When the serving platter is clean and there are repeated exclamations of "that was so good, that was so so good," a cook knows she has accomplished what she set out that evening to do.
After a long day of hard labor, broken power washing machines (though it can be fairly argued that the machine broke itself - what kind of machine breaks itself the first time you use it?!), pulling weeds, and dealing with a spraying cat, we deserved an amazing meal. So what could satisfy us?
Nothing is more 'West Coast'. Or more delicious.
When I was younger, I hated salmon. Halibut was the way to go. Salmon was too fishy, too . . . strange. As I grew older, I began to exult in the strong flavor of a good wild sockeye. There is something even wild in the taste. It seems that most things will complement the fish - but it is important to recognize the word 'complement'. There is no point to cooking salmon if you are going to overpower its unique taste and texture.
I always find that citrus, tangy/spicy, and sweet flavors create good glazes for salmons. This recipe is no different. A little spicy, yet sweet enough to combat the savory that not only comes from the herbs used, but the flesh of the fish itself.
Sauces also go well with salmon - but they also 'complement' and so have a base in dairy. Milk products, such as yoghurt, or sour cream always hold tastes well and add a creaminess that doesnt mask the taste of foods. Unfortunately, being a cook who has high cholesterol and having a master taste-tester who is lactose intolerant doesn't allow for many dishes with dairy bases.
Enter. . . tofu.
Yes, that's right. I cooked one of my best meals with the bean curd that most people detest and label the person who mentioned the Asian staple as either a hippie or a vegan (both scary to the average individual). However, soft tofu has the same attribute as say, sour cream, whipping cream, or any other delicious lactose-filled products - it is almost completely tasteless, making a great vehicle for taste. Add a bit of citrus, garlic, and fresh herbs and you have something transformed from an undesirable mass of gelatinous white to a lovely, creamy, fluffy (after being blended) sauce or dip.
Believe me, its good. If you don't, ask my will-never-ever-in-a-million-years-be-hippieish, and-hell-no-not-ever-vegan taste-tester. He'll set you straight.
Salmon with Lemon Maple-Mustard Glaze
(and dang, its good.)
3 tbs. olive oil
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/3 c. maple syrup (real of course!!!!)
1/3 c. german-style grainy mustard
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 salmon fillet
2 tsp. thyme (dried)
1/2 red onion (sliced)
1. Blend the first four ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spread over the salmon fillet and sprinkle thyme on top. Lay red onions on the top. Marinade for at least 30 minutes. Keep room temperature so the salmon cooks evenly.
2. Preheat oven to 425 F. Cook salmon, skin side down, for 6-8 minutes until it is not red anymore, or until it flakes when a fork is inserted in the middle.Creamy Dill Dressing
1 pkg. soft tofu
1 tbs. fresh dill chopped
4 cloves garlic (minced)
3 tbs. lemon juice
3 tbs. sugar
1. Blend all together.
Serve beside salmon.