Sunday, July 4, 2010

How I Used The Share

Last night, pre holiday, I made a special dinner using part of the share and some great salmon from Bristol Bay. I thought I'd share the menu, as inspiration, and also say that we'd love to hear what you do with the shares as well.

I took my inspiration from the Chez Panisse Menu cookbook and poached the salmon in a simple stock, which I also cooked the peas in, and used to make a basil butter sauce. It's not pictured but we also had a salad with olive oil and balsamic, using the lettuce from the share, and a little leftover pasta salad with kale and feta on the side.

The salmon is from Bristol Bay in Alaska. I saw a beautiful film called Red Gold about the fishing up there and the threat to that watershed by a proposed mine, an unimaginably large open pit mine. Google Bristol Bay and you'll find lots of references to the mine and the fish. This spring I was on a panel discussing CSA (hosted by Slow Food Portland) where I met Reid Ten Klay from Illiamna Fish Co. who actually fishes in Bristol Bay and offers a Salmon CSA here in Portland. I didn't sign up (although I'm very tempted) but when I saw the Bristol Bay salmon at New Seasons I went for it.

So, here's what I did with the vegetables, and the salmon. I took a carrot and garlic scape that were leftover from a previous share (I don't always get to eating the vegetables right away) and I diced them, added them to a pot with a cup of water and a cup of white wine, tossed in some fennel seeds, black pepper corns, and a teaspoon of sea salt. I simmered that for about 15 minutes and then strained out the liquid. I simmered the shelled peas in that stock for just a few minutes, just enough time to get them dark green, but still leaving them firm. While all of this was cooking, I chopped up the basil and pounded it into a paste in a mortar and pestle and then pounded in about two tablespoons of butter. When the peas were done I again strained out stock, and saved about two tablespoons, putting the rest back into the pot. Into the pot with the stock I added a bit more water so that I had just enough to cover the fish and then poached the fish in the stock for about three minutes. I removed the fish with a slotted spoon and put it on a towel, saving the stock in a jar for soup later. The remaining two tablespoons of stock went back in to the pan with a teaspoon of lemon juice, or so, and I boiled that until it was reduced by half or so, then turned the head down low and added the basil butter, stirring to incorporate it all into a sauce. That's it, the sauce goes on the plate, peas on the sauce, salmon on the peas and it's ready to eat - and yes, it was incredibly good, definitely a treat, and only about a half hour to prepare.

One more note, I used two shares of basil (about six small sprigs), two shares of peas (twenty pods), and just one carrot and garlic scape, and I had about 2/3 of a pound of fish. All of this for two servings.

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