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Poached Salmon

I’ve been eating Christmas left overs for the last week, and there comes a point where I just can’t do left overs anymore. I’ve never really been a fan of left overs which is one of the reasons I have such a hard time cooking for just myself. As much as I’m a sucker for routines – wake up, stumble for coffee, brush teeth, shower, get dressed.

So on Thursday I decided I wanted to make something new for dinner, I however, didn’t know what I wanted so I spent an hour or so browsing my wonderful blog roll and drooling over everything, then I decided to limit my self to a cookbook. I’m better at making decisions if I have a limited number of options to choose from in the beginning.

The cookbook I decided to work out of was Pam Anderson of Three Many Cooks Perfect One-Dish Dinners. I’ve blogged about her Mac and Cheese a few weeks ago and I’ve made her creamy lasagna (page 135)  so I new her recipes were delicious. I grabbed my mom and both of us flipped through the book, of course everything looked delicious so we narrowed it down by “lighter” recipes. We settled on her Braised Salmon with fingerling potatoes, shallots, and asparagus (page 88) which did not disappoint at all.

I did change some aspects of the recipe though. The biggest change I made was to swap out some of the clam juice for some Riesling, I did this because the clam juice at my local Safeway was rather expensive at about $4 dollars for an 8 oz bottle and I needed four of them. So I bought two and we had some Riesling left over from Christmas so I replaced 16 ounces of clam juice with 16 ounces of Riesling. Riesling might not have been the best choice of white wine to choose, but that’s one of the wines that a quick search on Google showed as a good pairing for salmon.

If you know of a better white wine for salmon, I’m all ears! I must confess, I don’t know much about wine pairings I’ve always subscribed to the idea you should drink whatever wine makes you happy. But for cooking, it would probably be good to know what wines and what characteristics work with which foods.

Another change that I made was to cut the carrots and shallots into large chunks instead of leaving them whole. I wish I’d done the same with the potatoes. Next time I’d also broil the vegetables while the salmon and asparagus is cooking. And definitely cut the salmon into serving sizes if you buy a large chunk. It takes a looong time for the whole thing to cook through otherwise.

Everything was delicious, the clam juice added (I thought) a nice salty note to the dish without being fishy. Although my parents nor my sister could taste the salty/calminess of it. Maybe its because I smelled the juice before dumping it in? Don’t ask why I did that, I  still don’t understand it either.

The carrots, potatoes, and shallots were delicious although I think the shallots could have benefited from being caramelized a little bit. The asparagus was perfect. Even though everything was boiled nothing lost its color or flavor.

The salmon itself was delicious. Perfectly cooked, lightly seasoned perfection served in its own sauce with a squeeze of lemon over the top. I was in heaven. My sister asked if there was any tar tar sauce, since we usually have that with salmon, but after trying the salmon everyone from the table yelled “Don’t make the tar tar sauce! It’s delicious without it!”

This is a recipe that I’m definitely going to have ear mark for the first meal after the holidays for next year. It’s perfect antidote the heaviness from all the rich desserts and heavy dinners. It reminds me of  the Spring, which is always a wonderful thing in the middle of December.

Braised Salmon with Vegetables

This is adapted from Pam Anderson’s cookbook Perfect One-Dish Dinners on page 88.

2-2 1/2 pounds salmon, cut into serving sizes (or 6 center cut fillets)
1 quart chicken broth
2 bottles (8 ounces each) clam juice
16 ounces white wine
6 medium carrots, peeled and cut in to large chunks – thick pieces cut in half length wise
6 large shallots, peeled and cut into fourths
1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes
1 1/2 pounds thick asparagus, tough ends cut off
1 lemon cut in eights
Salt and Pepper for seasoning

Heat oven to 170 degrees. Season the fleshy side of the salmon with salt and pepper.

In a large roasting pan (large enough for the salmon) combine the chicken broth, clam juice, white wine, carrots, shallots, and potatoes and bring to a boil over two burners. Cover pan with a lid or heavy duty aluminum and reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are fork tender.

Remove vegetables, using a slotted spoon, and place on a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.

Add salmon and asparagus to broth. Cover and let simmer for about 5-7 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through. If you have thin asparagus, cook the salmon first then cook the asparagus.

Plate the salmon and all the vegetables then ladle the liquid over the top. Serve with a lemon slice.

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