

This week brought a pleasant surprise, a keeper of a meal retrieved a couple years ago from a completely unanticipated source.  There the recipe was, right between an ad for shampoo foretelling “silky, luxurious hair” and an article about toning glutes.  The takeaway?  Never judge a magazine by its cover, apparently.

****

Salmon with Dill Over Horseradish-Cauliflower Purée

  • 3 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely-chopped (*1)
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 4 salmon filets, 4 ounces each
  • 2 tablespoons freshly-grated horseradish (*2)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 1 lemon

Place a large skillet over a medium flame.  Add three tablespoons of the oil.  When it begins to shimmer, add the onions and a pinch of salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the edges are translucent, about five minutes.

Add the cauliflower and the pine nuts, and stir to combine.  Cook for a minute.  Add the almond milk, a pinch of salt and half a cup of water,  Increase the flame to high and bring to a boil.  Cover, then reduce flame to medium and simmer thus for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender.  Turn off flame and let cool for five minutes.

Place the skillet contents in a blender and add the horseradish and a generous pinch of salt.  Purée until smooth, then let stand, covered.

Meanwhile, season the salmon filets with salt and pepper.  Place a large skillet over a medium-high flame and add the remaining teaspoon of oil.  Add the salmon, flesh side down, and cook for five minutes, until the bottom is browned.   Carefully flip and cook the other side for three minutes.  Turn off flame.

Divide the horseradish purée among four plates and season with freshly-ground pepper.  Place one salmon filet, skin side-down, atop the puree, and grate lemon zest over it.  Garnish with chopped dill and serve sliced lemon alongside.

NOTES:

1 – Two medium shallots work even better here.

2 – Use jarred horseradish if you don’t have a fresh root, though it won’t be quite as extraordinary.

10 thoughts on “Unexpected

  1. I love salmon! And the cauliflower potatoes is indeed an interesting idea; though I must admit, I’m not as enthusiastic about potatoes as some. Now sweet potatoes, that’s another story. The true challenge would be getting cauliflower to taste (and look) like mashed sweet potatoes. Actually, maybe if you use carrots instead…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Crystal! The pair has both looks and substance (i.e. culinary chops). The perfect dream couple.

      On a closely-related topic, cooking really turned me on to lemon zest’s talent for flavor enhancement. Nearly as effective as is salt, except, you know, healthy. Plus, the zest works in savory applications (this week) and in sweet. Looks darn good doing it too.

      Hey, lemon zest, you doing anything Saturday night?

      Like

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