29 February 2008

Matching flavors

I've been looking for a dictionary of flavors. I'm sure something like this exists, I'm just not sure where. Lately, I don't follow recipes at all, I just scan my cookbooks for new ingredient combinations and apply them to whatever I feel like making. For instance, I wanted to make up a new salmon dish the other night. I knew that fennel and orange went well together from a salad I make, and they are both at their peak season here right now. Red onion fits well with salmon and could balance out the sweetness of the other two flavors. ViolĂ , my new favorite salmon recipe. It's so delicious I'm sure someone has thought of this before me. I love putting the pieces together like a puzzle. There are so many combinations out there, waiting to be discovered, transformed, adapted....

Orange marinated salmon over grilled fennel

Salmon fillet (the thicker the better)
Fresh Fennel (the herb)
A handful of capers
Red Onion, thinly sliced in rings
White Wine
Olive Oil
Oranges (I used delicious red oranges from Sicily)
Fennel bulbs (1 per person)

Lay the salmon out flat in a large tupperware and marinade with the juice from one orange, one lemon, a cup of white wine, olive oil, onion, capers, salt and pepper, and some sprigs of fresh fennel (not chopped). Cover and refrigerate for 30 min to an hour, or less if you're pressed for time. In the meantime, wash fennel bulbs and remove outermost, toughest layer. Cut them in to quarters vertically, brush with oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Toss these babies on the grill and cook until soft when poked with fork (I used a grill pan, but if you don't have one you could just brown them in a regular pan).
Next, prepare the fish. I like to sear it in a large, non stick skillet, but if you have an actual grill fired up, that would be a delicious alternative. To sear it, really heat up your biggest pan over a medium-high flame with no oil. Pick up the salmon fillet, shaking off the marinate, and toss it (pink side down) in the hot pan. Let it sear and brown for a few minutes (check the color so it doesn't burn), then pour in the marinade and cover pan. After another minute or so flip the fish, add more wine if it's getting dry, and cover again. Cook until the fish is done, but not over-done, it should be pink and moist inside still. Serve over the grilled fennel bulbs and garnish with a slice of orange.


Brent Evans said...

I notice this was posted at 4:32 AM, and I see that you are still keeping up with your usual schedule. Nothing like the dark morning hours to let the creativity flow.

Keep tossin' those babies on the grill!


Caroline said...

I'm responding two months later, but whatever.

Dedo, did you ask a librarian for a dictionary of flavors? Well, since I JUST GRADUATED last weekend, you can call me one officially.


Caroline said...

the links didn't post properly. So here are some citations:

The Dictionary of Flavors
by Dolf A. De Rovira

The Contemporary Encyclopedia of Herbs and Spices: Seasonings for the Global Kitchen
by Tony Hill

The Food Encyclopedia: Over 8,000 Ingredients, Tools, Techniques and People
by Jacques Rolland and Carol Sherman