Fresh Wild King Salmon with Corn, Sun Gold Tomato, and Artichoke Saute

16 09 2009
Salmon & Saute

Salmon & Saute

I have to start this post by saying I was not impressed by this at all BUT it was also cold by the time I stopped cooking / taking pictures so I’m certain that had a lot to do with sadly.  I also need to start by saying the first salmon steak I made was by far the most perfectly beautiful. I had hoped as I cooked more I could repeat and refine it but alas it was no to be and so the blackened edges adorn our photo tonight. 

This is a story about a fish, friends, and end of a season. The sous chef was having a dinner party with a friend this week and I was on duty to get food for this dinner while at the farmers market.  The sous chef had seen that it was the last week for fresh salmon at the farmers market and with this knowledge tucked in the back of my brain off I went.  But before I went I checked my cookbook and saw this recipe and tucked that also in my brain.  When I got to the market I made my usual lap with a friend and decided that even at $21.99/lb the King Salmon as a very rare treat made sense.  So I sauntered up and opened a cooler.  I started at the unmarked fillets and eventually found one even in thickness and asked the fisherman how much he thought it weighed.  My goal: 1 lb.  His answer: 1.2 or so.  He handed it to the next guy who said 1.5 and dropped it onto the scale where it read: 1.52. He won the weight game and he won my money when I decided to go ahead and do.  $33 dollars later I had a hunk of the freshest salmon I could buy and a bag of ice to support it.  We already had the corn and I made a few more laps for the sun golds and the basil. I looked at the artichokes twice but totally forgot to buy one.  So later that day on a bike ride I picked up from the fruit and veggie stand.

I got home and put it in the fridge with the ice but eventually something made me ask the internet how to store the fish. It told me only on crushed ice.  Only.  I didn’t have any ice. I didn’t have any crushed ice. And it was later than I wanted it to be and didn’t really want to go out.  Just as I started making plans I came across a website that was my answer: blue ice cold packs.  Specifically the ice cube like ones.  Sandwich the fish between those and rotate every 24 hours. I had 2 of them right there so I swapped them with the melted ice and called it good until the next day when I got a blue ice pack replacement to keep the cycle going for 2 days.

 2 days passed and it was time to cook.  Our first challenger was the artichoke.  I have never cooked and artichoke and the directions weren’t exactly clear how much was the heart or how much was the tougher/softer leaves we were supposed to be using. In the end we went with the heart more than anything but boy did I get a good introduction on what I don’t know about artichokes.  Chalk that one up to the research I need to do category.  But we managed to get through it and we cooked the bacon, rendered the fat, and then sauteed the three veggies in it fora few minutes to make the side dish.

At this point the only left to do was cook the salmon. The directions were straight forward: 3 minutes on the skinless side to sear it and enough to cook it to medium on the other side, approximately 3 minutes.  The first steak did exactly as it was supposed to and it was served to our guest. It was beautifully seared and cooked.  The guests review was that it was amazing before the second steak even got off the frying pan line.  The next steak was almost twice as thick and took much longer to cook. Eventually I cut it in half to see if it would cook faster and I think it helped some. The third and forth weren’t that much better; thick and unclear to me. In the end everything was enough but not the prettiest nor the ugliest we had seen.

1/4 of the Raw Salmon

1/4 of the Raw Salmon -"What's left before I forget to take a picture"

Cooking Salmon Shrouded in Mystery!

Cooking Salmon Shrouded in Mystery!

The guest and the sous chef loved the salmon and the saute but I spent so much time cooking and taking photos tonight that it was quite cold before I got there.  It tasted good but not stand out in its cold state.  Hopefully next year I will cook some salmon before the season is over and I don’t necessarily have to cook it better just eat it faster and it may be amazing.  Here’s to trusting the sous chef and guest’s palate more than mine tonight!

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