So I’m really excited for this post because it is my first Guest Feature! Hoooozaah!!
This is also my first time cooking with Beets, which is crazy, because I love Beets! The texture… crunchy yet rich, the natural sweetness… but not overwhelmingly so, their vibrant color [can’t wait to make a Beet reduction!]…they are without a doubt, my underdog veggie of 2013.
So let’s get down to it!
My featured guest today is Gabriel de Andrade.
I met Gabriel over food, shocker I know, but by the end of our meal, I knew I had to cook with him. Not just because he’d worked in the food industry before and had a great understanding of food either… but because he truly celebrates food.
So we met up to make lunch, finally!
Gabriel teaches Latin American History here at Harvard but is also a sci-fi writer …so I have to admit, a little bit of me wondered if he was going to use some weird science to make the Salmon. He gave me a funny look when he caught me gleefully rubbing my hands at this thought. Ha!
Anyway, prior to getting down with the get-down, we decided to split the responsibilities; I would make the Beet Salad and he’d be in charge of the Honeyed Apple Salmon. This worked really well because it allowed for creative freedom yet helped us stay focused enough to keep our shit together 🙂
Sadly, there were no beakers or centrifuges involved, but the derivative was pretty impressive nonetheless.
Danas First Beet Salad
What I Used
Several Small Beets [or 3 med ones]. Arugula. Assorted Heirloom Tomatoes. White Truffle Oil. Dijon Mustard. Red Wine Vinegar. Feta Cheese Crumbles. Cashew Nuts [optional]. Salt. Pepper. Red Pepper Flakes. Oven at 425.
What I Did: Dana
So we’ve established that I wasn’t entirely certain what I was doing when it came to Beets, but I knew if things really started to go wrong, Gabriel could save the day 🙂
I did however, know enough to scrub the Beets well since I’d be roasting them with their skin on [which would keep them juicy]. So we did that and then I placed them in tin foil, drizzled them generously with Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper, careful to fold the ends of the tin foil over them so they were well wrapped.
Then – in the oven they went for 40 mins while I whisked together 1 tbsp Honey, 1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar, 1 tsp Dijon Mustard, Salt & Pepper.
This would be the dressing for the Salad.
When the Beets were done [you’ll know because under a little pressure they can be easily penetrated with a fork], I let them cool. In the meantime, I sliced about 8 of the small assorted Tomatoes and tossed them in a larger bowl with 3 handfuls of Arugula and the reserved dressing.
When the Beets were comfortably warm enough to touch, we peeled off the skins and roughly chopped them. I topped the salad with the Beets and ended the Salad with sprinkled Feta [we decided against the Cashew Nuts.]
Honeyed Apple Salmon
What I Used
2/3 Salmon Fillets. 1-2 soup spoons Soy Sauce. 2 spoons Olive Oil. 1 tsp Honey. 1 Apple [6-8 slices]. Ground Nutmeg. Dried Basil [We didn’t have fresh – it would have been great]. Cayenne Pepper. Minced Garlic [We used pre-packaged garlic instead of fresh, Ahhh!] Salt. Pepper.
What I Did: Gabriel
I mixed the Soy [1-2 soup spoons], Honey [1tsp] and Garlic [1 tsp/1 clove] in with a dash of Nutmeg, Basil, Cayenne and 1 spoon of Olive Oil.
I let that sit for a while.
I then heated another spoonful of the olive oil in a pan for a few seconds….The pan can’t be too hot or the olive oil will burn, but it has to be hot enough to sear the fish quickly.
I seared the fish on a higher heat for 20-30 secs on either side before laying in the apple slices, gradually adding more of the sauce directly on the fish and lowering the heat.
As you add the sauce, be careful not to let it burn. To assure this, keep the heat on med-low.
The most important thing — do not overcook the fish!
The best way to know that the salmon is cooked is to look at the side in which it’s thickest…at the place where it was cut. You see how it gradually turns from orange to white: first, only the skin that’s touching the pan and then gradually the color changes deeper towards the middle.
Flip it only once, gently, so as not to break it.
Also, everything else has to be ready before the fish is finished, so that you can serve it immediately from the pan.
If you’ve chopped some fresh mint and/or chives, you would sprinkle them on the fish once it’s on the plate.
What do you guys think?
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