Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Salmon, Asparagus and OJ

The time has come to get little O to start eating fish. Omega 3's are a good thing for everybody, especially little people. You just have to get them to eat it, that's all. No big deal, right? I'll get to that later on.

We bought a package of frozen Alaskan salmon a month ago, so I figured we better get to eating it. I try to buy fresh, but sometimes it isn't that easy. Besides, this is fresh caught from the ocean, flash frozen and individually packed. It's almost the same.... almost. It's as good as it's going to get in a pinch.


I have been cooking salmon poached in orange juice now for around 15 years. I love the way this dish comes out. The salmon has a tangy, bright flavour from the orange juice, with nice background flavours from the garlic and asparagus. You can use Tropicana or Oasis OJ, but if you can use fresh squeezed orange juice, that's the way to go. Make sure to squeeze the juice into a bowl or container as you should mix or shake it up before putting it into the frying pan. The juice tends to separate and has a clear look to it. You don't want to cook the dish if the juice is in this state.

You could use green beans for this dish as well, but I prefer asparagus. Green beans are good for you and tasty, but I like the health benefits of asparagus (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=12). When you are preparing it to eat, simply grab a spear with both hands near the woody end, bend it and it will break where the woody part ends. Don't force it. Just find the right spot.


The key to this dish coming out properly is to turn down the heat after the OJ comes to a boil and slowly simmer the salmon in the juice. This way the salmon comes out nice and light rather than hard, overdone and coming apart in chunks. If you notice in the picture above, I was paying more attention to the camera than the salmon and almost overcooked it.


The dish is quite filling so don't overdo it with the portion sizes. The biggest fillet of salmon you should use is about 5-7 ounces, or about 140-200 grams. When the salmon soaks up the OJ, it becomes a very filling dish, especially when it is served with the asparagus and a side such as basmati rice. If you can eat this serving size and still want to eat more food, you better think twice about how much you eat and consider downsizing your portion sizes. This is my biggest problem: Eating to much food even after I'm full and eating when I'm not very hungry. I am starting to change this as of late and feel a lot better about how I eat now.


Ingredients

2 Salmon Fillets. You can use fillets with skin on or off. I prefer skin on
8 Asparagus spears
2 Cloves of garlic
Enough orange juice as it takes to go halfway up the salmon fillets when in the pan (Tropicana, Oasis or fresh squeezed). If you are using a 10" frying pan, then 1.5-2 cups will do.
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
EVOO
1 tsp butter, if desired. This adds a nice flavour, but skip it if you want to cut down the calories

Directions

Turn the burner on the medium high to start. You should use a non-stick frying pan as it will be easier to cook the fish without it falling apart. Dry the fillets off with a paper towel. Season with a little salt and pepper opposite the skin side. Add the EVOO and the butter (if using). When the oil is hot enough, put the fillets skin side up in the pan. Flip the salmon over after 30-45 seconds. Add the garlic to flavour the oil. Add the OJ before the garlic burns. Remember, only add enough to go half way up the fillet. Bring it up to a boil and turn the heat down to medium low. Add the asparagus. Try to keep as much in the OJ as possible, but don't force the issue. Add a little salt to keep it green and help the juices to come out of it. This will add a nice background flavour to the dish. Put the lid on and let cook for about 8 minutes per 1" of the thickness of the fish. I like 7.5 minutes, but it's up to you how like your fish cooked. This is very important as you absolutely have to know how thick your fillet is. When finished, take the salmon out of the pan along with the asparagus and plate it over top of roasted vegetables or rice. In this case, I used basmati rice. Turn the burner to high in order to reduce to OJ and garlic sauce almost to a syrup. When it is reduced enough, after about 90 seconds, set the pan off to the side for a minute to let the sauce cool a little and thicken. Pour a tablespoon or two over top of the salmon and serve. Serves 2.


Little O's Menu

We saved a little chunk of the salmon for O to eat for lunch, but she found it a little too stinky. I had to hide it in her mixture of carrots, Hubbard squash and broccoli. She seemed to be alright with it at first, but then decided it wasn't such a good idea. She swirled the food around in her mouth like my grandpa used to, and all of a sudden there was the little piece of salmon on her lips. No carrots or anything else, just the salmon. What the...??? How did she do that? I'm a grown man and I can't do that! I don't give up that easily, so I just made the salmon pieces a little smaller. Ha! This worked for a few more spoonfuls and then she decided she wasn't hungry anymore. I think next time I will just steam her a small piece away from what we eat, for now.

Her breakfasts have still been the same fruit, yogurt and rice cereal. We started her back on organic apples and pears with a little cinnamon again. She likes both of these and never turns them away.

We are headed out on a road trip for a few days to Mrs. Urban Eaters parents' house. We are taking 3 2.84 L (106 fl. oz) tins of San Marzano tomatoes to make tomato sauce with. Should be fun and there will be a recipe and a few pictures to come.

This blog may not get out for a few days after this one due to a lack of internet, but I may find a WiFi spot somewhere and send one out while I'm there. I will see what the situation is like.

Today's quote:

"Make (food) simple and let things taste of what they are"

Curnonsky (Maurice Edmond Sailland)
French writer (1872 - 1956)

Until next time, good eating everyone.

Mark

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