Saturday Night Dinner March 4, 2011

I’ve covered Julia Child’s Salmon with Aromatic Vegetables before, this time we used Steelhead Trout from Avedano’s Holly Park Market instead of Salmon. Hard to find Wild caught Salmon these days, Steelhead is our second choice, along with Arctic Char. Another good use for those hard to finish bottles of Dry Vermouth, by the way.

Fish with Aromatic Vegetables

Method: Pre-heat an oven to 300 F. Finely chop a combination of equal parts onion, celery, and carrot. Heat a Saute pan, add butter and vegetables. Saute until the vegetables are tender. Add dried or fresh tarragon and thyme. Deglaze pan with a generous amount of Dry Vermouth. Butter a roasting pan approximately the size of your fish fillet. Place the fillet skin side down in the pan, salt, pepper, and some cubes of butter. Pour vegetables on top of fish. Add more dry vermouth to come up half way up the side of the fillet. Cover with buttered parchment paper or lid and place in oven. Bake until fillets are just cooked through. Remove fillets from liquid to warm plate. Pour liquid into sauce pan and reduce until syrupy. Optionally, mount the sauce with butter. Pour over filets and serve.

To be honest, I think this would be an awesome sous vide preparation.

More interesting, though were the side dishes, generally riffs on flavors I associate with Southern Italy.

Pan roasted Cauliflower braised in cx stock with red chile, garlic, herbs, anchovy paste, olives, and sherry vinegar.

METHOD: Cut up a head of Cauliflower into “florets”, heat a saute pan. Add some olive oil and then Cauliflower. Let “pan roast” over high heat until you get some nice color. Add minced garlic, crushed red chile, fine chopped herbs, an anchovy filet, and some chopped Green Olives. Give a shake or two. Pour in some chicken (or vegetable) stock and cook until the Cauliflower is tender. Finish with a splash of sherry vinegar to brighten the flavors.

I’ve been rediscovering Cauliflower lately and enjoying the flavors. This was one of the more interesting preparations I’ve done recently.

Israeli Cous Co us with pine nuts, raisins, lemon zest, herbs, and cinnamon broth.

METHOD: Heat a pint or so of chicken stock until warm with a cinnamon stick. Heat a deep saute pan. Add some olive oil and a cup of israeli cous cous. Add some pine nuts, raisins, and sliced green onions. Saute briefly, then add chicken stock by the cupful. continue to add stock as it is absorbed until the cous cous is tender and cooked through. Finish with herbs and the Zest of one lemon.

I really like Israeli Cous Cous, you often cook it rather like risotto. A bit more fun than the pilaf-like preparations for regular Cous Cous.

Both of these side dishes could be described as “profoundly unfashionable” in flavor and style, nearly Medieval with their emphasis on strong flavors, herbs, and spiced. I really liked them in combination with the milder fish preparation.

Serve with a nice, light red wine, like this Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir from Wild Hog Vineyards.