Oven Poached Orange Salmon with Red Bliss Potato Salad

The Inspiration: Facebook conversations between friends, and a trip to my local market.

Lately, I find I am inspired by the simplest of things: the smell of green plants growing, the slightly warmer air, the longer hours of daylight.  This week, a casual Facebook conversation about potato salad ( I don’t remember how the conversation started, or who even started it.) Point being, one of my friends mentioned liking potato salad without mayonnaise. One of my all time favorite recipes for potato salad is mayo-free, and relies on mustard and red wine as the base for the dressing.

When I went to the market,  I was drawn to make this recipe: the baby red bliss potatoes were gorgeous, tiny and perfect. I bought with the intention of putting them whole into my chicken soup and cholent for the Sabbath, and realized I had bought far too many. I now had the perfect excuse to make my potato salad.

The Innovation: To add a protein to the potato salad to enhance the dish. 

The potato salad put me in the mood to make something that could be served cold, and after talking with another friend on Facebook I decided that a poached salmon would be spot-on with the salad. The fish would help soften the spice and richness of the mustard-red wine dressing, and the poaching would create a salmon ideal for serving cold. A poaching liquid of  fresh orange juice, red wine, and herbs would serve a perfect counterpoint to the salad, bringing freshness to the dish

My interpretation: Oven Poached Orange Salmon and Red Bliss Potato Salad with Red Wine and Mustard Dressing.

Recipe for Oven Poached Salmon:

2 navel oranges (squeeze and save juice from oranges and remove flesh and white insides – keep and chop the peel)

1/4 C orange juice (in addition to the orange juice from the oranges)

generous splash good quality dry red wine

one large slice lemon peel (remove white inside)

8 leaves fresh tarragon (minced)

6 leaves fresh sage (minced)

1 bay leaf

Small pinch salt and pepper.

1.5 tbsp sugar

8- 6oz skinless, boneless salmon fillets

In small saucepan, add all of the above ingredients and bring to boil. Lower to a simmer and allow to cook for about 15 minutes, til the liquid reduces slightly. Pour through a fine mesh strainer and chill completely. Pour over salmon fillets until fish is covered. Cook at 350F for approx. 20-25 mins, leave cool completely before serving.

Recipe for Mustard- Red Wine Dressing for Potato Salad

15 oz spicy brown mustard

3-4oz mesquite honey ( any milder flavor honey will work)

Dry red wine to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and chill completely, adjust flavor after it is cold as needed.  This makes a lot of dressing- the leftover is excellent as a sauce for chicken or fish as well.

It is absolutely important to use the freshest possible ingredients - the dish will not be the same otherwise.

It is absolutely important to use the freshest possible ingredients – the dish will not be the same otherwise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Provencal Tomato Rice Soup with Red Snapper

The Inspiration: http://frenchfood.about.com/od/soupsandstews/r/tomatorice.htm

Every week, at least once, I get an email from the lovely people at www.frenchfood.about.com. Usually when things are quiet at work, I take 10 minutes or so to look the email over. I take the chance to find recipes I want to try later, and recipes I mentally “kosher” (rework by swapping out non-kosher ingredients for kosher ones – I love the challenge!)  Then there are the recipes that get stuck in my head. Like this one. I told all my co-workers for the last month I was making this.

The Innovation: Add fish to the soup to make it a more complete meal.

I am a huge believer in complete meals. If it’s one-pot, even better, because you get all the goodness and flavor all in one place. Usually meals that are one-pot are rich in  vitamins and nutrients because they are cooked slowly. Because I was uncertain how to proceed with adding fish, I baked it separately and added it in the end. Next time, especially with a lovely, thick fillet of snapper, I will slice the fillet in pieces and add when I add the rice. If you stay with the recipe in these quantities, I believe a fillet of snapper is more than enough. I stayed true to the recipe (I always stay true to a recipe the first time, after that no promises!) except I couldn’t get dried fennel seed so I used fresh. I also doubled the amount of vegetables and added a extra 1/2 C of vegetable stock.

My Interpretation: It was a fantastic soup that my entire family (yes, everyone!) enjoyed. It was loaded with delicious vegetables, was very filling and had amazing flavor. The snapper added a rich heartiness to the soup that makes it suitable as a light main course (which was my intention) and the only difference I would make is that I would swap out the dried thyme for fresh.

A bright, vibrant soup that is filling enough to be a main course. Delicious piping hot, and suprisingly good at room temperature or even a bit cooler.

A bright, vibrant soup that is filling enough to be a main course. Delicious piping hot, and surprisingly good at room temperature or even a bit cooler.