Recipe of the Month: Crab Veneto

January 31, 2014

Elliott's oyster house spicy-crab nwwd northwest wining and dining downtown seattle website link

Crab Veneto

Wine Varietal: Lemberger, Gamay, Beaujolais

Serves 2 as an appetizer; 1 as an entrée

On Pier 56 on the Seattle Waterfront, Elliott’s Oyster House offers what many consider the definitive Dungeness crab service in town. Elliott’s starts by cooking the live crabs immediately in small batches to preserve the quality of the meat. Once cooked, the crabs are quickly chilled. Each crab is then cleaned and cracked to order for easy eating. Then you can choose to eat your crab in three different ways—steamed, chilled, or marinated. An extra-large crab bib, cocktail fork, shell bowl, a hot towel and plenty of paper towels, a finger bowl brimming with a mixture of hot tea and lemon water, and a crushed cracker hand wash make cleaning up after the messy job of eating Dungeness crab much more enjoyable. If you can’t make it to Elliott’s, try the recipe below, which was given to me years ago by (then) Elliott’s executive chef Andrew Juhl. It is easy, tasty, and would make the perfect appetizer to share with your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day. . .or any time of the year.

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 drops Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon minced parsley

1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, pure olive oil

1 precooked, chilled, Dungeness crab, cracked into pieces suitable for picking (see Cook’s Hint, below)

1. In a large, deep bowl mix together the garlic, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and olive oil.

2. Add the crab pieces and toss gently. Let stand 3 minutes before serving.

Cook’s Hint: To prepare a whole, cooked Dungeness crab for picking, hold the crab with one hand from underneath and, with the other hand, pry off the large top shell. Scoop out and save the cream-colored “crab butter,” if desired. Run your thumb along the sides of the body cavity to scrape away the feathery gills. Rinse under cold water to remove any remaining viscera.

Grasp the crab in both hands and break the body in half lengthwise, forming two sections with the legs attached. Remove the legs by breaking off at the joints closest to the body. Separate the claw portion from the leg at the first joint. Bend back and remove the smaller claw pincer, along with the attached claw cartilage. Crack the claw with an aluminum crab cracker, the back of a heavy kitchen knife, or a mallet, being careful not to crush the meat. Repeat with the second claw.

With kitchen shears, cut along each side of the leg shells, or simply crack carefully to open. With the palm of your hand, press the top of the crab body until you feel the interior shells give slightly. Do not press so hard that you smash the top and bottom shells together. Alternatively, ask your favorite fishmonger to prepare your crab for picking, as described above.

You are now ready to eat your crab. Remove the meat from the legs, claws, and body of the crab using your fingers, a crab pick, a seafood fork, or a crab “toe” (the tip of a crab claw)—anything is legal when eating Dungeness crab.

Photo Courtesy of Elliott’s Oyster House. 
Recipe reprinted from the “Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook,” gift edition and e-edition, by Braiden Rex-Johnson, copyright 2005 and 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.


Recipe of the Month: Seafood Chili

December 30, 2013

Dungeness Crab photo

Seafood Chili

Wine Varietal: Merlot

Serves 4

My late mother was a sweet, quirky woman with deep Southern United States roots (Georgia and Florida). Among her many idiosyncrasies, she was very superstitious. She claimed that on New Year’s Eve, everyone should eat black-eyed peas in order to ensure making lots of money in the New Year. Since I don’t particularly like black-eyed peas, I try to at least eat a few kidney or black beans on New Year’s, and have prepared this recipe many times in honor of Mom. You can use any firm, fleshy whitefish (even leftover whitefish fillet chunks will do), but I especially like halibut or lingcod. For one particularly decadent New Year’s Eve supper, I made the chili with Dungeness crab, Alaskan spot prawns, and sea scallops with great success. For those people (like me) who don’t eat pork, rest assured that although the bacon gives the chili a musky undertone and an added bit of texture, the recipe works equally as well without it.

3 slices bacon, plus reserved bacon grease or 1 1/2 tab lespoons vegetable oil

2 large onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes or well-drained canned tomatoes, plus additional for garnish

1 1/2 teaspoons ground chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

1 (7-ounce) can whole mild green chiles, drained and chopped, or 2 (4-ounce) cans diced mild green chiles, drained

3/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1 to 1 1/4 cups dry red wine or water

1/2 pound uncooked or cooked halibut, or other firm, fleshy whitefish fillets, skin and bones removed, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 (15-1/4 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained, rinsed, and drained again

Sour cream, for garnish

Chopped parsley, for garnish

1. Cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Place the bacon slices on a paper towel to drain and pour 1 1/2 tablespoons bacon grease (or the vegetable oil) into a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the onions and garlic and cook over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, oregano, mild green chiles, and Tabasco and stir well. Add 1 cup of the red wine, bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer for 35 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes too dry, add more red wine 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring well after each addition.

3. After the mixture has simmered for 35 minutes, crumble the bacon and add to the chili. If using uncooked fish, add to the chili and stir gently to mix. Cook just until the fish is transluce nt, about 5 to 7 minutes. If using cooked fish, cook the bacon an additional 5 minutes after adding it, then add the fish and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until the fish is warmed through.

4. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the kidney beans until warmed through, about 3 minutes.

5. When the fish is cooked or warmed through, divide the chili among individual plates and place a spoonful of sautéed beans beside it. Top with a dollop of sour cream, and sprinkle with additional chopped tomatoes and parsley.

Cook’s Hint: Unlike many chilis that are soup-like, this rendition is thick and chunky, which is the reason I suggest serving it on a plate rather than in a soup bowl. With the sautéed kidney beans on one side and the seafood chili on the other, the dish makes a beautiful presentation.

Recipe reprinted from the “Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook,” gift edition and e-edition, by Braiden Rex-Johnson, copyright 2005 and 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.



Recipe of the Month: Dark Chocolate Walnut Torte

November 30, 2013

Dark Chocolate Walnut Torte

Varietal: Dessert Wines (Port)

Serves 12

Fran Bigelow, founder and owner of Fran’s Chocolates, was named “one of the top ten artisan chocolatiers in the United States” by Chocolatier Magazine. With her recipe for a rich, yet airy chocolate torte, redolent with tannic, earthy walnuts and semisweet chocolate (it reminds me of a brownie on steroids!), Fran suggests pairing Port (either Tawny or Red works fine—go with your preference or what you have on hand). “Red wine is hard to pair, unless it’s aged and has very low tannins, usually an expensive one. But good if you’re just finishing a great bottle of wine after dinner.” My kind of woman!

8 ounces walnut pieces (about 1 3/4 cups)

7 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

8 large eggs, at room temperature, separated

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 recipe Dark Chocolate Ganache Glaze (Recipe follows)

1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped until soft peaks form, for serving

1. Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 300°F.

2. Grease or coat a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.

3. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and lightly toast in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until they begin to give off their aroma. Allow the nuts to cool completely before proceeding.

4. Transfer half of the nuts to a food processor and pulse until finely ground, with pieces no larger than 1/16th inch. Repeat with the remaining nuts. (This should yield approximately 2 cups.)

5. Stir the chocolate in a double boiler over low heat. Remove when nearly melted and continue stirring until smooth. Return the bowl to the double boiler only briefly if the chocolate begins to set up.

6. In an electric mixer bowl (use a whisk attachment if available), combine the egg yolks and 7 tablespoons of the sugar. Beat on medium-high speed to combine, then scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed to high. Continue beating until the mixture becomes thick and pale yellow in color and the sugar has dissolved, 5 to 6 minutes more. Gently fold the walnuts into the yolk mixture.

7. In a separate clean mixing bowl, and with a clean and dry whisk or beaters, begin whipping the egg whites on medium-high speed. Increase the speed to high and allow the whites to become quite frothy, slowly adding the remaining 7 tablespoons of the sugar. Continue whipping until the peaks are stiff but not dry; they should appear glossy and smooth.

8. Gently fold the melted chocolate into the yolk mixture until well blended.

9. Lighten the yolk mixture by quickly folding in one-quarter of the whites. Then gently fold in the remaining whites in three parts. Do not overmix or the egg whites will deflate.

10. Evenly spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.

11. Transfer to a wire rack and allow the cake layer to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes. To remove from the pan, go around the edge of the cake with a thin-bladed knife, then release the sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled. (Once cooled, the layer can be wrapped airtight in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 week prior to assembly.)

12. To assemble the cake, using a large offset spatula, thinly cover the top and sides of the cake with 1/4 cup of the glaze.

13. To finish glazing the cake, place it on a wire cooling rack positioned over a rimmed baking sheet. If the glaze becomes too firm to pour over the cake, stir gently in a double boiler over hot water until it softens enough to pour (about 90°F). Beginning 1 1/2 inches from the edge of the torte, slowly and evenly pour the glaze around the circumference of the torte layer, making sure that the sides are covered. Then pour the remaining glaze onto the center of the torte.

14. Using a metal offset spatula and working quickly, spread the glaze evenly over the top, letting the excess run down the sides.

15. Let the cake sit at room temperature until the glaze sets and becomes slightly firm, about 20 minutes. Once set, slide an offset spatula under the base of the torte, rotating the spatula to release any spots where the glaze has stuck to the rack. Carefully lift the torte and, supporting the cake’s bottom with your free hand, slide it onto a serving plate.

16. To serve, slice the cake and dollop with the whipped cream.

Dark Chocolate Ganache Glaze

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

1. In a small saucepan, heat the cream on medium-high heat until it begins to boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the finely chopped chocolate until smooth, using a rubber spatula so as not to incorporate any air. Cool the ganache, stirring occasionally until it thickens and forms ribbons off the end of the spatula, 5 to 10 minutes.


Recipe of the Month: Mussels in Pinot Noir Butter

October 31, 2013

Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir

Mussels in Pinot Noir Butter

Wine Varietal: Oregon Pinot Noir

Serves 4 as an appetizer

Although many people believe that red wines and seafood don’t mix, this recipe proves them wrong with delicious results. Cornichons are tiny crisp, tart French pickles. They are available in specialty stores and better supermarkets.

3/4 cup Oregon or other good-quality Pinot Noir

2 dozen large mussels (about 1 1/2 pounds), scrubbed and debearded just before cooking

2 tablespoons finely minced shallots

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces

6 tiny cornichons, cut lengthwise into quarters

1. Bring 1/2 cup of the Pinot Noir to a boil in a large nonreactive saucepan or Dutch oven. Reduce the heat to medium-high, add the mussels, cover, and steam until the mussels open, about 5 to 7 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to redistribute the mussels. With a slotted spoon, remove the mussels that have opened and continue cooking the remaining mussels 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove the open mussels and discard the rest. Reserve the mussels and cooking juices in separate containers for later use.

2. While the mussels cool, place the remaining 1/4 cup Pinot Noir, the shallots, and lemon juice in a nonreactive medium skillet and reduce over low heat, about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the liquid is almost gone. Stir in the reserved mussel cooking liquid and reduce over medium heat until the liquid thickens slightly and is reduced to about 3 tablespoons. In the final stages, the liquid thickens rapidly, so watch it carefully and do not allow it to burn.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and add 1 or 2 small pieces of butter. Add the remaining butter one piece at a time. Whisk steadily until blended. The butter sauce should have the consistency of homemade mayonnaise, neither too solid nor too liquid. (The warm skillet should retain sufficient heat to do this smoothly; if the temperature drops too much, return the skillet to low heat. If the butter separates or curdles, whisk rapidly to emulsify.)

4. Remove the mussels from their shells and discard the upper shells. Place a cornichon quarter in the lower shells, place a mussel on each cornichon, and cover with sauce.

5. To serve, divide the mussels among individual plates or place on a large serving platter and serve immediately.

Recipe reprinted from “Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining: The People, Places, Food, and Drink of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia” (Wiley, 2007, $34.95) by Braiden Rex-Johnson.

Recipe of the Month: Tarte Tatin (Apple Tart) with Cider Cream

September 30, 2013

Lady alice apples rainier fruit photo

Tarte Tatin (Apple Tart) with Cider Cream

Varietal: Dessert Wines (Late-Harvest Riesling or Port)

Serves 6 to 8

The founder of Seattle’s venerable Grand Central Baking Company, Gwen Bassetti, is the grandmère of Northwest bakers, a cookbook author (“Cooking with Artisan Bread,” Sasquatch Books, 1998), and an accomplished farmer/rancher. She likes to pair her French apple-tart recipe with either “a bright Late-Harvest Riesling or (in wintertime) a nice slice of Cheddar and a little Port.”

1 sheet (half of a 17.3-ounce package) frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions

2 3/4 pounds (about 8 medium, 2 1/2-inch diameter) Granny Smith, Newton, or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cut into quarters

1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cider Cream (Recipe follows)

1. Roll the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8-inch thickness and cut it into a 12-inch circle. Discard the scraps. Cover and chill the pastry dough until ready to use.

2. In a large bowl, toss the prepared apples with the lemon juice.

3. Melt the butter in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet (such as cast iron) over low heat. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the melted butter. Increase the heat to medium-low or medium and cook slowly, stirring once or twice with a wooden spoon or shaking the pan occasionally, until the mixture begins to turn a light golden color, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and carefully stir in the vanilla.

4. Place a baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F.

5. Starting at the outside edge of the skillet, arrange the apple quarters on their sides, in two concentric circles so they fit in as tightly as possible. Return the skillet to the stove and cook over medium heat until the juices thicken and turn a light golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

6. Remove the prepared pastry circle from the refrigerator. Drape the pastry over the apples and tuck the edges around the edge of the skillet.

7. Place the skillet on the baking sheet in the oven and bake until the pastry is a rich, golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes.

8. Remove from the oven and let cool in the skillet for 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge of the skillet to loosen the pastry. Place a serving plate over the skillet and invert the tart onto the plate. If the apples stick to the pan, arrange them back on the tart.

9. Serve the tart warm or at room temperature with a dollop of the Cider Cream.

Cider Cream

1 cup good-quality apple cider or 1/4 cup apple juice concentrate, thawed

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1. Bring the apple cider to a boil in a small saucepan. (If using apple juice concentrate, skip this step and begin with the next step.) Cook until the mixture is reduced to about 1/4 cup, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

2. In a chilled mixing bowl, whisk the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in the reduced cider (or the apple juice concentrate). Use immediately, or keep refrigerated until ready to use, up to three days.


Recipe of the Month: Port-Poached Blue-Cheese Pears

August 31, 2013

Port-Poached Blue-Cheese Pears

Wine Varietal: Dessert Wines (Port) 

Serves 6

This recipe comes from winemaker Mike Wallace, who’s been at Hinzerling Winery—the oldest family-owned and -operated winery in the Yakima Valley (established in 1976)–from the onset. He’s especially well known and regarded for producing yummy Ports and Sherries with evocative names such as Three Muses Ruby Port, which is used in the recipe below, and Rainy Day Fine Tawny Port. Mike and wife Frankie also operate The Vintner’s Inn, Restaurant, and Wine Bar next door to the winery in Prosser. Mike suggests pairing a small glass of his Ruby Port with these jewel-colored poached pears topped with an authoritative blue-cheese cream.

4 cups water

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

6 ripe, firm pears, such as D’Anjou

2 1/2 cups Hinzerling Three Muses Ruby Port or other good-quality Ruby Port

One 3-inch cinnamon stick

1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

About 1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) blue-veined cheese, such as Oregon Blue, Gorgonzola, Stilton, or Roquefort, crumbled

1/2 cup light cream cheese (Neufchâtel), at room temperature

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the water and lemon juice. Peel the pears and remove the core from the bottom ends (a melon baller works well for this); leave the stems intact. Gently place the pears in the acidulated water. Combine the Port, cinnamon stick, and peppercorns in a Dutch oven or stockpot large enough to hold the pears without crowding, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Gently add the pears and acidulated water, bring back to a simmer, and cover the pot, leaving the cover slightly askew so the steam can escape. Cook the pears, turning the fruit occasionally, until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. (To test for doneness, insert a small, sharp knife into the center of one of the pears.)

2. Carefully remove the pears with a slotted spoon and transfer to a shallow baking dish. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil, and cook until reduced to about 3/4 cup, 25 to 30 minutes. Watch the pot carefully during the final minutes of cooking. Place a fine-meshed sieve over a bowl, strain the poaching liquid, and reserve. Discard the solids.

3. Pour the poaching liquid over the pears, cover, and refrigerate for 8 hours, turning the fruit once or twice as it chills.

4. Ten minutes before serving, in a food processor, pulse the blue and cream cheeses until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Spoon the creamed cheese into a pastry bag with a small decorative tip. Divide the sauce (the poaching liquid) among six dessert plates. Cut the pears lengthwise into three or four wedges and arrange on top of the sauce. Pipe the cheese in a decorative pattern onto the pears.

Cook’s Hint: If you don’t own a pastry bag, substitute a quart-sized resealable plastic bag. Simply spoon the creamed cheese into one corner of the bag, press out the air, cut a small hole in the tip of the bag, and gently squeeze the cheese in a decorative pattern on top of the poached pears.


Recipe of the Month: Grilled Albacore Tuna Spinach Salad

July 31, 2013

Grilled Albacore Tuna Spinach Salad

Varietal: Zinfandel

Serves 4

This may be the perfect main-dish salad since it features one of the Northwest’s tastiest and most economical summertime fish—fresh albacore tuna—in a hearty brown marinade that includes lots of garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco. Even meat-eaters will sit up and take notice! As you would with a meat dish, pair the flavorful, densely textured tuna with a heavy red wine, such as a Zinfandel. “Zin’s” rich, velvety, “chewy” texture and lush berry flavors (plum, raspberry, berry jam) and black pepper and spice notes complement the flavors in this hearty dish.

2 tablespoons minced garlic
6 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Four 6-ounce albacore tuna steaks, rinsed, drained, and patted dry
2 cups fresh white (button) or cremini mushrooms, cut in half (or quarters if extra large)
1 bunch spinach leaves, rinsed, drained, tough stems removed, and spun dry or 6 cups ready-to-eat spinach leaves
2 carrots, cut into 1/8-inch-wide slices
1/2 red onion, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-wide slices

1. Place the garlic, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, and olive oil in a nonreactive mixing bowl large enough to hold the fish without crowding, and stir or whisk to blend. Divide the marinade in half. To half of the marinade, add the fish fillets, turning well to coat. To the marinade remaining in the other bowl, add the mushrooms, and stir well to coat. Cover both bowls and refrigerate 20 minutes to 2 hours, turning occasionally.

2. Ten minutes before cooking, preheat an outdoor or indoor grill. Lightly oil the grill, remove the fish fillets from the marinade, pat dry, and arrange on the grill without crowding. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, then turn and cook another 3 to 5 minutes, about 10 minutes per inch of thickness, or until the fish just turns opaque. Discard the fish marinade.

3. To serve, divide the spinach leaves among four plates. Place a fish fillet in the center of the leaves, then divide the carrot and onion slices among the plates, sprinkling the slices over the fish fillets and spinach leaves. Spoon the marinated mushrooms and any remaining marinade over and around the fish and vegetables.

Recipe reprinted with permission from the “Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook,” gift edition and e-edition, by Braiden Rex-Johnson, copyright 2005 and 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

Recipe of the Month: Spicy Smoked Salmon with Wasabi Dipping Sauce

June 30, 2013

Salmon Photo

Spicy Smoked Salmon with Wasabi Dipping Sauce

Varietal: Pinot Gris

Serves 12 as an appetizer, 6 to 8 as an entrée

By curing a side of salmon overnight in a marinade brimming with freshly ground spices and a touch of liquid smoke, then cooking the fish in a low oven, the pink flesh becomes meltingly tender and flavorful, with a taste similar to smoked salmon. Best of all, you don’t even need a stovetop or outdoor smoker! And while some people consider it difficult to pair wines with smoked seafood, the spices in this dish make that task a bit easier. The intriguing combination of warm spices, including star anise, allspice, cinnamon, and coriander, cries out for an aromatic wine with lots of fruit. I’d opt for Pinot Gris, the irrepressibly food-friendly wine from Oregon. Medium-bodied, dry, and lightly acidic, Pinot Gris pairs perfectly with so many preparations of fish, shellfish, poultry, and pork. Look for citrus, honey, and spice notes on the nose and in the mouth, and serve it slightly chilled. This recipe is tried and true, having appeared in both editions of the Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook. Leftovers (if there are any!) would be a lovely addition to a summer picnic basket.

1 tablespoon Salmon Spice Mix (Recipe follows)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon mirin

1 tablespoon sake

1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon canola oil or sesame oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon liquid smoke

Pinch of salt

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

1 side of salmon, filleted and boned, with skin (about 2 1/2 pounds)

Freshly ground white pepper

Wasabi Dipping Sauce (Recipe follows)

Place Salmon Spice Mix, soy sauce, mirin, sake, rice vinegar, canola oil, maple syrup, liquid smoke, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes in a small nonreactive bowl with a lid and mix until well blended.

Place a piece of plastic wrap lengthwise on a baking sheet, allowing 8 inches of extra wrap at each end to cover the salmon. Place salmon on the plastic wrap, skin side down. Spoon half the marinade over salmon and rub into the flesh. Turn the salmon over and cover completely with plastic wrap. Place the salmon and leftover marinade in the refrigerator overnight.

One hour before cooking, remove the salmon and the remaining marinade from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature. Ten minutes before cooking, preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Place a rack large enough to hold the fish on a baking sheet and spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray.

When the oven is hot, place the salmon on the rack, skin side down. Pour half of the remaining marinade onto the salmon, patting in gently.

Place the baking sheet on the top rack of the oven and roast the salmon for 15 minutes. Remove salmon from the oven and cover with the remaining marinade. Return salmon to the oven for 30 to 45 minutes more, or until opaque throughout and golden brown in color.

To serve, remove the skin (if desired), and place the fish on a serving platter. Sprinkle lightly with white pepper and pass the Wasabi Dipping Sauce at the table.

Salmon Spice Mix

1 whole star anise

1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds

4 whole allspice berries

1 (3-inch) stick cinnamon, broken into several pieces

Place all of the ingredients in a spice mill or small, clean electric coffee grinder and process until very finely ground. Pour the spices into a small nonreactive bowl or jar with a lid, cover and set aside.

Wasabi Dipping Sauce

Makes about 1/4 cup

1 tablespoon wasabi powder

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons honey mustard

Stir together all of the ingredients in a small nonreactive bowl. Allow to sit at room temperature at least 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend, or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Recipe reprinted with permission from the “Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook,” gift edition and e-edition, by Braiden Rex-Johnson, copyright 2005 and 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

Recipe of the Month: Grilled Asparagus Salad with Prosciutto, Parmigiano-Reggianno, and Balsamic Vinaigrette

May 30, 2013

Grilled Asparagus Salad with Prosciutto, Parmigiano-Reggianno, and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Varietal: Pinot Gris

Serves 4

This boldly flavored, texture-packed salad, which comes from Vancouver, British Columbia-based chef Rob Feenie’s third cookbook (“Feenie’s: Brunch—Lunch—Dinner,” Douglas & McIntyre, 2006)  is a cinch to make, yet beautiful to behold and a delight to eat. The caramelized asparagus, salty prosciutto, and sweet-tart balsamic vinaigrette work well with the lively texture and honeysuckle/pear/vanilla flavors typical of Pinot Gris.

1 to 2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus extra salt for seasoning

2 pounds green asparagus, woody stems snapped or cut off and discarded

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Freshly ground white pepper

Balsamic Vinaigrette (Recipe follows)

8 slices prosciutto

4 cups mesclun or other salad greens

Parmigiano-Reggiano or good-quality Parmesan cheese, for garnish

1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add enough of the salt so that it tastes like sea water. Prepare an ice bath. (See Cook’s Hint, below.)

2. Add the asparagus to the water and cook for 1 minute, or until the asparagus turns bright green. Immediately transfer the blanched asparagus to the ice bath to stop the cooking process and to preserve the color. When the asparagus has cooled in the water, transfer to several thicknesses of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to drain. Pat dry.

3. In a nonreactive bowl, toss the blanched asparagus with the olive oil to coat (to prevent the asparagus from sticking to the grill). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Grill 2 to 3 minutes, turning on all sides.

4. To serve, divide the asparagus among four warmed plates. Spoon the vinaigrette over and around the asparagus. Place 2 slices of prosciutto on top of each serving. Top with mesclun and drizzle with a little more vinaigrette. Use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to thinly slice Parmigiano-Reggiano into curls and place a few on top of each serving.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Makes 2/3 cup

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons minced shallot

1 teaspoon honey

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground white pepper

1. In a nonreactive bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, shallot, and honey. Whisking continuously, slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream until it forms a smooth, thick sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Cook’s Hint: Ice Bath: Ice baths are called for when blanching vegetables or fruits; the cold water immediately stops the cooking process so the produce doesn’t become overcooked. To make an ice bath, simply fill a large mixing bowl with ice cubes and add cold water to cover the cubes.

Recipe reprinted from “Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining: The People, Places, Food, and Drink of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia” (Wiley, 2007, $34.95) by Braiden Rex-Johnson.


Balsamic-Glazed Salmon

April 30, 2013

Alaskan Wild Salmon

Balsamic-Glazed Salmon

Wine Varietal: Pinot Noir

Serves 4

The musky, yet sweet taste of balsamic vinegar pairs perfectly with the fatty flesh of salmon. The balsamic glaze is good on other types of seafood as well, particularly black cod (sablefish) or Alaskan weathervane scallops.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets, bones removed, rinsed, drained, patted dry, and cut into four (6-ounce) pieces

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 plum tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup fish stock or chicken stock

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons basil chiffonade (See Cook’s Hint, below)

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly coat a baking dish large enough to hold the salmon fillets without crowding with oil or nonstick cooking spray.

2. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet large enough to hold the salmon fillets without crowding. (Alternatively, use two skillets or cook the salmon in two batches.) When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the salmon fillets, flesh side down, and cook 3 minutes, or until the fish is golden brown outside but still rare inside. Place the salmon in the reserved baking dish skin side down and place in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until the fish just turns opaque.

3. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the garlic, tomatoes, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and fish stock. Cook until reduced to 3 to 4 tablespoons, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and add the butter and basil, swirling to blend.

4. To serve, divide the salmon fillets among warmed individual plates and drizzle with the glaze.

Cook’s Hint: To chiffonade, pull basil or sorrel leaves from their stems, stack neatly one on top of another, and roll tightly like a cigar. Using a very sharp knife, cut the leaves into thin slivers. Unroll the slivers, fluff, and measure.

Recipe reprinted from the “Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook,” gift edition and e-edition, by Braiden Rex-Johnson, copyright 2005 and 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.


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