Sunday, September 28, 2008

Crispy Arctic Char with pan roasted potatoes and arugula

Arctic char (1/3 lb per serving)
salt and pepper
yukon gold potatoes (about 3 small potatoes per serving)
orange-champagne vinegar
high quality olive oil

Bring a pot of water to boil.
Skin the potatoes and cut them in half.
When the water is boiling, add a lot of salt and then add the potatoes. Cook until nearly done.
When you can insert a knife into the potatoes with minimal resistance, drain the potatoes and let them dry.
Add a generous amount of olive oil to a non-stick pan and add the potatoes. Toss occassionally to avoid burning. The potatoes are done when they are golden brown on all sides.

To prepar the char, cut slits into the skin side of the char, cover both sides with salt and pepper, and dredge in flour. Cook in olive oil over high heat, starting with the skin side down. It should take about 2 minutes on each side to cook.

Top the fish with a quick basil vinaigrette. In a mini food processor, add a couple basil leaves, orange-champagne vinegar, and a pinch of salt. Blend everything together, add olive oil, and blend again until emulsified. The vinegar to oil ratio should be about 1 to 2. You don't need to make that much for this dish. Maybe a tablespoon per serving.

Serve with arugula dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, a pinch of kosher salt, and shaved Parmessan cheese.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Three Crabs

After spending the day walking around the Bloedel Reserve in Bainbridge, we all drove up the peninsula to Sequim, where we had dinnerat the Three Crabs resaurant. This restaurant is a bit of an Olympic Peninsula institution, and it's located right next to the Dungeness Spit...where Dungeness crabs come from. The restaurant is right on the beach, if you can call it a beach, and from the dining room you can see the spit and a light house off in the distance. This is one of the best seafood places in Washington. They serve all sorts of fried, steamed, and stewed seafood. Whatever you get, it's bound to be good. Abby ordered this big bucket of clams, scallops, shrimp, crab, and halibut all steamed together in a bucket of beer.
I went the more unhealthy route and got a plate full of fried seafood.

More home cookin' in the state of Washington

Abby, the Moys, and I were in town for a few days, so the reception dinner wasn't the only think I made. When it was just the Moys and Kinas, and not 100 guests, I was able to make a meal where I could focus on more than one dish. In addition to a simple grilled chicken, which I've made a few times this summer
I made a grilled corn salad with red onion, red bell peppers, mint, and lime
toasted orzo with artichoke hearts and almond slivers
and an appetizer of grilled toasts topped with a white bean and tuna bruscheta (I normally make this with anchovies).
For dessert, we had my mom's blackberry pie. We picked the blackberries for this from our front yard earlier that day.

Back in Washington, so I must be cooking salmon

After our big wedding in Chicago, Abby, her parents, her younger brother Matt, and I all went out to Poulsbo for a more subdued reception at my parents house. I wanted to make the main course and wanted to do some classic Pacific Northwest food, so, of course, I cooked a whole bunch of salmon. 90+ pounds worth, to be exact. One of my favorite things about all of this was that we didn't get the fish at a supermarket. We got it here
from a local fisherman who sold us freshly caught salmon for the bargain price of $3 a pound. In all, I think we got 11 fish. Here I am inspecting the fish in the back of his boat.
Since there was a lot of fish, he just gutted them and left all the fun work of breaking them down to us. That took me a while, but it was fun to do.
Since he didn't just give us fillets, and, instead gave us pretty much the whole fish, I got to keep the best part, the salmon collars, which I roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper. I put the rest of the fish in a marinade of olive oil, brown sugar, parsley, mustard, and lemon juice and then cooked it on cedar planks. To get all of the fish done, we had three large grills going at the same time.