Thursday, February 21, 2008

New Neighborhood, New Food

I generally don't make New Year's resolutions. I find them a bit limiting since you only get to make one a year, and it's usually a cop-out involving chocolate or the gym. Instead, I try to make several small concerted efforts as the year goes on so I don't allow myself the inevitable, "But I already gave up ______!" excuse. My most recent and most successful "concerted effort" began in the fall of last year, and was to try and cook for myself as often as possible. After a particularly sad period of time involving four days of rice and beans, however, it became clear that I needed to more concretely define the meaning of "cook for myself." I decided that every meal I made had to be one that I was proud of, and that the best way to enforce this plan would be to share it with the world, and thus, a food blog was born.

After several days of gathering scraps and eating out of cans while preparing for my move across town last week, I was reminded of last year's non-resolution. Although I gave myself some leeway the last few weeks regarding the quality of my homemade meals, it occurred to me that my newfangled resolution hasn't evolved since I put it into practice. Although I'm proud of everything that I've made in the past few months (including several truly terrible recipes), I must admit that I have managed to fall into a variety of culinary ruts. To remedy the situation, I've decided to add a caveat to my original goal by venturing into cooking with proteins and veggies that I for some reason have avoided in the past.

The addendum went into effect two days ago as I wandered through the aisles of my new neighborhood supermarket. To my surprise, the fishmonger had fresh, affordable pieces of salmon, cod and tilapia, all of which made their way into my cart, much to the chagrin of the lady in line behind me. The produce was amazing, plump and juicy, and not at all the charming shade of brown I was used to seeing in the produce aisle of my old supermarket. So I set aside two nice thick slabs of wild salmon for dinner and tried to come up with an uncomplicated recipe that would compliment the fish without masking it's lovely flavor. After flipping through a few books for inspiration I decided on a really simple preparation of white wine with lemon and butter. I usually make this type of sauce for a white fish, but the super clean and bright flavors worked really nicely with the salmon. The tartness of the lemon and white wine were a great compliment to the sweet, pink flesh of the salmon, and as an added bonus, it's all cooked in about 10 minutes in one skillet. With meals this easy, I may actually keep my resolution (from 2004) to always do the dishes after cooking. Maybe :)

Salmon with Lemon Butter and White Wine

2 pieces salmon
3/4 cup white wine
4 lemon slices
1/4 tsp ground sage
juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp cold butter, cut into pieces
cracked black pepper
parsley (for garnish)

1. Add 1/2 cup of wine to a large skillet with a lid. Season salmon with salt, pepper and sage, top with lemon slices and arrange fish in the skillet.

2. Bring wine to a boil, cover with a lid and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer until salmon is cooked to desired doneness (about 5 minutes for medium). Remove salmon from skillet and set aside.

3. Add remaining 1/4 cup of wine to the skillet and bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Add lemon juice and remove from the heat. Add the butter and whisk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the salmon. Garnish with chopped parsley. Enjoy!


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