Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tuesday dinner: Salmon with polenta, mushrooms, and green beans

Made a variation on this recipe in Epicurious, which I found after searching for "coho salmon" and "polenta."


  • soak a 1oz container of porcini mushrooms, two smashed cloves garlic, and four pepper cloves in water then simmer for an hour until liquid reduced by half. Strain through fine mesh sieve and set aside. (dried porcinis $3)
  • slice 1 lb crimini mushrooms, sauté in butter with 1 leek (slice lengthwise then 1/2" slices) and two cloves garlic (dice), add s&p to taste. top with some chopped parsley. (crimini $6/lb, leeks $2/lb)
  • bring 2c water to a boil, whisk in 1c polenta and 1tsp salt on med-low heat (I used porcini himalayan salt to tie the flavors together). Whisk until thick then add 1 c milk and 2T butter. turn heat to low and whisk occasionally until desired consistency is reached. Right before serving add 1/2 to 1c grated parmesan.
Green Beans
  • trim and cut in half to roughly 2" lengths (I did enough to serve 2 people, but cook more or less accordingly). dice 3 cloves garlic. heat evoo in cast iron pan on med heat. add green beans and spread in even layer. stir after a couple of minutes and redistribute in even layer. when green beans are slightly blistered and black/brown in spots, add garlic, 2T water, and cover with lid. Reduce heat to med-low. cook salmon in the meantime. (green beans $1/lb)
  • 1 lb wild caught coho salmon fillets cut into 4 equal portions. ($12/lb)
  • *I'm really not sure that I like the recipe linked above's method for cooking salmon. It was kind of boring and led to really unevenly cooked salmon (overdone exterior and thin part of fillet, raw interior/thick part of fillet). I could see this meal working with salmon cooked in different ways (steamed, baked, sautéed on one or both sides). In any case. I partially followed the recipe. I cut the salmon into 2" strips and put the strips skin side down in 1/4" boiling water in a cast iron skillet (I don't have a baking dish that's okay to use on a burner). After 2 minutes the thin parts of the fillets looked well done so I flipped them and cooked the top for another 1-2 minutes and then pulled the fillets out. The interior of the thick part of the fillet was pretty much raw (as the recipe indicated) and the exterior was cooked. I thought the level of salt and pepper called for was a bit high and overall the fish was pretty bland. 
  • Plate everything but the green beans according to the linked recipe above. I spooned two ladles of polenta onto the center of the plate and gently ladled the mushroom broth around the polenta. Then I topped with a fillet of salmon, topped the salmon with a perpendicular strip of mushrooms and garnished with parsley. I served the green beans on a separate plate so they wouldn't sit in the mushroom broth. 
Notes: a slightly pricey dish in terms of the mushrooms and salmon but cheap in terms of polenta and veggies. It also made enough to serve four, so there were plenty of leftovers and could have easily been two dinners for us instead of one. The coho salmon was good but not as salmon-y flavored as I'm used to. It was on sale but not sure if it's worth the price. 

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