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Salmon & Melting Cherry Tomatoes

The Challenge

The second of our two recipes this week was Salmon & Melting Cherry Tomatoes, which you can find here or on page 150 of Foolproof.

Lea’s Take:

Good news is that salmon is a favorite fish in our house! Typically, we just broil it, sometimes with a teriyaki marinade, sometimes just fresh lemon at the end. So, I had high hopes for this one.

I’d like to pause here and thank my husband for being a hard person to shop for. Well, not hard, just…predictable? Boring? [Mary: Nice. He reads this, you know.] [Lea: Oh, I know.] His birthday is in mid-December, so I have to get him birthday gifts AND Christmas gifts all at the same time. It’s annoying and I usually run out of ideas after “golf stuff.” So, he gets a new cooking gadget or two every year. Luckily for me, that means we have all these things in the house, which makes this challenge all the easier for me. For example, a cast-iron skillet. We have one, thanks to him (me)!

Back to the recipe. I chose to make this meal on Wednesday because, as good Greek Orthodox citizens, we try not to eat meat on Wednesdays and Fridays. I chose Wednesday because Friday is pizza night, of course.

Per usual, it wasn’t hard to follow. [Mary: Foolproof!] My family dislikes tomatoes, so I was slightly concerned they wouldn’t like this recipe. But, since they agreed to eat whatever I make, they were just going to have to deal with it.

Heh.

I mean, look at how pretty they are!

I might’ve had trouble turning the fish had I not had a fish spatula. [Mary: I love mine too!] Why do I have a fish spatula, you ask? See above. But I use it all the time to flip my over-easy eggs. Also, since I’ve now learned how to prepare garlic, I used another handy-dandy tool to get the job done easier, a garlic peeler silicone tube roller! [Mary: I saw this at her house and thought it was something you slip over your skillet handle so it’s not so hot. What do I know?]

See? Pretty flip. No (real) mess.


I tell ya, gadgets are fun.

Mary’s Take:

I’m really glad salmon is a staple in Lea’s home. Not mine. It’s probably one of my least favorite fishes (I’m looking at you, tilapia. You head up the list.). Unless the salmon is poached and served cold. With a nice dill sauce. And cucumbers. In a pretty scale pattern. I think it’s less fishy that way. And I think that’s probably my thing: I don’t like the taste of fish. [Lea: That does make liking fish difficult.]

Now steak, on the other hand…yum. Y’all, we lived in Texas for over 11 years, where beef is king! And I loved every minute of the lack of shame associated with ordering a steak there. “I should eat chicken, but you say the steak is fabulous here? Excellent, that’s what I’m ordering!” Didn’t even need to be a proper steakhouse.

All this to say that I wasn’t super excited about this week’s recipe. When we have fish (on Wednesday…never any other day of the week), I’m apt to douse it with a lemon-olive oil-oregano mixture (known in Greek as a latholemono sauce). Our mom will say there need not be any other way to make fish than broiled with this sauce. I tend to agree, but do try different ones to mix it up…perhaps a soy-ginger broth or a salsa verde.

But I love tomatoes and basil this time of year, so I was happy that my salmon would have them to mask the actual fish taste. And the description of the recipe states that it’s inspired by chef Eric Ripert, who is precious and whose restaurant, Le Bernardin, is tops on my list of places to go in NYC. My hopes were raised!

As I said in our Crusty Basmati Rice post, I made this meal in 2 parts: first cooking the tomato mixture before our meeting and then letting it sit until I was ready to make the salmon after the meeting.

One thing I have learned while cooking Ina’s recipes (Lea, here’s where cooking a lot helps you actually LEARN to cook) is that you always add the garlic toward the end of sautéing the onion. Garlic burns quickly, so one minute is all you want. [Lea: Good to know.]

And the salmon was straightforward and easy enough to cook: a little olive oil, salt & pepper, and sauté in a cast iron pan for a few minutes before flipping and popping it in the oven to finish. Side note: I bought our salmon at Costco, thinking we were serving more than just the 2 of us but didn’t want to have leftover fish, so just made 3 pieces.

The Results

Lea:

Remember when I said we make a teriyaki salmon? I think I thought the tomatoes would caramelize somehow and be sweeter. It wasn’t bad, maybe a little salty, just not what I was expecting.

The husband: We need to use the cast iron more often for salmon.

Mr. Good Eater: It was OK. (And then had seconds. He doesn’t fool me – he liked it.)

Mr. Picky Pants: I don’t like the tomatoes. (I also watched him take the grayish bottom off the salmon. I was all, that’s not skin. He was like, I don’t care.)

[insert eye roll]

Mary:

The tomatoes broke down nicely and, I thought, made a great sauce for the salmon. Not saucy, but enough juice to flavor the fish. The recipe says you can use either cherry or grape tomatoes, and I chose grape. I bet cherry would have been saucier. I liked the addition of balsamic to give it even more sweetness. [Lea: What sweetness? I didn't get any sweetness.]

Think I put enough melted tomatoes on top?

John isn’t as fish-averse as I am (he actually ORDERS it at a restaurant sometimes! On a non-Wednesday or Friday! Weirdo.), and he thought it was great. I even thought it was great, and contemplated making it again with the remaining portions of salmon...

...but then poached and chilled it instead.

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