Matchy-matchy Salmon

I usually resist recipes that instruct me to serve my main dish on a bed of this or a salad of that. Somehow it seems too matchy-matchy–like when I worked at the Gap for 6 weeks in 1991 and they used to tell us to try to sell customers socks to match their t-shirts. But I made an exception recently for a recipe from Sunday Suppers at Lucques.  This fantastic and oh-so-trendy cook book is arranged entirely around full menus of seasonal foods. Many are delightful but I have stubbornly paid about as much attention to the pairing suggestions as my customers did to my half-hearted GAP sock and shirt-pairings. Then, I found on page 138 a summer menu that I could not resist. It combines three of my favorite foods–salmon, corn and applewood-smoked bacon. (If architects  plant vines to cover their mistakes, cooks should be advised to add lardons!) I not only went for the t shirt and socks but sprang for a matching belt in the form of a three-piece dish consisting of salmon, a brown butter sauce and a colorful bed of sweet corn, cabbage and bacon.

In the recipe version below, I have tried to make the dish a tiny bit healthier. Applewood bacon has so much fat and flavor that I did not think the dishes needed much more in the way of salt or fats.

Wild salmon with sweet corn, green cabbage and brown butter vinaigrette

For the salmon

1 cup milk

3 ounces diced applewood-smoked bacon (I used the food processor)

2 eggs

2 1/4 cups crumbs from crusty day-old bread

2 table spoons chopped flat leaf parsley

6 salmon filets, 5 to 6 ounces each, skin removed. Filets should be very thin or they won’t cook right.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the sauce:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 table spoons diced white onion

1.5 table spoons red wine vinegar

1/2 lemon

For the vegetables:

4 ounces applewood-smoked bacon

1.5 cups sliced onion

2 teaspoons thyme leaves

2 ears corn, shucked

1 pound green cabbage, cored, sliced thinly lengthwise (I cheated and bought a bag of pre-sliced cabbage for cole slaw. It also contained some carrots which was fine)

2 table spoons chopped flat leaf parsley


Make the salmon:

Cook book author Suzanne Goin suggests that salting fish several hours before cooking brings out the flavor. I agree. If you have time and you do not forget, lightly salt salmon 4 hours before cooking.

Bring milk and bacon to a boil over medium-high heat, cook a few minutes, cool 5 minutes then puree. Add eggs. Pulse a few times to mix.

Stir breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons of the parsley into the mixture.

Pour mixture into shallow dish and coat salmon.

Heat a large sautee pan over medium heat for two minutes.

Add olive oil. Carefully place salmon in pan. Turn heat to low and cook 3 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully turn filets and cook another 3 to 4 minutes until it’s brown on the second side and a little rare in the center. Transfer to plate.

Make the sauce:

Place butter and olive oil in sauce pan and cook 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat, swirling the pan a few times.  Turn off heat and wait 1 minute. Add red wine vinegar and onion. Return to stove and cook another minute or so. Turn off heat and add lemon juice.

Make the cabbage and corn:

Chop bacon in food processor. (I hate cutting raw bacon by hand. ) Heat large sautee pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Add chopped bacon and cook about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add onions, thyme and pepper. Sautee over medium heat for about 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add corn. Cook 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cabbage. Cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Top with parsley.

To assemble dish: (This kind of section reminds me of the warning on my windshield’s sun shield that I should not drive with said sun shield in place. But just in case..)

Put corn-cabbage on dish. Add salmon. Top salmon with sauce.

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4 Responses to Matchy-matchy Salmon

  1. Alan says:

    Sounds tasty!

    A once had a job putting file folders away in cabinets. That was the entire job. I lasted one day before I quit out of boredom. I wonder what the culinary parallel would be? Making baloney sandwiches?

  2. Amy says:

    Sounds good–bacon improves almost anything (except dessert). I have to live vicariously through your cooking since we’re not doing much right now.

  3. hollycooking says:

    Wow one day Alan! When I was in high school, I spent half the summer filing medical records!

  4. hollycooking says:

    Amy I actually have some bacon chocolate in my cabinet. It was pretty good. You don’t really taste the bacon. Just the salt. I also saw huge slabs of chocolate-coated bacon when I went to the beach in Oregon last fall. Yuck.

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