Salmon, you shiver me timbers!

I’ve told you about my love affair with this little fishy, haven’t I? It sends me into a frenzy, the mere thought of it gives me goose bumps. I do a happy schammy┬ádance. The dance looks suspiciously like the Bill Cosby’s no-movement dance. It makes me smile. It makes me feel clean. Salmon. Joy!

When I was putting together the menu for the Foodbuzz 24, 24,24 meal I, OF COURSE, found a way to add salmon to it. It represented the Pacific Northwest, and BOY, did it do that region proud!

I think salmon is perfect just the way it comes out of the water, so I don’t tend to dress it up too much. For this recipe, I allowed the fillets to┬ámarinate in┬ásome basic seasonings, then┬áseared and served┬áit with a beer sauce. While searching for ideas to prepare it, I found a clever little recipe for ‘Beer Blanc‘. I loved the play on words/concept (beurre blanc is a traditional French butter sauce). And since I often throw in beer into my sauces, it was off to the skillet. *I went with a Samuel Adams Irish Red.

Pan Seared Salmon with Beer Blanc Sauce

4 salmon fillets (approx 4 ozs each)
2 tsps sea salt
1 tsp black pepper, ground
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsps extra virgin olive oil

For the sauce (about 1 cp)
1/4 cp shallots, thinly sliced
8 oz red ale beer*
2 tbsp Malt vinegar
1 tbsp thyme leaves, fresh are best
2 tbsp butter, cut into pieces

Mix the salt, pepper, garlic and 1 tsp of olive oil in a shallow container, preferably glass. Work these ingredients into a paste and rub it on the salmon fillets. Set aside for 15-30 minutes.

Note about cooking the salmon: Do you like sushi? If you do, then allow me to suggest you cook salmon to medium. IMHO, the best way to enjoy this fish is just underdone. Salmon is naturally creamy, almost buttery, and this quality really comes through when you show some restraint when cooking it. I cannot tell you how often I’ve seen this cruelly overcooked to a dry, powdery, overly oily, and strong tasting mess. Please don’t do that salmon. It really deserves better.

See? Flaky but still creamy

Heat a nonstick skillet until it smokes, add the other teaspoon of oil and swirl it around to coat the bottom of the skillet. Carefully place the fillets on the skillet, skin-side down first. Sear the skin for 1-2 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet. The ones I had were about 1-1/2 inches thick. You can look at the fillets from the side, the portion closest to the heat will begin to turn opaque. This is a good time to flip them onto the other side. Sear for another 1-2 minutes before removing from the skillet and allowing them hang out on a warm plate.

Once you’ve seared all the fillets, remove some of the oil rendered–you only need about 1 tbsp left in the skillet. Reduce the temperature to medium, add the shallots and cook until tender,┬áabout 4 minutes.

Deglaze the skillet with the beer, lower temperature to medium low and simmer until 3/4 of the liquid has evaporated. At this point add the vinegar and thyme and reduce the remainder of the liquid by another half.

Reduce the temperature to low and add the butter pieces separately until incorporated. Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary. Simply spoon the sauce over the fillets before serving.

These fillets were accompanied with Melted Leeks, a beautiful combo!

Cookingly yours,
Anamaris

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Mi Pollo Loco

When I lived in Panama, there was this little shack that sold THE best rotisserie chicken in the world. It was flavorful and juicy and toasty and moist. It was delicious, but I guess I don’t have to say that.

After living in the US for 20 or so years, I’ve noticed this ‘style’ of chicken keeps popping up. There’s a place called Dodo’s Chicken here in Houston and theirs is pretty good. Most curiously, though, I’ve noticed references to this type of chicken on TV shows. Do you watch Flipping Out? Jeff LOVES Pollo Loco!

I’m betting you will love too, so get ready to have your chicken world rocked.

Pollo a la Pollo Loco
1-5lbs chicken, whole
2 pkts Saz├│n
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
12 oz beer, in can
2 garlic cloves, whole

Remove the innards from the bird and rinse it under cool water. Drain. In a small container, mix the next 5 ingredients into a paste and rub it over the chicken. Make sure to rub the inside as well as all the skin with the paste. Allow it to sit for at least an hour or longer, if possible–even overnight.

Preheat oven to 400┬░. Open the beer and drop the 2 cloves of garlic in it. Stand the can on a roasting pan, then place the chicken over it. You will be inserting the can through the bottom hole of the chicken. Push it in as far as it will go, usually all the way to the top of of the chicken.

Now place the chicken in the oven and allow it to bake at this temperature for 15 minutes. Then lower the oven temperature’s to 350┬░ and continue roastig the chicken for about 1.5 hours or until the internal temperature reads 185┬░. Generally, it takes 20 minutes to roast1 lb of raw chicken. Remove the chicken from the oven┬á and cover with foil. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes.

Gently remove it from the can and carve. Enjoy deliciously moist chicken! Here it was served with yellow rice and lentils.

Cookingly yours, Anamaris