Monday, October 17, 2011

Meat Talk - Salmon

Lets start the ball rolling with talk about some more yummy foods before I go into more recipes. Just to get things started here again properly after my mind break down of not having a functioning oven!

If you are like me who has had to turn to this life style not having known much about it at all, not having grown up having to eat this way or some other reason that you had to start eating gluten free then most likely in the beginning you also had a 'down spell' as well. What do I mean by that?? Simple, I want all the things I can not have any more... worse though is that I know for a fact that if I even slightly ingest something with gluten, I will have some nasty and very unwanted effects from it.

You know, I've started to learn to live with this but not with the thoughts of 'oh I just can't have that any more so I won't and I won't think about it again' but now with the mind set of 'I want that, I know I want it, I know it being made the normal way I can't eat it so now how do I make it and make it so I can eat it?!' mind set.

I have yet to find a task that if I really want it that I can't hit head on and in full force. But that takes me back to why I choose to talk about salmon... it's simple, it's fresh, it's 100% gluten free if you buy fresh (no deep freeze, no pre-herbed/processed or what not. If you choose to buy frozen or seasoned READ THE LABEL! There are hidden things in processed foods even as simple as being processed in a place that makes other wheat/gluten items!). Today's photos show that I even have a piece from a fresh fish monger that he has prepared with white pepper corns and parsley.

There are so many countless ways to prepare salmon in the form of dishes that you can make, ways to seasons it, ways to cook it. It's an untamed piece of meat that is just waiting for your creative juices to flow! What about a lightly fried piece with just a light sprinkling of fresh (or dry) dill added just at the end? How about cutting it into fine chunks, flash fried to cook it and add a crunchy texture so that you can add it to a gluten free pasta dish with cheese sauce? What about thinly sliced (paper thin mind you, ask your fish monger about this) pieces marinated in a citrous mixture and placed on top of gluten free toast or crackers spread with cream cheese? Key thing here is that citrous (lemon, lime, grapefruit ect) will cook the salmon! Ever bought a piece of fish that is still fresh that day but pre-wrapped like you would buy say beef or such from the local grocery store and it have a lemon piece resting again the fish? Remember pulling that lemon piece away to see that the fish under has changed colour? Yep, you guessed it, the lemon piece has started to cook that part of the fish.

Ok so I'm getting all over the place. Simply put, salmon is healthy, again full of the Omega 3 fatty acids that we are all told we should have more of and there are just so many ways to prepare it. This is also a fish that if prepared properly, the skin (as long as it has been scaled) can be eaten and should be as it also contains a number of good for you things!
A tip for all that like to pan fry... use a pan fit to what you are making. Don't use a pan overly small for your item/s but also don't use a pan that is overly big for it either. The reason for this you ask? Simple, the more area you have to heat in your pan, the more the heat will spread out and not centre on cooking the meat that is in the pan. Same thing for too small of a pan, your meat will either not sit against the bottom so it doesn't cook properly all over or it'll stick to the sides where you don't want it cooking either. You wouldn't put a pan that is too big on a small burner or a large pan on a burner too small would you? The same goes for the meat that you add to your pan. Make sure there is enough room to let the meat rest completely on the pan bottom. If you are frying more then one piece at a time, make sure you don't over crowd the pan because then some pieces will cook/brown quicker then others and they will stick. Just a tip, you'll find that it works well. Another small tip on preparing meat... if you are preparing a meat where you will want to de-glaze the pan afterwards (in cases where you want to make gravy lets say) use a pan that does not have a non-stick coating. You will want to 'scratch' at the bottom of the pan in order to get all the wonderful meat pieces and flavours off of it and no matter what you go scratching with, you'll end up marking your best non-stick pan so go for a good ol' favoured, old fashioned steel pan with no coating. They can also handle a much higher temp and deal with de-glazing better too.

The best way to prepare a piece of salmon... that is really up to the person I think but here is what I do. The piece I have shown in this entry has skin. When you cook it with skin, you want to start cooking it skin side down, this one is never up for discussion if you are looking to present this as a beautiful piece of art to the mind and taste buds. If no skin then it doesn't matter which side you start on.

Simply pre-heat a pan to a medium-high heat, use only a VERY small amount of olive oil in the pan as the salmon will release it's own fats/oils almost as soon as it hits the pan and drop the salmon (skin side down if you are using the skin) carefully into the pan as it will start to spit. LEAVE IT ALONE for at least 3 minutes. Do not turn it, do not move it, do not flip it, do not 'peek' under it or anything... simply leave it to be for 3minutes. The reason for this is if you start to wonder and mess with it, the more chance you have that it'll either stick to the pan or not cook evenly across the skin for that golden finish you want. Once you see the salmon start to change colour about 1/3 to 1/2 the way up, this is the time that you want to flip it. Again, leave it alone. I can't stress how much you should just leave your meat alone and either use a timer or your normal gut feeling on when to turn it. Meat loses a lot and you can cause a lot of un-wanted damage to it if you start to do more then 'wonder' about it.

Remember salmon if fresh from a well known fish monger can be and is eaten raw... so you don't want to over cook this meat. It's like pre-paring fresh tuna. You want seer the outside while leaving the middle hot, moist and even a bit more pink then the outside.

Go on now... go find your local trusted fish monger and ask him/her for a wonderful fresh piece of fresh salmon. Come back to me and tell me what you've done with it! I would LOVE to have some suggestions or ideas on what to do with it! I'll get to posting some of my own recipes but for now, I just wanted to share a wonderful piece of meat that is at least a bi-weekly if not weekly meal in this house.

No comments:

Post a Comment