Citrus-Cured Salmon, Parsley-Chive Coulis

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Seafood gently poached in fat is a great way to cook. Lobster poached in butter and tuna in olive oil are both such examples. The fat slowly cooks the meat and is kept at a relatively low temperature, about 44 C to 52 C (110 to 125 F) depending how you like it cooked, leaving the seafood juicy and reducing the risk of overcooking. On top of that the fish usually looks great and has a good flavor from the fat without coming out oily or greasy. What’s not to love!

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In this recipe, adapted from The French Laundry Cookbook I started with a nice piece of fresh salmon and removed the skin. I employed my 14 year old to grate the zest of lemon, orange, lime and grapefruit. The zests get mixed with salt, sugar and pepper and sprinkled all over the fish. This is basically the first step to making gravlax or smoked salmon. In this case though the fish only marinates for about an hour while we prepare the rest of the dinner.

Citrus Cure

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Making citrus confit is pretty simple. It’s not cooked in fat like what a duck confit would be. In this case it is referring to cooking the orange segments in a sugary syrup. In the good old days fruits would be cooked in a whole lot of sugar to confit them and preserve them. Here, the syrup is relatively on the light side made with sugar, water and white wine vinegar. While the syrup cooks to a simmer I supremed a couple of oranges. This means cutting a citrus fruit into segments with none of the white pith. This has some good instructions on how to do that and of course you can find a bunch of YouTube videos about the process. I poured the hot syrup over the orange segments and let them marinate and infuse.

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Chef Keller uses a pea shoot puree to go with this dish (and a scoop of caviar, but I guess…I was fresh out of that this week). This was a regular weekday dinner for the family and I did not go shopping for pea shoots. I did like the idea of a green sauce with the citrus salmon though. So, I blanched a bunch of parsley and chives in salted boiling water and cooled them quickly in ice water. I blended until smooth with a bit of water . I really should’ve passed the green coulis through a sieve at this point like the recipe recommends but I skipped that and my end result was less smooth than it should be. Right before serving I warmed the sauce in a small pot, whisked in a few knobs of butter and seasoned it.

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I rinsed the fish fillet before cooking it and cut off the thin edges and tail end. These pieces became a nice little treat in the form of salmon tartar. I cut them up and mixed them with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, chives and pepper. I snacked on the tartar on top of toasted sourdough with a spoon of creme fraiche.

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To cook the fish, I cut it into even portions and bagged it with a good dose of olive oil. I dropped it in water set to 51C for 20 minutes. That was it. To plate I arranged a few orange confit segments and topped with a piece of salmon then drizzle (or smeared) green parsley coulis around it. It’s a wonderful way to cook salmon and a good basic preparation to keep in mind. Below is the recipe for salmon.

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Citrus Marinated Salmon Poached in Olive Oil

Adapted from Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry Cookbook

  • Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
  • Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • Zest of 1 lime, finely grated
  • Zest of 1/4 grapefruit, finely grated
  • 75 gr kosher salt, about 1/4 cup Morton’s Kosher salt
  • 20 gr Sugar, about 1 Tbsp
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • A large Salmon fillet, about 1.5 – 2 lbs
  • 1/3 Cup olive oil, or enough to cover fillet if not using sous vide equipment

Mix the citrus zests, salt, sugar and pepper together. Sprinkle all over the salmon and cover with plastic wrap. Let the fish marinate in the fridge for at least one hour but no more than 3.

When ready to cook, heat a water container to anywhere from 45 to 52 C using an immersion circulator (I use the Anova precision cooker) depending how you like the fish. The higher end will give a fish that is obviously cooked but very juice and tender. On the lower spectrum the fish is semi-cooked and closer to raw. Both are great but different. Divide the fish into portions and seal in freezer Ziploc bags with the olive oil. I used two bags for this amount of fish with 2 or 3 portions in each. Drop the bags in the water and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the fish, pat dry gently and serve.

Cooking in olive oil option: This will need a good bit more oil but if you do not want to use sous vide this is the traditional option. Warm olive oil in a pot to the desired temperature (again, no more than 52 C or so). You need enough oil to cover the fish. Gently slide the fish in the oil and cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove the fish, pat dry gently and serve.


Kong: Skull Island (Jordan Vogt-Roberts – 2016) B

Monster movie with a fun cast, crazy fight scenes, insane huge “monsters”, good sound track, some good cheesy dialogue AND it looks great? check check and check. This was a fun movie that knows exactly what it is and does not take itself seriously at all. It works splendidly.

Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi – 2016) B

I’ve said it before, watching a story about individuals being the best they can be at something and accomplishing great tasks is always awesome. If those individuals are a trio of black ladies working for NASA in the early 60s with all the challenges they had to deal with on top of trying to get a man in space (and back down) all the better. The acting is good and movie is very interesting. Good to see stories about those who made space travel possible, especially those not in the spotlight.

Mother (Joon-ho Bong – 2009) B+

When Yoon Do-Joon, a mentally challenged teenager, is arrested for the horrible murder of a girl his mother does not believe it. She will stop at nothing to prove that her baby boy did not do this and that the cops and the community are framing him and taking advantage of his disability. The cops are well-meaning but are ready to close the case since he “confessed”. The lawyer is a slime ball who advises her to take the plea deal. We follow Mother as she starts her own investigation complete with evidence collection, interviewing witnesses, deputizing one of her son’s friends and not giving a crap about anything other than getting her kid out of jail. The performance of Kim in the role of Mother (the film does not even give her a name…she is just mother) is fantastic. She goes all over the place. She can be tender, devious, loving, doting and even violent. This is ultimately about two people who are so dependent on each other that they cannot tolerate the idea of separating. When a crime, society and the law threatens this order they will fight back.

Thor: Ragnarok (Taika Waititi – 2017) A-

Damn that was good. Taika Waititi has not made a bad movie yet and this one is no different. This was a fun, funny and awesome romp in the Marvel universe that is a great mashup in tone of Guardians of The Galaxy, 80’s sci-fi fantasy flicks and Waititi’s brand of humor. Everyone here is having a blast it seems and the movie is better for it. It moves at a good clip and the action looks great and makes sense. At over 2 hours this could have been one hell of a slog but I barely felt it. It works as a comedy disguised as a super hero movie really.

While We’re Young (Noah Baumbach – 2014) A

From the opening shot when I met Cornelia and Josh and their old friends who just became new parents I was hooked on this little movie. It’s a wonderful drama about growing old, friendship and appreciating your stage in life whatever that maybe. These characters feel real and though we might not know people exactly like them, we just feel like we know them and their flaws. It’s not a film with a lot of answers. Instead, it raises a lot of interesting questions after the artsy duo of Cornelia and Josh meet the younger far artsier and maybe cooler Jamie and Darby. They have it figured out…they are free and live in the moment and say fuck you to each other, but in a playful lovable way. She makes vegan ice cream and he makes documentaries. They are the ultimate hipsters who the older couple feels they missed out on being. Is there ever a good time to have a baby? Am I too old to wear a hipstery hat (probably)? Are these young 20-somethings so much cooler than I am? Or are they just as clueless but in a different way? The best stories are those that deal with all the grey areas in life. There rarely is any black and white.

71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (Michael Haneke – 1994) B

It lacks the focus of Code Unknown even though it shares some of its aspects. It’s intentionally too fragmented I suppose and as such looses a lot of impact. Like the name suggests we get 71 short scenes of various individuals in Austria who are all impacted in one way or another by a senseless shooting at a bank. We get commentary about current world affairs, class struggles, family relationships and immigration. Haneke seems to have figured out how to do a significantly better and more effective film using similar topics a few years later with Code Unknown.