Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Grilled Wild Salmon and Simple Scapes

We found wild sockeye salmon on sale recently that was already filleted and boned. How's that for fast food? I've had this fancy schmancy fish grilling accessory from Williams Sonoma for several years and never really used it, so I was quite excited to finally give it a work out. (luckily I have another fillet in the fridge for tonight! We have done more fish on the grill in the past month than in the previous 5 years on the east coast, woot west coast living!) We had some limes but no lemons, and I must admit I was a bit wary of using them as I usually do lemons, but good lord they were awesome. Somwhow the "lime-ness" was just perfect to offset the briny saltiness of the skin. mmm. right, right, anyway, the whole proposition takes hardly any time at all and even less effort. Get the grill pre-heating, you want it roaring hot for this one. Lay the fillet skin side down in your fish "cage" if you have one, (if not I bet you would get good results from tying the herbs and citrus on with kitchen twine, or just marinade the fish and leave them off for the actual grilling) and squeeze a halved lime over it. Drizzle with olive oil as well. Then slice the lime into pieces and lay them along the top of the fish. Strategically fling a few sprigs of rosemary and dill in between the pieces of lime, and sprinkle sea salt and black pepper over the whole mess. Close the cage, flip, and get some olive oil, salt & pepper on the skin as well. (if the scales have not been removed, do it yourself, it's well worth it!)

By now the grill should be plenty hot, just put the fish on, skin side down for a few minutes, flip it over when parts of the skin look crisp and browned. (it won't be uniform, but when a fair portion of the skin looks like this you can bet it will be damn good when it's done) I took it off when bits of the lime and herbs just barely began to char and the flesh came out to be perfectly done. I'm not sure exactly how many minutes I left it on each side, but going by appearance and smell did the trick. I will double check tonight when we do the second fillet.

The skin was crackling good, the flesh was perfectly briny with hints of herb, and the lime had had the perfect acidity and flavor for enhancing the fish as well as the scapes. (I never would have thought to squeeze a lime over warm scapes before last night, but I will in the future!) The scapes were the very last of the season, we won't be seeing more until next year sadly. I think I've been holding on to them too long in the fridge as well in my futile attempt to make them last longer into the summer. Some of the tips had dried and yellowed, to the point where they were a bit tough even after cooking which was disappointing. Anyway, it is probably for the best that they are seasonal as I found myself overeating a bit and not digesting as well as one might hope. Though it may have been a but windy here, (you might think I had gotten into some dairy or something!) it appears that none of what I have been eating bothers baby Ben! This is a huge breakthrough since it seems like so many things negatively affected him when I had a larger meal repertoire. He even had a record "happy playing by himself"  time this morning while I prepared an avocado and "cereal" (coconut milk with chopped almonds, macadamias & blueberries)  for Maggie & Sophia's breakfast. (Ben "playing by himself"=laying around cooing, gurgling, grabbing toes and so forth)

Right, so to prepare the scapes I got a large frying pan quite hot with a good wodge of olive oil in it, (maybe 1/3 cup?) and tossed in half a can of anchovies (They were leftover from a can I opened last week, frozen in a ziplock bag for convenience) and the whole mess of previously 'washed, dried, and cut into manageable pieces' scapes. Stir around for a minute so everything gets well coated in oil, the cover and walk away. Seriously, leave it alone. You will never achieve the rich deep brown of caramelized vegetable if you keep fiddling with things  while you cook! After a few minutes you may lift the lid (everything will suddenly by vibrant green) and give a stir so as to give other surfaces a chance to get to the bottom of the pan to brown. Put the lid back on, and leave it alone again. Do this a few times, and you will have delicious, browned crispy on the edges/creamy on the inside garlic scapes perfect for serving with a squeeze of lime and grilled fish, or really, any other protein of your choice. Note that I did not season the scapes other than the half can of anchovies, any additional salt would have been too much, and obviously they did not need extraneous garlic or other of my "usual" seasonings.

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