Monday, May 5, 2008

Citrus-Marinated Salmon with a Confit of Navel Oranges, Beluga Caviar and Pea Shoot Coulis

I'm not even gonna try to be coy or playful, or make you guess what I thought of this dish or make you wait until the end to find out, because I can't hold it in that long.

This dish freakin' rocks.

I almost don't even want to write about it because I'm not sure there are words that can accurately convey how good this was. Let me start with these caveats, too: I really, really don't like salmon (I know, I'm strange), and I mostly detest citrus. The only citrus I like is limes, because you need fresh-squeezed lime juice in a Sidecar. I can't eat grapefruit because it tastes like hot tar smells. Lemons make me gag, and oranges make me sneeze and the pulp feels squeaky on my teeth.

I was dreading this dish for a long time, but figured I'd get it overwith and not worry about eating it because I'd let my friends enjoy every last bite. I'm glad I got over myself (hey, there's a first time for everything) and took a bite because this dish is a keeper.

I'm going to shut up now, so you can see how the dish came to be.

The first thing I did was make the citrus marinade for the salmon.


I zested one orange, half a lemon, half a lime, and a third of a grapefruit:

I mixed it in bowl with some salt, white pepper, and sugar:

Done. Wasn't that easy?

Next, I removed the salmon (skin already removed) from its wrapping and made sure all the pin bones were removed and it was ready to be marinated:

I spread part of the marinade on a sheet of aluminum foil, placed the salmon on top, sprinkled the rest of the marinade on top of the salmon, wrapped it up, and put it between two baking sheets and put it in the fridge for about three hours:

While the fish was marinating, I made the orange confit. This involved sectioning four navel oranges, removing all the membranes and pith so that it was just the orange sections, then confit-ing them in a mixture of simple syrup and white wine vinegar:


Next up? The pea shoot coulis. Wanna see my pea shoots? Do ya?

And, here's an extreme close-up ("Extreme close-up!! Whhooooaaa, wwwhhhhooooooaaaaaaaa"):

They're almost too pretty too cook, aren't they? Too bad. I blanched them, cooled them off in an ice bath, strained them, puréed them, pressed the purée through a tamis, then added some butter and salt to the coulis... keeping it warm on the stovetop while I cooked the fish:

Just before I started the pea shoot coulis, I took the salmon out of the refrigerator, rinsed off the citrus marinade patted the fish dry, cut it into six servings, and let those six servings sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
I know it looks like the pieces in the back still have their skins on -- they don't. It's just a weird shadow.

I warmed the orange sections in their syrup. Next, I brought a pot of olive oil up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, added the salmon pieces to it, and poached them in the oil -- in all, it took probably 15 minutes (5 minutes for the oil to heat and 10 minutes of poaching). The fish was flaky, but still orange-ish/pink. I took the salmon out of the oil and let them drain for a minute on a paper towel-covered plate.

Then, I plated the dish. Salmon in the center with chives and osetra caviar on top (I went for the good stuff this time), surrounded by orange sections, and some pea shoot coulis on the side:

You may recall reading about one of my regular tasters, Grant, of the famed Grant Tipton Day. He looooooooves salmon. He's actually quite the connoisseur, even though he's only eleven years old. He likes his salmon smoked, grilled, broiled, poached, in gravlax form... the kid loves salmon. So, I knew he'd be my toughest critic. He was a little squicked out by the fact that it was poached in olive oil, and thought it would come out all oogie and drippy. But, he took one bite, chewed it thoughtfully, then proceeded to stab at the rest of the fish, mixing all the flavors and devouring that dish like I've never seen before. When I asked him what he thought of how the salmon went together with the taste of peas and oranges, his response was, "Blllhhhhssrrsssh," to which I replied, "Um, what?"

He chewed some more, swallowed, and repeated his answer: "Bliss."

And you know what?

He's right.

The pea shoot coulis, even though it looked like the Jolly Green Giant had a case of the squirts, was really and truly outstanding. That's the element that tied everything together, for me. The oranges were gorgeous, the salmon was perfect, the caviar was divine, the chives were just crunchy enough.... I haven't been able to stop talking about this dish since I made it. It's really hard to describe how good it is -- because it's that good. If you have The French Laundry Cookbook, step away from the computer, go buy the ingredients and make this dish immediately. That's an order. Because when you make it, you will end up with a table full of these:

This dish gets added to the permanent repertoire. It's the only way I'll eat salmon from now on, I'm pretty sure. This, or some form of it, will be a "go to" dish for me for dinner parties or just whenever the mood strikes. In fact, next Sunday can't get here fast enough for me to get more pea shoots and make this again. Who wants to come for dinner?

Up Next: Île Flottante

Resources:
Salmon and caviar from BlackSalt
Pea shoots from Calvert's Gift Farm
All other produce from the Safeway on MacArthur Blvd. in DC

Music to Cook By: Madonna; Hard Candy. I'm kind of obsessed with "4 Minutes" and the fact that Madonna is 50 and still churning out decent music. Who cares if she has a fake British accent? She's MADONNA fer cryin' out loud. She can do whatever she wants.

Read my previous post: "Peas and Carrots" -- Maine Lobster Pancakes with Pea Shoot Salad and Ginger-Carrot Emulsion

44 comments:

L A said...

OMG I honestly feel like you are a total genius and apply your wisdom! (Ok so i borrowed Dr John F Demartini's line..) That dish looks exquisite, and definitely do-able - which is what cooking is all about, right?

I absolutely LOVE your blog. It is my favourite Favourite FAVOURITE food blog!!

JoP in Omaha said...

Looks beautiful and yummy. I'll give it a try sometime.

Hey, Carol, when you finish this project, I'd love to see a summary of the dishes that earned a place in your "permanent repertoire."

And, a follow-up about roasted chicken. After your successful effort, I commented that I've not yet had success roasting a chicken. Last week I got a new countertop oven (because I hate heating up my main oven to bake a single chicken breast, for exmple), and the new oven has a rotisserie. So I did a chicken yesterday, and it was yummy. I'll try conventionally roasting a chicken one day soon....I bet the countertop oven will do a better job than my main oven does.

ntsc The Art of The Pig said...

A Memorial Service for an old friend was held May 3 and my wife and I were asked to bring food. My wife did two sides of salmon in a citrus marinade and 2 sides in a dill cure. That is 7.5 lbs of salmon.

It vanished.

My two terrines, at about 8 lbs each, lasted a bit longer, but not much.

I do enjoy your blog and may well pick up this book. We do have the other one.

Reebs said...

That coulis looks awesome, just like green tempra paint from kindergarten. (I have a 4 year old - sue me.) Honestly, I have to say this dish didn't really appeal to me in description, but I'll take your suggestion and try it - right after the lobster pancakes. (And "4 Minutes" is way better than I expected too. Go Madonna.)

Krysta said...

I am assuming I will sooooo like this more than beet ice cream. Thanks for the encouraging words. I didn't like the beet ice cream but my son loved it. He thought it was sweet and tasted a little like strawberries.

Kitt said...

"Who wants to come to dinner?" You're going to have to rent a hall.

Count me among the salmon dislikers, but I'd gladly try this.

And "even though it looked like the Jolly Green Giant had a case of the squirts" made my nose hurt. Teach me to read your posts when I have a mouthful of coffee.

oh so hungry said...

Wow, wow, wow!!
I'll stand in line outside the hall you will need to book for as long as it takes!
Do you think it would destroy the freakin' fabulousness of the dish if the caviar was eliminated? Just from a $$$ perspective.

Robert said...

Another great entry, another great looking dish. Off to the fishmonger after work!

spoonie said...

Damn, reebs beat me to it--I was thinking paint, too.

I'm not a fan of oranges, but this again, looks amazing. Do we want to come over for dinner? I can't believe you asked us that. Of course we do! When I can make a reservation at Casa Carol?

lilly said...

omg.. blllhhhhssrshh is correct!

fiat lux said...

I would not have considered pairing salmon with citrus, Carol, but I am going to have to give it a try now!

Sam said...

That coulis is kinda freaky. How could anything possibly be so green? 4 Minutes is a decent song, but the video is kind of blerg.

Michelle said...

Hmmmmm...I have some pea plants that need to be thinned soon...

Anonymous said...

This dish sounded terrific. Also you taste in music totally pwnz. That album is off the chain.

Carol Blymire said...

OhSoHungry: Yes, you could make this without the caviar, and it would still taste great. Just don't skimp and buy the cheap stuff instead. It will actually take away from the dish. I decided to spring for it because I had a gift certificate, and it did make a difference. I totally understand the cost thing, though. If you want to treat yourself (and have some leftover caviar to top your scrambled eggs the next morning), it's more than worth it.

The Urban Eater said...

Olive oil poached fish is sooooo good. Any fish. Sea Bass and Grouper work very well too.
It's funny that you say you don't like salmon or citrus, and yet, this dish is entirely composed of salmon and citrus? The oil poaching only magnifies the flavors of the fish. And the zest rub concentrates the citrus?
TK has struck again (in ahighly respective, godlike manner). I swear that man could make mouse balls popular cuisine.

spsallie said...

Carol,I am impressed.I hate salmon too.You are giving me courage to use my FL cookbook.Now I just read and wish.
Do you have a suggestion for a substitute for pea shoots?I don't think I can get them here.
Thank you again for a wonderful blog.

J.T. said...

Wow.

In an equipment related note, it's actually really interesting to see a tamis in use... because we needed one for a recipe we just did and had a hell of a time finding one. (But the potatoes we put through them made the search worthwhile.)

SOUP OF THE DAY said...

I love the empty plate at the end...

MrsVJW said...

Yum, yum, and yum. This might be the next one I have to try (although I don't even know where I could get a hold of pea shoots).

Jennifer said...

I love salmon, citrus, and pea shoots so this looks so good!

Too bad for me that I am reading this right before I make my salmon dinner. Unfortunately I'm not eating this salmon dish tonight. I am most definitely making this for my next salmon dinner. I don't care how much the freakin' caviar costs. I know TK's choice of the best won't disappoint me. I'm going to bed tonight with thoughts of osetra caviar dancing in my head.

Carol I have to agree with you that eggs and caviar are so good together. I usually add truffle oil if I have it and wash it all down with a nice glass of champagne. I guess this breakfast only works on weekends though. . .unless you want to go to work sauced.

JordanBaker said...

That looks amazing--I kind of want to make it when I visit my parents next month, since their house is surrounded by citrus trees.

Beth said...

Only Wayne's World could pull me out of lurker status (Extreme Close Up!). Thanks for that one!

As far as this dish goes, I really want to try it. I dont have the cash to pull off a lot of the other dishes because of all the equipment I would need to buy, but this seems very feasible and I know it would make my mother swoon!

And I agree with a previous poster! I would love a list of the dishes you loved most, the easiest to make, etc. I think that would be really helpful. :-)

Anyway, thanks for sharing this experience with us!

RT said...

On the Keller list of accomplishments he will now be able to cite a long list of foods that he found ways to prepare to overcome longstanding dislikes. Congrats again to you. And as for that dinner invitation, send me the details. Actually, if you want you could just send directions, wrap up a dish, leave it by the front door and I'll come pick it up. No need to even dirty a plate.

bento box said...

Hmmm, I have no idea where I'd buy pea shoots but this recipe has me thinking of even planting them in my garden.

Don't know if I can't wait that long...

Annie's New York Eats said...

Carol, how does the caviar taste after it's been placed on the warm salmon? Doesn't it get "cooked"? Or is the salmon at room temperature by this time?

Also, can you think of any other source for pea shoots, other than serendipitous finding at the Farmer's Market? Ours don't open until the end of May and I'm afraid that might be too late.

Anonymous said...

I'll have to figure out how to establish an identity for posting when I have a minute, but for now, just gonna anonymously say that your blog rocks hard! When you get excited about a dish, I feel the vicarious rush right alongside! Too bad wild king salmon's gone AWOL this season - this seems like a perfect showcase for it.

Oh, on a nitpicky note, though, sidecars are traditionally made with lemon juice, not lime. I guess you've gotten hooked on some lime-ish variant of one of my favorite drinks.

Carol Blymire said...

Beth: ten points for you for getting the Wayne's World reference. :)

Annie: The salmon is poached in oil that is only 110 degrees, so it's not all that hot. It's warm. And, the caviar stays cold, because I plate it and out to the table it goes. As for pea shoots, try an Asian grocery store. I've seen them there before. Sometimes, you can get pea shoots in the fall, too. Not sure where in America that happens, but I know in some places it does. Check your local listings!

Anonymous: Nitpick all you want, but I hate lemon and anything remotely lemon-tasting or -smelling, so I make my sidecars with lime juice. And, I remember reading somewhere that Dorothy Parker preferred lime juice in her sidecar, so I think I'm in pretty good company, don'tchathink?

Lina said...

Great photos! I love your blog~ it makes me hungry....

Pilar said...

Why yes, yes I'd like to come for dinner. I can't imagine actually liking salmon but if anyone can do it it's TK.

Great entry!

sylviaG said...

wow! I just found your blog and am LOVING it!!!

Morgan said...

Carol,

I've been following the blog for quite some time now. This recipe was actually one of the first things that I cooked for my wife when we had just started dating. Love it and love this blog.

Now, I'll be that douchebag that keeps you honest by pointing out that traditionally a Sidecar was made with lemon juice, not lime. Not to say there can't be variations...I'm juuuuust sayin...

Anyway. Love the blog.

Morgan said...

Ok...OK...I just made it through all your comments and I see that someone was a douchebag before I was...

You're extremely entitled to partake of your Sidecar and it's variations in any manner that tickles your fancy.

My sincerist of apologies. :)

Carol Blymire said...

Oh Morgan, it's okay. As long as you don't "tusk" chickens, you're okay by me.

amber said...

hmmmm...

i love salmon.

i love citrus.

i'm guessing i'm going to love this dish when i make it ;)

LlamaSpank said...

That's it; I have to get the book. I don't know why this was the post to do it (I've read every single post), but it was. Plus I have a coupon.

One question - how long are the pea shoots you use, and do you have any idea what variety of pea they came from? I grow peas every year and was just wondering. I need to thin mine, but right now I only have sugar snaps at the shoot stage.

"Jolly Green Giant had a case of the squirts" is exactly what I thought!

Anonymous said...

I have been a lurker on your blog off and on for sometime. I envy your braveness in your attempt to cook each single dish that the cooking god Chef TK, has ever created for TFL. More power to you.

Signed,
The Lurker

Hana Mi said...

How odd, the 1st post I read here being a new visitor and its salmon and grapfruit, weird I made a salad using the same combination today! (Nothing anywhere near as sophisticated as this), but it will be on my blog sometime this weekend!

We have copy of the book right here on my counter,(a lovely gift). Seeing your blog has made me think ahhhh may we can try something in there after all!

welovenosh.blogspot.com/

Rich said...

I know the book says to use aluminum foil (and really, who am I to question TK?) but...

I would think that it would be better to use something nonreactive, like plastic wrap, given that the cure contains salt and acid. You know, just to make sure you don't end up with aluminum infused salmon, which is not so tasty - I mean, not that I've ever had that or anything...

gainkno said...

THIS BLOG ROCKS !!! I've had the book for a few years now... 6? cook from it every few months and this dish never attracted me. Needless to say it is mothers day my wife loves fish and whole foods had pea shoots, soooo the oil is at 110 and the fish is in. Hope we like it as much as y'all did

gainkno said...

OK 10 mins for da cookin and 10 for da eatin... WOW this is one easy and good meal! I can not say enough how good this was. did save a small piece for my 3 yo. I'm thinking she will approve !!!! Thanks for making me cook this!!

Brad McDonald said...

Carol,

Did you get you pea shoot directly from the Calverts gift farm or at one of the Farmers Markets?

Do I need to be a member to get them directly from the farm.

Love the blog and looking forward to making this dish on saturday.

Did you pair this with any wine? Didnt see one in your notes.

Thanks,
Brad

Carol Blymire said...

Brad: Calvert's Gift Farm is at the Takoma Farmer's Market. They still had pea shoots last Sunday, so check and see if they're at any of the Friday or Saturday markets in town. You could call the farm, I suppose and ask about the best way to get them. I didn't pair this with a wine, but let me know what you end us serving with it.

Barbara and Chris said...

Hey Carol! Made this dish last night. The guests inhaled it off the plate! I could not find pea shoots like in your picture, so I used pea shoot sprouts (the leaves are very tiny). Came out a bit watery so I reduced it before finishing with butter. It was OK, but next time, if I have to substitute, I think I'd rather use spring peas. I think the sprouts were probably a little weak in flavor. The whole dish is beautiful on the plate too! FLCB rocks! Thanks for all the inspiration. Can't tell you how much your post helped me through the recipe. Happy Memorial Day weekend! Barbara