Can you believe it’s the last week of the first series? I feel like I have been doing this for years, but at the same time, it feels like the first drop happened yesterday. This has been SO FUN for me, but I will write more about that after this week’s drop. For now, we must discuss the salmon. Well, maybe we first need to address the lack of black cod.
I wanted to have hook and line black cod this week. Beautiful, buttery, crazy-rich black cod. Sometimes the fisherman doesn’t return phone calls. Just like a crappy boyfriend. There really is just one guy catching this fish hook and line, and unlike a crappy boyfriend I couldn’t ditch him, watch Sex and the City, drink wine, go out dancing, and replace him. So, I got too nervous to wait and went to plan B: Salmon. Not a bad plan B, especially since salmon part 1 was among the best salmon I have ever tasted. I hope you will all forgive me for failing to source black cod. It is such a tasty fish. I am making it a priority when Siren returns on September 10th. You should sign up for that. It’ll be fun.
This week, we have a tasty salmon recipe from Nate Keller, Executive Chef at Gastronaut, a fantastic and fun catering company. Gastronaut focuses on creative menus for corporate and event clients made with local and sustainable ingredients. The menus are seriously fun. I follow them on Twitter and get really jealous. Probably because I work in a fish plant whose version of a catered lunch is one of the employees going to the supermarket to pick up a sheet cake that says, “Happy Birthday August Babies.” I see a menu that includes fried chicken, mac and cheese, and watermelon salad and I want to run away to join the start-up circus.
I met Nate and his adorable business partner Mirit Cohen at Eat Retreat. You know, that weekend where I met all of the awesome people IN THE WORLD. From Nate’s Gastronaut bio:
“Nate is a former Google Executive Chef, Culinary Institute of America graduate, and lover of all things food. He began cooking at a very young age, using only the finest ingredients. He grew up in Sacramento, the heart of California’s central valley growing region, which gave him access to the local ingredients that shape the way he creates each dish. Nate is a proponent of local cooking and eating, as well as sustainable farming. He helped cultivate a culture of local food values as he opened and became the first Executive Chef of Google’s Cafe 150, which sourced all of its ingredients from within 150 miles of campus. While opening several other restaurants for Google in Mountain View, New York and San Francisco, Nate developed relationships with farmers and artisan food producers throughout the Bay Area and the Hudson Valley. Opportunities to cook around the world over the last 13 years helped Nate expand his cultural food knowledge to encompass a wide variety of fares and gastronomic techniques. He loves snowboarding, cooking at home, playing with his dog, and kiteboarding.”
Street cred: established. When I arrived at Eat Retreat, Nate was prepping a whole pig for the spit while I was getting my raw bar ready. In fact, Nate spent the whole weekend cooking and you could tell that he loved every minute. Everything we ate was incredible. You should try this recipe, based on my experience with Nate’s food, you will be very glad that you did.
NOTE: This will use HALF of the salmon you are receiving on Saturday. Double it if you want to use it all!
Seared Wild Salmon with Grilled Bread Salad and Parsley Anchovy Aioli
2 portions wild salmon, skin on
For bread salad:
1 loaf crusty sourdough bread (sliced one inch thick)
1 avocado (diced half inch)
1 red onion (julienned)
1 zucchini or other summer squash (sliced in half-inch planks)
1 handful arugula (washed)
1 tbls red wine vinegar
3 tbls extra virgin olive oil
For Parsley Anchovy Aioli:
2 egg yolks
1/2 bunch parsley (washed and picked)
1 clove garlic (peeled and chopped)
2 anchovy fillets
1 tbls Dijon mustard
1 cup vegetable oil (light olive oil works best)
Prepare all ingredients
Start the aioli first. Put egg yolks in a food processor with garlic, anchovies, Dijon mustard and parsley and puree on high until egg yolks turn from dark to very light yellow and double in volume. Slowly start to add oil, a few drops at a time to emulsify. Work quickly to avoid aioli from over heating. Continue to add oil until mixture thickens. If aioli gets too thick so oil is not incorporating, add a few drops of ice water to loosen. When all oil is incorporated, season with lemon juice, Tobasco and Worchester sauce. Refrigerate until ready to use. This can be done up to 24 hours before use.
Heat grill and season slices of sourdough and zucchini with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill until bread is bread is slightly toasted and zucchini is slightly browned. Take off grill and cool. When cool, dice bread into inch cubes and zucchini into half-inch cubes. Toss bread and zucchini with arugula, julienned red onion, avocado and red wine vinegar and olive oil. Season salad with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat sauté pan over high heat. When hot, add enough olive oil to coat the pan. Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel and season skin side with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot and slightly smoking, add salmon, skin-side first. It should sizzle and not stick to the pan. Immediately turn the heat down to medium-low and crisp the skin. When skin is crispy and salmon is half cooked, season the flesh side with salt and pepper and turn salmon over to finish cooking to medium-rare. When salmon is medium-rare, remove from pan. Place bread salad on plate, place salmon on top, and drizzle with parsley anchovy aioli. Enjoy with a nice Rosé.