Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Fish Tale

It's that magical time of year when the King Salmon are running and the prices are starting drop from the early season highs. While never inexpensive, salmon is at its most affordable price of the year and so I bought a whole one.
Just over 10 Pounds of Salmon
I like working with whole fish. Although I'm not quite as proficient at it as the guys at the seafood distributor who do it every day, I think I turn out a better quality product because I am not in as much of a hurry as are they. At the restaurant where I have the room, the knives, and the refrigeration to handle whole fish, I took the filets off this salmon, the belly flaps off the filets, and the head off the backbone.

Chef Snacks
The best moment of breaking down any salmon for me is the moment when I brush the backbone with oil, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and put it on the grill just to color. Then I whack the backbone into chunks and we pass them around the kitchen with a bowl of white soy sauce and green onions, while the head and collar is in the oven roasting for a later snack. And often, I make chips out of the skin. The goal is to waste nothing of this delicious fish.

Barely Seared Salmon Belly with Pesto
While I am breaking down the salmon, I skin out both sides of the belly flaps, leaving a few delicious morsels for sushi, sashimi, tartare, or crudo. This time, I cut the flaps into small pieces and barely seared them, then served them out on the patio with a touch of pesto as an appetizer. Ann contented herself with these small bites and a glass of Côtes de Gascogne Blanc while I finished up the main course.

King Salmon on Pesto Squash Noodles, Tomatoes, and Olives
I turned a couple of summer squash (yellow and green Zephyr squash) into noodles on my vegetable turner and then blanched them for maybe 90 seconds. Into a bowl they went for a toss with a little pesto, fresh tomato, and pitted green olives. Meanwhile, I seared the salmon hard on one side and finished it in a hot oven for another 2 minutes, so that it was still pink in the middle, just the way I like it.

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