I have a deadline. A serious deadline. And my equipment has decided to go to the moon, en masse. We aren’t talking about one computer here. We’re talking about something like ten. All with strange behaviors, none of which is relatable to any one symptom.
Sooooo, while waiting for my tech who is AWOL because a certain rock-star had a fire in his studio (he’s on a giant tour so I don’t know why he needs his studio before I do), I’ll riff about a dinner I made last weekend.
Really good friends were coming over so I wanted to do it up. ‘Cept, I had no motivation and was tired. A request for salmon came in. Good, I can do that without much thought. There was tarragon in the garden so I figured I would base everything off that. But then, a load of basil came home from the market and I decided to change directions about 3 hours before guests came with no prep done. It was time for jazz. By jazz I mean improv. Now I was starting to get into it. I raced down to the fish guy and bought a center cut of Scottish salmon that was gorgeous.
Here is the gist of what went down:
I had some Costco frozen fresh shrimp so I made s ravioli filling with shrimp, walnuts, basil and mascarpone cheese. Into the fridge. I found some parsnips in the fridge and made a puree/mash out of them. Chives are overtaking the garden so I made some chive oil. Then I butchered the salmon, took the skin off and cut it into beautiful rounds. Into the fridge. I made a puree of basil, garlic, parsley, OO and yes, into the fridge. Then I defrosted fish fumet stock that I had made a while back. Just when I was about to make a little pasta for the ravioli, I found some wonton wrappers and took out the shrimp and made little raviolis with those. Back into the fridge.
When it came time to fire everything up, I dropped the raviolis into some peanut oil and fried. Then I took the salmon, sauteed it lightly and then let it cool. I took the basil mixture and coated one side and topped it off with panko breadcrumbs. Into a 350 oven. 6 minutes.
I made a simple roux and popped the stock in with a pinch of saffron. Reduced and added a teeny touch of emulsified butter at the end. I blanched a few haricots vert, plated the parsnip mash with salmon on top. Added the saffron sauce with a drizzle of chive oil and garnished with the raviolis and fresh chives. From start to table, about one hour prep and a half hour execution.
My point is this, cooking with what’s around can be a really creative thing. Yup, a well-stocked pantry is key. I began not being up for it, but when I heard the ingredients start to sing, I had a great time.