Saturday, June 21, 2014

ChezCindy: Seared Salmon Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing

I made the most delicious salad for dinner yesterday.  We have been on a dinner kick to eat protein served on a large bed of salad greens.  For my preference, that is a perfect meal.  My husband generally prefers something heartier.  But surprisingly enough, he is completely on board with this way of eating.    

If you follow my simple searing process for salmon, you are just about done with preparing this dinner salad.  Then make my basic vinaigrette with a quick addition of mayonnaise to make it creamy; toss over a large bunch of salad greens and dinner is served.  For a heartier meal, add roasted potatoes to the salad bowl, tossed with dressing.  Dinner in less than 15 minutes.  How nice.

Pan-Seared Salmon
Fresh Salmon - skin on, cut into portion size
Canola or Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Cracked Black Pepper

Place a large stainless steel pan over medium-high heat.  Allow the pan to become very hot.  Add oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper, drizzle a small amount of oil over the salmon.  Carefully, lay the salmon flesh side down into the hot pan.  Don't move or flip the salmon for at about 5 minutes.  You will see the salmon changing color from the pan side moving up.  You want a dark colored sear on this side of the salmon.  When this side is fully seared, a spatula should easily slip under the salmon so that it can now be flipped onto the skin side.  Cook on the skin side for 3-4 minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Flip the salmon over again so that the skin side is now facing you.  Using tongs, remove the skin by pulling back at one corner, and pulling across the full piece of salmon.  It should remove easily.  Discard the skin.  Flip the salmon over one more time so that the skin side is now down in the pan.  Continue cooking the skin side for 1-2 minutes longer now that the skin is removed.  The residual heat in the pan is sufficient to cook for this remaining time.  Remove from the pan and place onto your serving plate. 

Creamy Herb Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon chopped basil and chives, combined

In a small bowl, add the Dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper; whisk to combine.  Add the vinegar; whisk to combine.  Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking vigorously while doing so.  Whisk in the mayonnaise.  Stir in the chopped herbs.

Put It Together:  Make the salad dressing.  Sear the salmon.  Place a large amount of salad greens in a bowl.  Add the roasted potatoes, if using.  Toss together with enough salad dressing to coat the greens.  Divide the tossed salad greens onto serving plates.  Top with the seared salmon.  Drizzle a bit more dressing on the salmon. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

ChezCindy: Summer Stone-fruit Tart

Get ready for gorgeous stone fruit to show up at the farm markets.  Perfect to eat as it is, but also delicious in a fresh baked tart.  I usually make this tart with plums, always choosing the red flesh plums for great color.  This week at the market were tiny plump apricots just calling my name.  They were so cute.  I brought them home with no real plan of how I would use them, but soon settled in with the thought to make this comfortable tart. 

Choose any of the ripe stone fruits as we move through summer - peaches, nectarines, plums or apricots.  Adjust the sugar in the recipe to the sweetness of the fruit.  The apricots needed a few additional tablespoons of sugar.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, fresh whipped cream or a dusting of powdered sugar. 

Stone Fruit Tart
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1 cup light brown sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 pounds of stone fruit (plums, apricots, peaches, nectarines)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Combine the flour, chopped walnuts and sugar in a large bowl.  Add the diced cold butter and egg yolk.  Mix together until crumbly. 
Working with a removable bottom pan, such as a springform or a fluted tart pan, press 2 cups of the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan.  Slice the stone fruit in half, removing the pit.  Arrange the fruit in the pan, skin-side down working from the outside towards the center. 
Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the fruit.  Bake in the oven for 35 - 40 minutes, until lightly browned and the juices are bubbling through.  Remove from the oven to cool.  Serve warm.