Thursday, March 6, 2008

adventures at the seafood counter

I managed to get through Moot Court without throwing up or passing out. And as the results of the poll suggested, my reward was to be sausage and red wine risotto. Unfortunately, I had my heart set on sausages from DePasquale's, and we finished too late for me to make the trip to Watertown before the shop closed. So I shelved the risotto for another day, and went for a wander through my local supermarket instead.

I like to browse supermarkets the way some women browse shoe stores. I can while away several hours just wandering through the aisles, looking at products and reading the occasional label. It pays off in unexpected ways: I've learned that tinned sardines in the aisle devoted to Goya products are tastier than those keeping company with the canned tuna, that my supermarket does carry the elusive Nabisco's Famous Chocolate Wafers, and - much to my delight - the international foods section has Violet Crumble bars.

Tonight I learned that the seafood counter, despite specializing in products that are ready-to-cook marinated or breaded affairs, does occasionally carry strange and wondrous things. I picked up a beautiful fillet of wild sockeye salmon at a price not much greater than that of farmed Atlantic salmon. Dressed in fig and mushroom sauce with fresh basil, it made for a solid, comforting meal.

It's a shame Matt's camera is out of batteries, because the salmon was a marvellous rosy orange, and it looked delicious next to mashed potatoes and mixed green salad with blood orange segments and raspberry vinaigrette. But if you'd like firsthand confirmation of its visual appeal, I encourage you to try it yourself.

Salmon with Basil, Fig, and Mushroom Sauce

(Serves one, with leftovers for lunch)

Preheat oven to 400F.

Heat a generous slice of butter in a heavy-bottomed pan over low heat. Dice up half a small white onion and add it to the pan. When the onions have softened somewhat, add two handfuls of sliced baby bella mushrooms. Stir. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. When the mushrooms have softened a little, add a splash of white wine and a handful of chopped dried figs. Let the mixture cook at a low simmer.

Take a half-pound salmon fillet, the freshest you can find. Season it with salt and pepper, and squeeze over the juice from half a lemon. Place on a baking tray and bake in the oven until the fish starts to ooze protein, about 10-12 minutes. Just before the salmon is ready, stir a few finely shredded basil leaves into the sauce.

Remove the salmon from the oven, transfer to a platter, and spoon the sauce over. Serve.


Kathleen said...

Wow, now I really want to try a Violet Crumble bar.

Katy said...

Oh yum. I hardly ever make fish at home (or really any meat), but I bought fresh cod at the farmer's market and it was so delicious that I've been craving fish every night lately! I bet this would be great.

And I am the same way at the supermarket! I stop by it as I'm walking home from the subway almost every night, and even if I'm only buying one or two things, I look all around just browsing to see if anything looks interesting. Lately I've been eyeing the whole red snapper that are on sale this week...

adele said...

Whole red snapper? I bet that would be fantastic baked in rock salt...

Cakelaw said...

Hi Adele, even without the pic, this salmon sounds devine, especially with all that glorious colour. I laughed about the Violet Crumble bars - they are pretty good.