spicy cured grilled salmon; roasted roots; tomato and leek

The storm on Tuesday meant that our local fishermen did not go out, which meant there was no fish in the Greenmarket on Wednesday. But we had a guest for dinner once again. I wanted it to be at least a little special, but we had enjoyed goat chops the day before and I didn’t want to serve a meat entrée 2 days in a row.

Although I could have devised an interesting pasta dish, I didn’t really have any what I would call starring vegetables on hand, so that didn’t inspire me. While I knew our friend had said he was not a fan of salmon, I decided to take a chance with the wild Coho fillet available at Whole Foods. While it’s a treat I can ‘reel in’ almost any day of the week, and sometimes it’s not even been frozen, I still think of it as special. It’s not local but it it’s wild, not farmed salmon, probably not the species or form of this fish generally available in Germany.

I had what I thought would be some excellent vegetable accompaniments for the recipe I had in mind, so I really looked forward to putting this meal together.

  • one 22-ounce wild sockeye salmon fillet from Whole Foods, rinsed dried, coated on both sides with a mix of some light brown vanilla bean-infused turbinado sugar, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, freshly ground allspice, freshly ground nutmeg, the zest of half of a sweet local lemon from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, and some olive oil to make it a paste of sorts, allowed to marinate in the refrigerator in a covered dish for about 3 hours, the fish then rinsed, patted dry, brought to room temperature, oiled generously, and cooked on an enameled grill pan, flesh side down, for a few minutes, then turned over, removed when the inside was not quite pink, the outside slightly crisp and smoky, divided into 3 pieces, arranged on plates, drizzled with a little olive oil and a little juice from the lemon mentioned earlier, and served with lemon wedges [the recipe is little altered from this one from Melissa Clark]
  • four different root vegetables already on hand, about 24 ounces total, some peeled, cut into approximately 3/4″ pieces (they were: carola potatoes from Lucky Dog Organic Farm; celeriac from Tamarack Hollow Farm; parsley root from Norwich Meadows Farm; and carrots from Norwich Meadows Farm), plus several halved shallots from Norwich Meadows Farm, all tossed together in a bowl with two tablespoons of olive oil; salt; freshly-ground pepper; one crushed piece of a mahogany-colored home-dried dark, dried heatless Habanada pepper acquired last summer fresh from Norwich Meadows Farm; and the leaves from several sprigs of rosemary from Eataly, everything arranged, not touching each other, on 2 large, well-seasoned Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic pans and roasted in a 400º oven for about 35 minutes, then sprinkled with 2 sliced garlic cloves from John D. Madura Farm, and some small fresh sage leaves from Eataly, stirred around a bit, removed and divided onto 3 plates
  • one large leek from Phillips Farm, cleaned, halved lengthwise, chopped not too finely, cooked in a little heated olive oil until wilted, then some Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods, each divided into 4 slices, slipped into the pan and barely heated, a generous amount of chopped red thyme from Phillips Farm and a bit of (vanilla bean-infused) turbinado sugar stirred into the vegetables, some of the leek’s green parts, chopped stirred in, the mix served in small oval bowls on the side of the plates, because it was fairly liquid
  • the wine was an Oregon (Umpqua Valley) red, Scott Kelley Pinot Noir Oregon 2015, from Naked Wines
  • the music was our conversation