Monday: Fig and Brie Toasts with Microgreens, Baked Rigatoni with Lamb Ragu, Salad
Tuesday: Split Pea Soup with Crispy Kielbasa
Wednesday: Broccoli and Kale Salad
Friday: Seared Salmon with Red Pepper Aioli / Salad
Saturday: Pizza with Salad
Sunday: Roasted Sausages, Peppers and Onions
We had to dig some for this week’s post. We really should have turned you on to Ina Garten’s recipe for split pea soup with Crispy Kielbasa, but it’s a lot of work, and we thought that, the week before Christmas, something you could whip up while sipping a martini would work better. This also left out the Baked Rigatoni which included par-cooking the pasta and a fairly active sauteeing of the other ingredients. And the seared salmon is just so good – even without the red pepper aioli – and so simple, that we just had to share it.
Here are the results of our digging:
Not only does the salmon undergo two changes in its life – a molting and chemical changes that allow the fish, which is hatched and spends its early life in fresh water, to swim in the salt water of the Pacific and Atlantic, but another change later, before it returns to fresh water to spawn. Salmon also eat lots of other fish – they’re not exactly sharks, but they’re kind of wolf-like.
The Celts associated the salmon with wisdom. In Irish myth the salmon of knowledge swam in the Well of Segais, and ate the magical hazel nuts that fell into the water. There was a prophecy that Finegas would catch and eat it, thereby gaining all knowledge. …
The implications of this are clear: When in Ireland, boil the water before drinking and eating salmon will make you smart. Below, we help you with that second part. You can boil your own water.
We’ll get back to you for a Christmas post next week but, in the meantime, please relax and enjoy the season and as many friends and family as you find it safe to be around. And please notice, on this day after a heavy snowfall, how little control we really have over much of life. Make it a snow day and have fun.
Seared Salmon with Red Pepper Aioli
(adapted from Ina Garten, Modern Comfort Food)
If you don’t have the ingredients, or don’t like mayonnaise, skip the aioli, but learn to cook salmon this way. We’ve been doing this for years, following a recipe of Jamie Oliver’s. All this salmon needs is a squeeze of lemon – but the red pepper aioli puts it over the top.
Timing: 20 Minutes
Ingredients: Serves 4 – can be halved
4 (6 ounce) boneless, skinless, center-cut salmon fillets [You really should go to a fish monger to get the correct cut. If you go to a supermarket, like I did, you’ll have to wheedle and cajole to get four similar-sized fillets. Honestly, I don’t mind the cajoling but I find the wheedling takes a lot out of me.]
1 lime, quartered, for serving, plus 1 tablespoon of freshly-squeezed lime juice for the aioli
1 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise (we used a bit less to get a spicier aioli)
2 teaspoons minced garlic (we used 1)
1 tablespoon canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
¼ cup jarred roasted, red peppers (you can roast your own, of course, but there goes the ease of cooking and you’ll probably spill your martini in the process)
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 F and preheat a large cast-iron skillet over high for 5 minutes.
Pat salmon dry, rub all over with olive oil and, with the rounded (skin) side up, sprinkle with salt and pepper, liberally.
Chop minced garlic and chipotle peppers to make a paste and place in food processor.
Measure out other ingredients for the aioli and chop the red pepper.
To the chipotle, garlic paste in the food processor, add the lime juice and roasted red peppers and purée. Now add the mayonnaise, a scant ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper and process until smooth. Set aside.
Sear and Roast Salmon:
Reduce heat under skillet to medium high. Place salmon in the pre-heated skillet rounded (skin) side down and cook for exactly 2 minutes (DO NOT MOVE). Use a large spatula to turn the fillets over – the rounded side should now be up – and put the skillet into the preheated oven for about 4 minutes. Cover the skillet loosely with aluminum foil and let the salmon rest for about 4 minutes for medium-rare or 5 minutes for medium.
Serve the salmon with the aioli and a wedge of lime. This would go beautifully with wild rice or roasted potatoes. (You can pre-roast the potatoes and then heat them in the oven while the salmon is resting.)