All images ⓒ Pastry Ninja Photography 2009|2010|2011

Search This Blog

Monday, April 26, 2010

~Buttery Fruits of the Sea~ First time impressions of a long time favorite

A great little french place just opened up recently here in Walleyville and one dish in particular reminded me of a real piece of nostalgia:  Brown butter trout with herbs and shallots.  Simple and elegantly to the point in a culinary sense.  I've always loved recipes since I was small and I thought I would give my CCA training given recipe-copying skills a try for a little LOTR movie night dinner:

~Brown Butter Salmon with Wild Rice and Crispy Toasted Bread~
2-4 Equal sized King Salmon Fillets
1 C Cultured, Unsalted Butter
1 Large Lemon1 Medium Shallot
Sprigs fresh Thyme
1 Large clove Garlic
Kosher Salt
Fresh ground Black Pepper

1/2 C Dry organic wild/brown rice blend per person

1 Tablespoon butter or olive oil
1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon
1 good quality Demi-Baguette per 2 people
Olive oil

Special tools: Large Cast Iron Skillet
                       Large Casserole Baking Dish
                        Aluminum Foil

Another recipe I love for its simplicity!  Its more preparation than anything, like any task worth undertaking, but once you've got you mise en place its smooth sailing.  Depending on what rice you've got, it'll take up to 50 minutes of steaming to cook to perfection so lets get that done first.
I like to add a tiny bit of cinnamon to the water along with the butter to add some interesting aromatics!  Add 1/2 C rice and 1 C water PER PERSON to a medium pot with a tight fitting lid.  Add your butter and cinnamon to the water and follow the instructions on the rice packaging as different blends will greatly sometimes...  The rice I used required 50 minutes of steaming on low heat.

Next lets get our fish ready. It's always a good Idea to have color coded cutting boards to avoid cross contamination.  If you've only got one, or not too much counter space, just leave the fish in it's plastic packaging until the last minute.  

Preheat your oven to 400f.  Slice your lemon as thin as you like and set aside, keeping in mind that thicker slices mean a more zesty while thinner means more lemony sourness. Peel and slice your shallots about 1/8" thick and set aside.  Crush one large garlic clove with the flat of a blade.  Start browning butter with the shallot slices and the crushed garlic.  At the same time, heat butter in the cast iron skillet over medium heat and sear the fillets, 2 mins on one side to give them a nice dark glazing.  and place them in your baking dish.  Once the butter has a nice brown color to it, pour over the fillets.  Sprinkle each with salt and pepper, top with 2 or 3 lemon slices and three sprigs of thyme each.  Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 15 mins.  

After 15, remove the foil and spoon juices over each piece 2 or 3 times and put back in the heat for 5-7 minutes depending on your liking.  For the toasty bread, slice your baguettes in half like a hot dog bun and in half so you end up with 4 pieces.  Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat and fry quickly until just browned. 

 Well... I guess that's all I have to say on thi-


In my last post, I talked about pyrolysis - a form of heat based caramelization related to the Maillard Reaction (named for the chemist Louis-Camille Maillard) as a non-enzymatic browning.  When we heat the fish, especially when we sear it at the beginning  the amino acids and certain sugars in the meat form complex mixtures of semi-volatile flavor and scent molecules giving it that great flavor,color, and smell.  Each food group and type have their own nucleophilic amino groups, resulting in their own unique flavors and smells.  This reaction is responsible for some of our favorite things like BACON smells and nice grill marks on a steak!  There you have it!  Maillard Reaction.  SCIENCE!

I knew I almost forgot something important...

Food-copy Ninjutsu successful!  The textures work well with a stepping down from the crispy bread to the toothsome rice and the tender salmon.  Might even try some puff pastry crisps next time... Simple, elegant, quick, and delicious recipe that I will definitely be making and sharing again soon!  


1 comment:

yummy supper said...

I love that you give the scientific perspective. The chemistry of food is fascinating and very few people know the scoop like you do.