Wednesday, March 25, 2009

CSA week 16 - Zucchini, cucumber and salmon salad

This was actually just a zucchini and cucumber salad to accompany a salmon fillet, but it needed the fish in there to work so I'm considering it a unified whole.

My original plan was to make zucchini noodles but my mandolin just shredded it instead of making tidy strips. So it was on to plan B. I ran the cucumber through the mandolin to shred it as well. Both ended up with a pile of shreds and a plank of outer shell that I couldn't run through without risking my fingers. Those I sliced as thinly as I could.

I squeezed the liquid out of the shredded cucumber and salted the zucchini and let it drain for a half hour before wringing it out too. That may have been a mistake since I ended up with a nasty overcooked vermicelli texture. I decided to chop up those extra slices and add them to the mix to help the texture out. And then I added parsley and Chinese celery leaves--roughly chopped so that they're vegetable components of the salad, not just herbage--some dill and capers.

If I had any in the house I would have mixed all that with sour cream and topped it with caviar. Yougurt would have done too. But I had to settle for mayonnaise thinned with white vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste and the flavors didn't quite work, but it was edible.

The salmon I rubbed with salt, pepper and dill and fried in olive oil, skin side down, for three minutes. After the flip I turned down the heat, poured some white wine into the pan and covered to let it steam for a couple minutes. When the fish was done I removed it to on top the salad, cooked down the liquid left in the pan to nearly nothing, mounted it with a little butter and poured it over top.

It turned out a bit better than I expected, really. The meatiness and oiliness of the salmon and the rich buttery sauce balanced out the light crunch and slightly funky flavor of the vegetables and the tanginess of the vinegar and capers. So it worked out and, in the end, I can recommend making along these lines.

One last thing while I'm here: tomorrow I'm going to the Coral Gables Food and Wine Festival . I'll be there early before the crowds so I get in fewer people's ways while I'm taking pictures and making notes. Last year I made the worst possible choices of what to try so if you see me there do please say hi and point me to what you think I ought to be eating.

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