Friday, January 15, 2010

Don’t Try This at Home

I started out with all the best intentions—to create a really tasty dish easy enough for dinner for the family on Tuesday night, but impressive enough for friends on Saturday. I researched, as I almost always do—I rarely simply throw ingredients together— I looked into which flavors paired best with which, the most efficient cooking methods, etc. I was close to obsessing about this recipe, because, rather than just one entry, I conjured up in my mind, the picture of a plate of food—three recipes culminating in the perfect mid-winter dinner.

The dinner would have read (on a fine restaurant menu) like this: Pyramids of Scottish Salmon in a Horseradish-Potato Crust with Roasted Baby Winter Beets Ensconced in Shropshire Blue Cheese with Balsamic Reduction Syrup and a Fondue of Garden Leeks.

What a freaking food snob.

Except I’m not.

And maybe that is why I failed so miserably.

I didn’t have the obsessive compulsion to work at these recipes until they were perfected.

The kids wanted dinner.
My husband wanted to talk.
The laundry needed to be folded.
I gave up.

I did try, but I won’t even go into the sorrowful details of it all. It just didn’t work.

None of it.

Except for the Balsamic Reduction Syrup that I bought at a gourmet food store… that was nice.

What I can salvage is this: The topping to the salmon, the horseradish-potato crust, tasted great.  It would have worked, had a done a few things differently in the second trial (my instructions below explain the right way to carry out this recipe).

So, I have no soft-focus pictures of the dinner-of-all-dinners to post here. You will have to use your imaginations.

But, do try this sort-of-recipe. If you are not completely pre-occupied (as I was), it should turn out.

And I promise it will be tasty.

Horseradish-Potato Crusted Salmon
1 and ½ large potatoes, peeled and shredded (yielding 2 cups)
1 medium shallot, minced, yielding 2 heaping tablespoons
2-3 tablespoons prepared horseradish (depending on the heat you like)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
½ teaspoon salt
Lots of freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil
4 fillets salmon, skinless

1)   Mix everything but the oil and salmon together in a bowl. Do this just before you are ready to cook, or the potatoes will oxidize, brown too much and the salt will leech out the water from them. Yuck.
20 20 minutes before you are ready to eat: Place a large, heavy sauté pan (heavy is important, I use cast-iron) over medium heat. Pour in enough oil to liberally coat (and, yes— I would use that term, even if I were not a liberal) the bottom of the pan. Season the fillets with salt. Pat some of the potato mixture onto one side of each salmon fillet (remembering that you will be coating both sides of each fillet). But for now, spread the potato mixture on one side of each fillet only. Place the fillets into the hot pan, potato side down. Spread the other side with potato mixture. Press down on each fillet to adhere the potato to the fish. Cook, uncovered and undisturbed for about 8 minutes, until the potatoes are golden and crunchy, then carefully flip over and cook the other side for an additional 8 minutes. Serve at once.

Makes 4 servings. Good luck.

1 comment:

Tammie Willis said...

Hey Jenny, great talking with you guys last night. Your blog is lovely!

We would love to get together again sometime. Enjoy the sunshine today; we're headed to the park.