Friday, June 10, 2011

Grilled Panko Crusted Salmon with Honey Orange Vinaigrette

Copper river salmon is finally in season!  To celebrate, I tried something new.  Grilling fish.  Strait on the grill.  

Typically, my husband was always the grill master.  I just didn't want to deal with the extreme 700 degrees of our grill, and quite frankly the grill can be intimidating.  These days, I've had to overcome a lot of my fears, like giving birth, killing spiders, and manning the grill.  Since my husband works fairly late, I try to have dinner ready when he gets home so that we can all eat as a family.  Eating at 8pm, now, is no longer an option with a toddler.

Amazingly, the grill is a lot easier than I always thought.  Not to mention, less messy, less stinky, and more kitchen fires!  The key is to have a really hot grill, flip once, and oil the grates.  I use cooking spray--just stand back--those flames can really kick back. 

Now that we have overcome grilling, lets talk about this fish, shall we?  Copper river salmon is in season only in the summer months.  It's much more 'buttery' in flavor and texture.  In fact, it's the real reason I love salmon today.  Total fact.  Up until 7 years ago, I did not like fish.  Now, I don't know how I ever lived without it.

What I love about this recipe is the crunch from the panko crumbs (japanese bread crumbs that are, well, pretty darn crunchy!).  The finishing sauce, just brightens up the fish.  And who doesn't like sauce?  

Leaving the skin on helps with breakage of the fish on the grill.  Also, you don't even have to flip this thing, just cover with one of those disposable foil/aluminum pans over the top to create a steam cooking system.

Oh, and did I mention this takes 25 minutes?  Yup.

Grilled Panko Crusted Salmon with Honey Orange Vinaigrette
recipe adapted from "Cuisine at Home" magazine

1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T white wine vinegar
1 T Dijon
Zest of one orange
1 T shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon 

For the Salmon:
2 T.  olive oil
1.5 T. Dijon Mustard
2, 8 oz Salmon filets, skin on (or choose a size that you would eat)
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
2 T. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat grill

Wisk Vinaigrette ingredients together.  Set aside.

For the fish:  Mix together 2 T oil, and dijon and salt and pepper to taste.  Brush over salmon filets.

In a separate bowl: mix together panko, parsley, and 2 T olive oil.  Top each filet with the mixture.  

Oil grill (be careful of the flames).  Place salmon on the grill, skin side down. Cover with either a disposable aluminum pan, I used some aluminum pie pans I had.  Cook 5-6 minutes.  Or until fish is done.  Check often for flare ups.**  If topping seems to be getting too burned and fish is still not done inside, you can put fish on a sided cookie sheet on a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes (or until done).  I ended up having to do this.

**tip: Once the fish is on the grill, leave it alone. Don't move it until it's finished.  The skin will generally stick to the grill, don't worry about it, this helps get the fish off anyway.  Also, use a metal spatula and quickly, but gently get under the fish to pull it off the grill.

Serve over roasted asparagus and top with vinaigrette.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Prosciutto and Melon Appetizer with Marcona Almonds

Ok, so technically, I didn't make this.  However, I did manage to put it together in just minutes for a little appetizer while I was making dinner.  It's the perfect appetizer, its quick, simple and SO, SO good.

I have had this many times before, but it finally became a staple on my Italian vacation with my husband.  We would step into a small cafe while shopping and sight seeing, and take a little break with wine and a plate of prosciutto and melon.  Every time I have it, it reminds me of our trip.

The key here is using good olive oil, aged prosciutto (the best you can afford but the 18 month aged is REALLY good) and fresh, in season melon.  We added a few marcona almonds for the side.  Marcona almonds are actually a spanish nut.  Oddly, they are grown in the worst soil conditions, but ironically grow these fabulous tasting almonds.

Prosciutto and Melon Appetizer with Marcona Almonds
1/2 pound prosciutto sliced very thin
1/2 melon skinned, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup marcona almonds (salted with oil)
Good quality extra virgin olive oil (I prefer Katz and Co.)

Directions:  Assemble on a plate, drizzle olive oil over the prosciutto.  Salt the melon with fleur de sel if desired.  Serve.