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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Adventures in Salmon...

So, for most of my life, I have avoided eating fish because I either didn't like the smell or, when I tried it, I couldn't STAND the texture.

Then I moved to Austin.

I live with an outstanding woman and friend, Manda, who one day twisted my arm (and you would be amazed at just how hard she had to twist... I swear, I think there were tears) and made me go with her to have sushi.




Sushi is wonderful! Never in my life have I been so shocked! (until much more recently anyway) Not only is this fish tasty... It doesn't make me want to run to the bathroom to heave the moment I feel it on my mouth!

Well, needless to say, I was hooked and thus began my obsession with learning to handle fish.

Now, it has come to my attention that when most people become obsessed and want to learn something, they study it... You know... Google... Cookbooks... Maybe talk to a friend or two and see what they can learn...

Apparently I use osmosis and force of will.

I spoke to Manda about cooking fish and watched her do it once then I just gave up on the idea of research and started experimenting.

My first couple of experiments were not so great. I mean, they were edible and all but that is about all I can say for them.

I even tried making Sushi once and it wasn't a total failure. (At least according to other sources... I was painfully disappointed but that, I am told, is because I put unreasonable expectations on myself)

More Sushi experiments will be forthcoming but it will have to wait for me to have a moderately less restrictive budget.

But I digress...

More experimenting happened and then things took a turn.

Flash forward through a few months of monotony and minutia.

I have become fairly adept at cooking fish these days. My efforts routinely come out flaky and flavorful.

I have even gone so far as to allow myself to cook fish for guests and had it go over well... Even when one of my guests pointedly said she didn't like fish! (I laughed at her and told her I had been the same way then made her try it... She eats fish all the time now. ::swells with pride::)


So what happened tonight was another new experiment.

-I started out with potatoes.
Four small potatoes thinly sliced and layered in a casserole dish.

-In the middle of the potatoes was a seasoning layer.
Some pats of butter, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, a dash of paprika (which has more uses than I ever realized... may have to blog about that someday) and thinly sliced radishes. (If you have never cooked radishes, I am here to tell you that they cook up amazingly and in unexpected ways. Try it!)

-On TOP of the potatoes I placed the vegetables.
A good little bit of broccoli and a mixed vegetable medley I found in my freezer. (Random veggie mixes ROCK btw.)

-I poured a little bit of water and goat milk down through everything to make sure it all cooked thoroughly and to get my texture and moisture content to around where I wanted it.

-Top with cheese... Frankly, there are very few things that I don't believe cheese belongs on and this was no exception. Specifically I used some freshly shredded sharp cheddar and a smattering of fresh Parmesan.

-I cooked all this in a covered casserole dish at around 375-400 degrees until everything was bubbly and the cheese had melted down through. No idea how long it actually took. Timers are for people with no sense of adventure.

-Then I made my magic happen...

-I took my fresh, raw salmon that I had already seasoned up, (Combination of a bunch of things from my cupboard... Couldnt tell you specifically what was included other than I am dead certain that I used some Tony's) and placed in on TOP of what I already had cooking. I garnished with some onion and some slivers of green onion and put it back into the oven to finish cooking.

When it was done, I carefully separated it out onto plates and made it look all pretty and such. (What can I say, I am a little bit of a stickler for presentation when I cook.)

Served at the table almost immediately with salt and pepper on the side and it was pretty damned delicious!

This meal was a HUGE win for me in a number of ways... First off, I have never been adept at "one pot meals". Secondly, I had been a little bit apprehensive about serving fish with potatoes. (Couldn't give you a good reason why... Just the way it is.) And thirdly, I usually make my salmon in a pan on the stove!... This baking fish business is a foray into relatively unexplored waters for me. (Sorry about the pun... been doing that all day)


Well, having said all that, I feel like I have achieved yet another goal by posting a new blog. Yay for having good life progress happening and getting my writing back in gear.

I don't have an applicable quote to end this one with. I will try to do better next time.


  1. Ooh, a challenge!

    Fish quotes, coming up:

    “Agassiz does recommend authors to eat fish, because the phosphorus in it makes brains. But I cannot help you to a decision about the amount you need to eat. Perhaps a couple of whales would be enough.” ~~Mark Twain


    "Soup and fish explain half the emotions of human life." ~~Sydney Smith

    and what the hell, one more for good measure, just because I like it:

    “Fish should smell like the ocean. If they smell like fish, it's too late.” ~~Unknown

    ~~Tracy the Great

  2. I love fish, but haven't really tried sushi outside of a nasty ass California roll that I couldn't even finish the one bite taken. (stuff was ewwwwww! and spit out immediately).

    Have been a bit hesitant to try sushi since. (plus, not super fond of the flavor of seaweed...