Salmon: Back up, I Did It (right)

Yay! Just wanted to give a big hug to all my supporters and you silly people that actually read this thing on a normal basis…I just looked my numbers and they have just gone thru the roof in the past month, so thank you, thank you, thank you! For something that just started as a way for me to talk to myself and keep track of my own recipes… this has been quite the surprise.

So…I’ll be the first one to admit that I am skiddish about cooking fish. Back in February fish was something I started eating a little more regularly due to the influence of someone else. By March, a fish entre’ was the theme to a once-a-week special dinner night. I would research really interesting recipes and then sit at the HyVee fish-counter/or speak with them via phone about which items I wanted, where they came from, and all kinds of other dorky things. This new fearless fish devil in my life challenged me to quit running away from it and embrace it. So slowly, I’ve started to mess with fish/shellfish wanting to really get good at cooking them correctly, and delicately. Fish isn’t something that needs to be very seasoned, just cooked the right way.

 

I actually have a hilarious story about stuffed baked clams regarding this topic…I’ll give you the 5-second synopsis. These baked clams were the most amazing dish EVER…but I couldn’t/can’t do clams by myself. I’m afraid they’ll open up and bite me, like they have rows of shark teeth waiting to gnaw off my hand. I need help shucking them, not because I can’t: well kind of because I can’t. I’m just quite literally they’re going to take my life.

So per usual, I went to the store for one thing (milk) and I leave with $8 of three bags of amazing proteins. Whenever I try to go and hit the discount sales…they’re never there waiting for me, they always seem to have these rockstar specials when I’m at the store for milk. I’m guilty for walking by the red meat and fish albeit, you never know when they’re having those clear out specials! 50% off… are you kidding me? Get in my fridge!! I left ghetto Russ’s with Angus Steak the size of Asia, two giant salmon fillets, and  Korean beef short-ribs. I know…total steal, especially for me…being single allows me to freeze great deals until I get to them…and not only that, but I get many meals out of my product since it’s just me.

These salmon fillets are calling my name. Not only do they have great color (when they’re faded…super gross) AND they still have the skin on them- which is the best part! It’s like the breading on fried chicken- yes, please! I love salmon, I really do. But- I rarely cook it because I’m so terrible at it. Absolutely terrible. I always over cook it and never season it right so it’s either dry or too fishy, or both. The great thing about salmon is that when it’s cooked correctly it doesn’t taste like fish. If I ever order salmon out, I only go to certain places I know that cook it accurately and also specify that I want it well-done.

I opened up the package and seasoned them with salt, pepper, ginger, lemon, and teriyaki glaze. Then I hit the internet to try and (once again) try to snag some tips on how to make these right! I feel like I kept reading the same things over and over…or everything was in a different language. Argh-give up.  So… I heated up my stainless steel, melted down some butter and (here come the tips…ready!) 1. Make sure the heat is on medium high, you want it hot enough to really get a good sear on it. I found that as hard as it was to wait 2. Seven minutes on each side works pretty well for a thicker fillet. 3. Make sure that the skin side is up initially. 4. Really watch your fillets because you can watch them cook and see the skin change color as it cooks similar to steak. Even though this ruins the ‘pretty’ factor, mine were big enough were I could test them without destroying the size/portions, but 5. Stick a fork in it and pull…it should just fall to your fork, and you can also see this way how cooked it is inside. (or be smart…and don’t forget you have a meat thermometer in the drawer-*smacks head*)

 I think salmon goes great with rice, but I was craving pasta (not good with salmon) so I made risotto 🙂  (good middle ground!) I cooked down some green onions, shitakes, and white onion for about 30 minutes, throwing in a splash of sugar in half way thru. Then I made a simple chicken broth based risotto, then threw in the mush/onion mix about 10 minutes before the risotto was done. So it was like a caramelized onion/mush risotto. Pretty good. This paired with my cooked salmon that was actually cooked right, (first time!!) was definitely worth a decent rating on the yum-radar. I literally don’t think I’ve ever cooked them right before, so I’m  glad I sat in the kitchen and just starred at them cooking for 15 minutes. ha!

BottomLINE: Risotto, good: I feel like I’m always trying to get better at this. I know what my problem is…and it’s that I don’t watch it enough. You really have to stir it almost the whole 20 minutes and be cautious about using the exact amount of liquid it calls for. But definitely loved the mushroom inspired version I whipped up. The Salmon- I was so excited and pumped about cooking it correctly…I even giggled to myself about it when I was all done. The skin was crisp, and incredibly flavorful- win! I wish I thought about dinner prior to 10 minutes before getting ready to attack the kitchen. THis probably would have been even better if it would have had more time to marinate in the fridge.  Lesson Learned: Babysit Cooking Salmon & Marinate in Fridge Longer.

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