Friday, July 24, 2009

Roasted Salmon + a bunch of other stuff

A while ago, I was given a great cookbook for my birthday--it's called From Emeril's Kitchens, and it's full of these beautiful looking (and mostly retired) recipes straight from Emeril's restaurants. Since these recipes were used to create dishes that were actually served in his restaurants, it's no surprise that these recipes are more intricate and complex than your typical recipe. Since I was relatively new to cooking when I was given this book, it's also no surprise that this cookbook intimidated the crap out of me.

But now it's a couple years later, and I can take it on. maybe.

Today we're making Roasted Atlantic Salmon with Herbed Potato Cakes, Granny Smith Apple Butter, Citrus Fennel Salad, and Salmon Roe. (I couldn't find salmon roe, okay)



1/2 tsp. olive oil
Four 6-oz. salmon fillets
salt and pepper
1 recipe Herbed Potato Cakes (yes, this is a recipe with sub-recipes)
1 recipe Granny Smith Apple Butter
1 recipe Citrus Fennel Salad
1 oz. salmon roe
For the Herbed Potato Cakes:
(makes 4 cakes)
2 idaho potatoes (about 1.5 lb.), peeled and grated
2 large eggs
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon
1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper
6 tbsp. clarified butter or vegetable oil
For the Granny Smith Apple Butter:
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into small dice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
salt and pepper
For the Citrus Fennel Salad:
1 lemon
1 orange
1 fennel bulb, stalks trimmed, tough core removed, and finely chopped
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
We'll start off with the salad, because it needs time to sit:
This is a fennel bulb. Never had fennel? It tastes and smells a lot like licorice, thanks to a certain compound called anethole (which is also responsible for star anise's licorice-y smell).
Cutting it up is pretty easy--just cut off the ends, and cut perpendicular, like this.

The fennel will break up into these curvy strips. Feel free to cut down those strips if they're too long.

Cut the orange and lemon into segments...

...but don't do it this way, cause it's probably not the best way to hold something when you're cutting it. Do make sure you work over a bowl though, so that you catch all those delicious juices.

Place the lemon/orange segments into a bowl, combine with everything else (olive oil, salt/pepper, fennel), and let it sit for 1-2 hours to let all the flavors come together.

On to the butter! Combine the diced apples, apple cider vinegar, and sugar together, then cook over medium-high heat until the apples are translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the heavy cream and cook until reduced by half, then reduce the heat to low.

Whisk in the butter slowly (book says "add 1 tablespoon at a time, adding each new piece before the previous one has been completely incorporated"), and watch your heat. Too hot, and this sauce will break, which is not cool. Really though, what is it with sauces and breaking?

Add salt and pepper, and keep warm in a double boiler. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Herbed potato cakes! Grate your potatoes, and dry the resulting potato "strings" with paper towels, because those things give up a crapload of water.

Chop your herbs (parsley, tarragon, basil).

Combine everything except the butter (grated potatoes, eggs, herbs, salt/pepper) in a bowl, and mix. It should look like this, except not an ugly brown unless you work slow like me and your potatoes become oxidized (doesn't really affect the taste anyway).

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F, grease a baking sheet with oil, season the salmon, and roast that sucker.

Meanwhile (again), split your herbed potato mixture into quarters, and form each quarter into uh...a potato cake shape. The book says to form them into "a 4-inch round cake about 1/2 inch thick," but I unfortunately lack a kitchen ruler. (it's really just a guideline, and kitchen rulers don't exist. I think.) Start shallow frying the potato cakes until golden brown, ~5-6 minutes per side.

After ~10 minutes (which should be about the time the potato cakes are done--there's a reason the salmon and potatoes are started at the same time), take out the salmon. If 10 minutes seems a bit short, it's because the salmon is supposed to be a little pink in the middle. If you have a problem with that, stop cooking leave it in a little longer.

Plating! This is one way that the book recommends plating, but it's definitely not the only way. Lay down the salad, and throw in some of the fennel leaves if your bulb came with them (the book actually didn't say that, but I like the leaves).

Place a potato cake on the plate, put the salmon fillet on top of that, spoon the sauce on top of that, then place a teaspoon of salmon roe on top of that. No salmon roe here. And uh, my fillet kind of broke--don't mind that. Thanks.
On a side note, make sure you get some of the sauce on the salad--they work great together. Hell, everything here works great together.

Serve. That wasn't too bad, was it?


  1. I dont know why but whenever i make hash browns my potatoes turn reddish brown too when i grate them. i think its because i leave em out for too long and they oxidize like apples do.

  2. ....your potatoes turned red too.

  3. That's why potatoes are the very last thing you prepare. Always. For aesthetic purposes anyways.