shot in the arm

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress

Categories: Fish and Seafood, Veggies and Sides, Sauces and Such, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Well Equipped, Posted on April 11, 2021 by Sandy Bergsten

Getting that second vaccine dose was like a heavy door unlocking. It was almost surreal allowing myself to think of possibilities and the thought of making plans. I was so excited to invite our first guests over for dinner. And erring on the side of caution, and because we are in southern California, I knew we could dine outside. What I didn’t anticipate was that the high that day was going to be 101 degrees. But because we live in the desert and temps fall briskly after the sun goes down, I thought we would be ok. Just to play it safe I decided on a completely chilled menu for this first, of what I hoped would be many, get togethers.

Poached salmon is always a winner. I knew I could do it old school in the oven, but the thought of turning it on in this heat made me perspire. I wondered if there was a way I could accomplish this task with my sous vide. Tinkering with my Anova has been an ongoing pandemic project. This technique, utilizing a vacuum sealed bag and a controlled water bath, allows you to cook food to an exact temperature throughout. I’ve had awesome results with beef and poultry, but I hadn’t hit my sweet spot with seafood yet. 

Turns out J Kenji Lopez-Alt, of the Food Lab and Serious Eats, had the answer. 

The key to sous vide salmon is dry brining the salmon with plenty of kosher salt before placing it in the bag with some subtle aromatics and a bit of olive oil.

Season the salmon generously on all sides with salt and a few grinds of pepper. 

Place the salmon fillets in a single layer inside one or more sous vide or Ziplock bags. Add two teaspoons olive oil per fillet. Turn the salmon in the bag to coat well with the oil. Add some gentle aromatics such as sprigs of parsley, dill, thinly sliced shallots, and grated lemon zest. Remove the air, seal the bag and let the salmon rest in the refrigerator for thirty minutes for the salt to dry-brine the flesh.

Fill a large pot with water and set the temperature on your sous vide cooker to 117.5 degrees. Add the salmon to the preheated water bath and cook for 30 to 45 minutes for one-inch filets, or 45 minutes to an hour for filets up to two inches thick.

For “cold poached” salmon. Plunge the sealed bag of cooked salmon in an ice bath until the fish is completely chilled. If not serving right away place in the refrigerator. 

Remove the skin by gently peeling it off and scraping off any dark flesh with a paring knife. Transfer to paper towels to blot off any excess oil.

I served it with a refreshing dill sauce.

Asparagus vinaigrette.

And a simple boxed rice pilaf

This salmon recipe (along with a couple shots) just might be the incentive you need to get yourself back in the entertaining game. 

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