One of the things I try to remind my students on a regular basis, is that cooking is not Rocket Science, you just need to learn to use what you have on hand to create simple delicious meals.
That’s how I use to do it my restaurants, learning to use the same ingredients in as many different ways is a very efficient and cost effective way to run a restaurant, and with prices the way they are, the home cook has to be every bit as inventive and creative with the ingredients they can find and that fit into their budget. Of Course to break the monotony there should always be times that you think outside the box, purchasing items that you normally wouldn’t, with specific meals planned out using those ingredients. But in everyday business you look around at what you have and you think about what you’ve seen, eaten or already made and how you can adapt that dish to make it into a meal that people will talk about for days to come.
That’s always the challenge when coming up with your new menu items, and that holds true whether you’re at a restaurant, or at home cooking for your family. So the lesson is don’t be limited by what should be, instead think about what could be. And that’s exactly what we did at the Harvest Dinner, of course it would have been easy to come up with a special ahead of time, have it prepped and done early in the day, but that’s not what we needed. We had been challenged to come up with an original recipe, and that night was the perfect opportunity to show my girls how it’s done.
We had beautiful sides of salmon for the evening as well as roasted whole tenderloins of beef. The tenderloins were already seasoned and waiting for the oven, but the salmon had only been cleaned. Of course we could have just seasoned the salmon and roasted it, and it would have been delicious. But this wasn’t just about the meal, it was about being creative, and thinking on your feet, teaching my students to look around and what ingredients they had to work with.
At first glance, I though oh-oh the pickings are slim, the year was almost over and my stock room was depleted, I had Asian seasonings and sauces and that was my first thought, but that would be too easy. I noticed a partial box of butter crackers from a previous catered event, and handed those to my student sous chefs, and then I remembered the Herbs de Provence, they would do nicely, but that still wasn’t enough……..as I looked around the room I placed my hand on the Republic of Tea racks and all of a sudden I knew exactly what to use……. Macha Green Tea! I have seen green tea used in so many different dishes across the blogosphere, as many of my talented friends used this lovely tea in cakes and cookies…..why wouldn’t it work with Salmon?
Now came the time for proportions, how much of each to use. We got out the food processor and added the crackers and pulsed till they were crumbs, we then began adding green tea into the mix, and I let my experience tell me how much was enough (that’s right I guessed). I added in the Herbs de Provence, and pulsed again…..it wasn’t quite there, I needed something to tie everything together, to balance the blend. I had one of students get some fresh Italian parsley from the walk in, and added that into the food processor……and we had success.
All along the process, I explained how some flavors needed to stand out just a bit, and how balancing all the flavors so you didn’t lose them in the process was the goal, and I think we got it! I love when things work out, especially when I’m teaching….sigh
If you like salmon, you’re going love this salmon dish, trust me on this one. I don’t like salmon and have tried disguising it one way or another for most of my career, hoping that one day I would learn to love it, well it never happened, but when I tasted this salmon, something strange happened……I enjoyed it…..who knew?
We did have one little mishap that turned out to be a good thing, when I went to check on the dining room, my students had packed the topping onto the salmon…..much too much I thought, but it was done and it was too late, so I hoped for the best, and the best is what I got. What packing the topping on did, was seal the salmon. What I got was Salmon that was so moist and flavorful that I couldn’t have done better if I had planned this dish out!
The Salmon met with rave reviews that night, and I hope you enjoy it as much as everyone else did!
- 1 lb (500 gm) boneless skinless salmon fillet (wild caught if possible)
- ½ sleeve (about 15) butter type crackers
- 1 tsp herbs de provence
- 1 tsp green tea
- 1 small bunch italian parsley (1-2 teaspoons chopped)
- 1 tsp honey (heated)
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 C)
- remove skin and any pin bones from salmon then set aside
- in a food processor combine the crackers, herbs de provence, matcha green tea, and parsley and pulse until mixture is well blended.
- heat the honey so you can brush it onto the salmon*
- pack the cracker topping onto the salmon, making a nice layer of the topping, sealing in the salmon as much as possible
- place salmon in baking dish, and add a little water to the pan so it does not dry out in the oven.
- drizzle a little olive oil over the topping and place the salmon into the preheated oven for about 20 minutes.
- remove from oven , cut portion in half and serve with your favorite sides.
Thanks so much for stopping by today, have a wonderful week my friends! Eat well, be safe and be happy!