Sometimes when you review cookbooks, you find your favorite recipe is not the most photogenic–I mean, I can readily admit that my skills are not honed nearly to that of Leigh Beisch, the photographer for Diane Morgan’s most recent book, Salmon. I spent weeks pulling my hair and attempting to fix my favorite recipe’s pictures, leaving things unfinished, and more unfortunate yet, keeping the secret of this book to myself. Many don’t realize this, but I work full-time in addition to my blog and event-attending life. Many of my recipes are (as embarrassed as I am to admit it), shot long after my light has disappeared for the day. That said, my blog has never stood solely on its images, but on its content (oh God, or so I hope and strive!), so I hope you’ll forgive the images in this post. They are simply reality, and well, what happens when you mix beautiful pink salmon with soy sauce.
The truth is, Salmon by Diane Morgan is a delectable read. It’s a light book, yet dense in its knowledge of salmon, from prep to labeling notes; like did you know that you should not be fooled by “certified organic” label on salmon? The USDA has yet to set standards for seafood, including salmon. I was also introduced to how to freeze salmon, which I plan on doing as soon as I can get my hands on a large amount of salmon–tools you would ideally want for the process are a vacuum sealer and a deep freeze (I’m a big fan of my GE upright deep freezer) to keep the salmon under 0°F. You can freeze either whole sides or 1-2lb fillets, and be sure to wrap up as tightly as possible in several layers of plastic wrap and keep fully sealed. Salmon will keep in a deep freezer for up to nine months, and in the freezer compartment of a refrigerator for up to one month.
The images are saturated and rich, highlighting the salmon’s pink hue, and the recipes cover every season–from salmon baked in parchment with tomatoes and corn (yum August) to a delectable salmon chowder that I know I’ll be eating again and again this winter. Now is the perfect time to get your hands on the book as grilling season (she has an entire chapter devoted to grilling the fish).
Shanghai-Style Poached Salmon
- 4 Salmon fillets, about 6o each, skin and pin bones removed
- Sweet Vinegar Sauce
- 1/2 c Soy sauce
- 1/4 c Distilled white vinegar
- 1/4 c Sugar
- 4 Green onions, including tops, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 Thin slices of ginger, peeled and julienned
- 3 c Water
- 3 Additional Green onions, including tops, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 5 Additional thin slices of fresh ginger, peeled
Remove the salmon from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature. To make the sauce: In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the 4 green onions and julienned ginger. Set aside.
[Start making your favorite rice around the start of this recipe.]
In a sauté pan just large enough to hold the salmon fillets in a single layer, combine the water, 3 green onions, and sliced ginger Bring to a boil over medium heat, turn the heat to carefully slip the salmon into the pan. (The salmon should be completely submerged in the poaching liquid. If it isn’t, add a bit more water.) Cover the pan and poach the salmon for 5 minutes. Again using a spatula, lift the salmon to a plate. Carefully drain off almost all the poaching liquid from the pan, leaving only 1/4 cup in the pan. Remove and discard the green onions and ginger from the pan. Return the pan from medium-low heat and add the vinegar sauce. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Slip the salmon back into the pan and baste with the sauce. Continue to braise the salmon, basting frequently, until almost opaque throughout, or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 125°F (52°C) or a little above, about 8 minutes. The sauce will have reduced and thickened a little.
Transfer the salmon to warmed dinner plates or shallow pasta bowls. Spoon sauce around the fillets, dividing evenly. Serve immediately.
Looking to learn more about cooking salmon? Beyond Diane’s book, I really enjoy the NY Times article, How to Cook Salmon and Bon Appetit’s 6 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Cooking Salmon.