Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Food at Work: Pistachio Crusted Salmon

Today's entry is one that is my chef's signature dish.  I made this dish a few weeks back and it sold very well.  Today was no different. I made over 140 portions and sold out.  It combines salmon, which is always popular with a different way of preparing it.  So many times salmon is just grilled or baked that it can get boring.  So thanks to Chef Victoria Cloud for the recipe.

Executive Chef Victoria Cloud
The first step for me to make this dish was to portion out my salmon.  At work we get in whole salmon fillets.  Usually I start by taking off a small portion from the belly side and one from the tail end just to give the fillet a better shape to portion with.  I personally don't like to take off the skin because I like the skin and I also find it is easier to remove it once the fish is cooked if I must take it off.  I then cut my individual portions trying to get them from 4-5 oz.  Now, for those of you at home, you don't necessarily have to cut off what I do and you can make your portion size however big you want.  Truthfully though, I would not make them much bigger because the bigger the fish, the longer it will take to cook.

The next thing I do is to make my crust.  Essentially what I do is take some pistachios and peanuts and chop them up in a food processor.  Now, you want them to be almost like a corn meal consistency.  If there are a few big chunks of nuts here and there, that is ok.  The one thing you want to be careful of  is to over process.  If you do that you start to have nut butter instead of meal.  Once you have processed your nuts, you mix them with sesame seeds and a little olive oil.  I have also found that if you are short on nuts, you can add some panko or bread crumbs to help stretch it out.

Now, the first time I made this dish I seasoned each portion of salmon individually.  This time around I seasoned the crust mixture itself.  In order to crust the fish it could not be easier.  All you have to do is place it in a dish with sides and press the fish into it placing each finished portion on a sheet pan sprayed with cooking spray.  The fish's natural moisture will help the crust to stick and cooking it in the oven will finish the job.

Once you have crusted all your fish all you have to do is stick them into a 350F degree oven for about 10-15 minute or until the fish is firm but flaky. (145F degree internal temp)  The fish will be nice and cooked and your crust will be nice and toasted.  

The salmon was laid upon a bed of capellini pasta. The capellini (angel hair) pasta I cooked according to my guidelines with a few notes.  Because capellini is such a thin and delicate noodle it is very easy to over cook to such a degree that it can actually be perfectly cooked in your pot of water and over cook by the time you take it out of the water and cool it down.  The key to cooking capellini is to under cook it slightly.   Take it out of the water when it is still just a bit too hard.  Even if you plan on serving it immediately, it can still over cook with the residual heat from the water.

The salmon was served with Sauteed Harvest Beans with Mushrooms.  Harvest beans are a fancy way of saying green beans.  To make my beans all I did was saute some garlic in oil to get it nice and aromatic.  I then added my mushrooms and let them cook until mostly soft.  I seasoned the mix with salt and pepper.  At this point I added my green beans and let them cook.  In this case I used frozen green beans.  Fresh is best but frozen is also good, especially if they are flash frozen.  I then seasoned everything with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.

The salmon was covered with a very tasty roasted garlic butter sauce.  I started off by cooking some minced garlic in oil.  In order to make two gallons of sauce I used about a cup and a half of garlic and maybe a cup of oil.  I let the garlic cook until it started to get brown.  You have to take care because garlic can go from brown to burnt in the blink of an eye.  Once the garlic was brown I added about a cup of flour and let the cook stirring constantly to make a roux.  I let it cook for about a minute or two and which point I added two quarts of cream stirring the while added the cream so as not to get lumps.  I also added a gallon and a quarter of water.  I let the mixture heat up to a soft boil, stirring occasionally.  While the cream and water was heating up I cut into pieces three pounds of cold butter.  Once the liquid was hot, I slowly incorporated the butter adding a couple of pieces at a time and stirring until they mostly melted before adding more.  After all the butter was added I added salt and white pepper.  The result was a creamy, velvety sauce for my salmon.

No comments:

Post a Comment