By Beverly Barbour
Salmon, the pretty pink fish
It would be hard to find anyone who doesn't like salmon. We've been raised on the pretty pink fish whether it came straight from the can (now an expensive delicacy), from Dad's fishhook, or out of the freezer.
The problem of course is that our waters are no longer filled with beautiful big fish playing, "catch me if you can." (A bad pun!) We have poisoned the water, blocked off the streams and rivers where they used to come back to the place of their birth to spawn their children, and over-fished their waters.
Fortunately, there are fish farms, and shrimp farms, that are raising fish and shellfish much as ranchers raise cattle. "Wild Salmon" is the connotation used for salmon that are not farm-raised. Either one is okay with me because without the farm raised salmon (and other fish), salmon prices would swim up to a point where most of us could no longer afford to eat it. That would really be sad.
So, no matter whether your salmon is on the wild side or a well-behaved stay at home kid, these recipes are so good that you won't be able to tell the difference. There are many, many ways of enjoying the pretty pink beauties and you will no doubt have additions or deletions to these gastronomic maps leading the way to a happy ending in your kitchen.
Salmon Pepper Steak
This is a variation on the traditional pepper steak using salmon instead of filet mignon. It is quick to prepare and disappears very quickly once it slides onto a dinner plate. Makes 6 servings.
6 salmon steaks, each about 6 ounces and 3/4-inch thick
Preheat the broiler or grill. In a small saucepan melt butter and stir in lemon juice. Brush both sides of the salmon with this lemon-butter mixture. Press the coarse pepper onto both sides. Broil salmon 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with parsley and garnish with a wedge of lemon.
Easy Barbecued Salmon
Couldn't be simpler, try this brown sugar, mustard and thyme glaze on filets to be grilled or broiled. There is enough glaze here for a really big fish. Scale it down accordingly.
1 salmon filet or salmon steaks (3 1/2 to 4 pounds)
Grill the salmon, skin side down on heavy foil over indirect heat, brushing with the glaze every 5 minutes, just until the fish is opaque but still moist looking in center of the thickest part. Cut to test doneness. This takes about 25 to 30 minutes.
Bacon and a little cream give this chowder a touch or two of decadence--but, because there are no thickeners, the soup is surprisingly light. This is a good dish for using salmon trimmings or leftover bits of salmon. When using cooked salmon add it at the last minute. Makes 6 servings.
1/2 pound red potatoes
Cut potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes and either boil or cook in a microwave until just tender. This takes about 8 to 10 minutes if boiling. Cook bacon in a large soup pot over moderate heat, stirring now and then until crisp. With a slotted spoon transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat and then cook scallions, corn, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and red pepper flakes in pan with bacon fat, stirring occasionally, until scallions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add milk and cream and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to moderately low, and then add potatoes, salmon, bacon, salt and pepper. Stir gently now and then, until salmon is just cooked through and begins to break up as you stir. Stir in lemon juice, salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf before serving.
Salmon Hash with Poached Eggs
A delicious way to stretch leftover fish of any kind into the main dish of a second meal. Makes 4 servings.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil and melt butter. When hot, add potatoes and fry until crispy and golden on all sides. Season with salt and pepper. Flake salmon into 3/4-inch pieces. Add to potatoes and cook, stirring until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Add onions, thyme, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until heated through, another couple of minutes. Serve hot with poached eggs.
These recipes should net a few compliments!