The bad news: I still haven’t found a place to live. The good news: Brussels sprouts are everywhere!
They look like baby cabbages, but unlike cabbage, they actually taste like something. I could eat them raw, they’re so good, but tonight I’m making a hash starring Brussels sprouts with supporting roles from mushrooms, onions and lardons to complement a seared salmon filet. My original plan was to make a frisée aux lardons, but these Brussels sprouts were too pretty to not purchase. Plus with a hash, I’ll only have to use and wash one pan.
Salmon and Vegetable Hash
mushrooms (pick your preference, we used portabella)
medium white onion, sliced
lardons (as much or little as you like)
2 salmon filets
1. Prepare the Brussels sprouts like you would a cabbage. These were Chef’s instructions to me because he apparently thinks I’ve prepped tons of cabbages. It’s actually pretty easy, just cut the white tip off the base and peel off the excess layers. (They should look as pristine as the ones pictured above.)
2. Cut the stem off the mushrooms and slice them length-wise into bite-size pieces.
3. Drizzle a hot pan with olive oil. Add the Brussels sprouts, a sprinkle of salt and sauté them. Once they’re soft, place them on a plate. Repeat with the mushrooms and onions, wiping the pan after each vegetable.
4. Throw the lardons in the pan and cook them until they’re crispy, wipe out the excess fat and add the Brussels sprouts. Cook them until they’re caramelized. (This takes a while, so now is a good time to catch up on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.)
5. The sprouts and lardons will look and smell so good you’ll want to dig in, but resist the urge. Mix in the mushrooms and onions and put them aside, for now.
Now we cook the salmon. We bought a big piece and Chef trimmed it to look like this:
This is the first time I’ve cooked fish. Turns out it’s one of those things that’s so easy you could easily over-complicate it. Chef’s restaurant was named the No. 2 seafood restaurant in the U.S. by Bon Appétit when it was open, so I think I’m in good hands.
6. Rule No. 1 of cooking seafood: Keep your fish cold until you’re ready to cook it. Pop it in the freezer once you’ve cleaned and prepped it.
7. Add a little oil to the pan (after you’ve wiped it out, of course), and once it’s hot, place the salmon in (what would have been skin-side down).
8. A step in a scene:
Chef: “You’ll notice the salmon begin to purge oil.”
Me: “I will? How?”
Me: “OOH! There’s more oil in the pan than I put in!”
Chef: “Bingo. Now hurry up and dump the excess oil before your fish tastes too fishy.”
9. Once the first side is golden, flip the fish and cook the other side. Be sure to keep draining the excess oil as it accumulates in the pan.
Once you’ve cooked everything, you can assemble the dish any way you want. This is a fun time to practice plate presentation. Tonight I nestled my salmon filet on a bed of hash. I can practically hear your oohs and ahs from here! But hey, at least this is a step in the right direction; I usually pile all my food on a plate so it looks like I’m trying to get my money’s worth at an all-you-can-eat buffet, whereas Chef’s usually look like this:
|A goat cheese and beet salad from one of Chef’s menus.|
Chef says presentation is important because you eat with your eyes first. I say, just don’t blink or I’ll eat it first.