Friday, June 29, 2007

Why I Don't Go to Restaurants

I don't know if this looks like much. It tasted like much, though, so I'm going to tell you about it.
Somehow we got the crazy idea of "Salmon Wellington" in our heads. Only it wasn't going to be made with pastry crust; it would be baked inside scalloped potatoes.
We've been saving this slab of wild local salmon in the freezer for about a month, and today we finally caved. I had bought a huge bag of morels at the market yesterday, and we had all the other fixin's: Yukon Gold potatoes, some cream, butter (of course), shallots, and parsley.
First, Cranky made up a fabulous, fragrant duxelles from the morels and shallots, heightened by a splash of intense, local cabernet. It was the first time in ages that our kitchen has smelled French.
Next, we sliced the peeled potatoes on our little Japanese mandoline. Parboiled them gently for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, I minced some parsley.
OK, assembly time. Butter the baking dish. It's a good idea to use as small a baking dish as your slab of salmon will fit in. Line the bottom with half the drained potato slices, overlapping, and give it a good glug of cream. Sprinkle an area in the center exactly the size of your fish piece with half the parsley. Top that with half the duxelles. Lay the fish on, and then build upwards with the remaining ingredients, in reverse order. One more glug of cream, and into the oven. You should be using salt and pepper here and there.
We might have liked the salmon more rare, but it was so good we weren't in a self-critique mode. Besides, as everybody knows, Wellington means Welldoneington.


Dagny said...

"Welldoneington." Hehehe. Perhaps that's why I've never ordered the dish. Because the thought of eating meat that is more than medium -- in an ideal world, medium rare -- just sends chills along my spine.

Monkey Wrangler said...

Come on, be honest. You used two glugs of cream

dancingmorganmouse said...

Yummy, wild salmon is very difficult to get here and the farmed stuff is so full of antibiotics we are afraid to eat is. I miss our old motor mechanic, he'd slip us wild Snowy Mountain trout from time to time - that stuff was bliss.

Stacie said...


Anna Haight said...

Don't you love that Japanese mandoline! This looks great! Salmon is in season! Coming from Seattle, I miss the June runs of all the different wild varieties.

katiez said...

Love the salmon...
I disgree about the Wellington, though. Whenever I've had it, it's been, most properly, rare! You just need to start with a really big filet...which makes for a really big price!
As to the restaurants, we face a bit of a conundrum: In order for it to be calorie-worthy it has to be better than what I can do at home, which normally means a tad on the expensive side, which means that we rarely go out!
I'm not counting the places one goes to merely sustain bodily functions...
What I'm really envious of is the bag of fresh morels!

Beccy said...

That sounds delicious, can you give me a hint as to how long you baked it for?

Kevin said...

I've had that same idea, but haven't done it yet. Now I have to.

Sean said...

Clever girl. Looks great!

Tana said...

Can I please come and live with you?

: D


cookiecrumb said...

Dagny: Yeah, and it's all steamed up inside there. Ew.

MW: Totally correct! Plural on the glugs. Nuggets, too.

DMM: Snowy Mountain trout sounds like a dream. I'm sort of sorry I mistreated my salmon.

Stacie: Back off, you!

Anna: Oh, Seattle = salmon.
Yes, the silly little plastic mandoline does such great tricks.

Katie: In a round-about way, you perfectly described my own restaurant conundrum, complete with the allusion to occasional slumming.

Beccy: I baked it for too long, alas. About 35 minutes in a 400ºF oven. If you have a meat thermometer, it should read about 120-125ºF (sorry, I don't have the Celsius conversions at hand).

Kevin: I'd have loved for mine to be more perfectly enveloped with potato slices, so keep that in mind. Can't wait to hear how you do.

Sean: Yeah, what fun! Cream, baby. That's the ticket.

Tana: You are too kind. It wasn't *that* good! OK, it was pretty good. :D

Ed Bruske said...

brilliant. what kind of salmon was it?

Greg said...

Duxelles!Viola c'est magnifique mon ami.

cookiecrumb said...

Ed: Ummm... Probably King salmon; that's what they seem to catch around here. Thanks.

Greg: C'est si bon! Merci.

kudzu said...

Ah, you reminded me of the Sixties when chic cooks turned out coulibiac (pasty-wrapped salmon) for dinner parties. Haven't had it since then. The potatoes are an interesting variation, and morels are a nice change in the mushroom flavor range.

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: Thank you for that perspective. I know I've heard the term "coulibiac," but I had to look it up just now.
No doubt I had internalized it somehow and then re-created it in this form... I'm not ashamed to admit I'm a porous, absorbent, forgetful recipe stealer.
And, as for resurrecting a 60s recipe... well, I'm on a roll in that department. Our new house was built in 1963. We're playing Burt Bacharach and teasing our hair over here! Swedish meatballs comin' up!

Pink Granite said...

Hi -
I know I'm late to the party, but I just followed the link over from DancingMorganMouse.
This looks delicious and I can't wait to try it.
Thank you!
- Lee

cookiecrumb said...

Lee: I'm thrilled you hopped over to see what Morgan was talking about. You flatter me.