Monday, October 1, 2012

Saumon Rosted

The title translated from the medieval English:   
"Roasted Salmon in Onion Wine Sauce"

Salmon was on sale the other day and I found a piece that looked very inviting.  Once I got it home, I knew I needed to find an historical recipe for it.  The most common recipe I found was a fruit and salmon tart -- it looked great but after the posts on mincemeat and  on fruitcake, I was surely tired of dishes with raisins, currants, dates, and figs.  I needed something different!

This recipe really sounded tasty:

6 salmon steaks for broiling
1 1/2 cups red wine
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp powdered ginger
4 small onions, finely minced
1 Tbsp vinegar

Garnish: 6 foils of parsley, wet in vinegar

I had to guess at what a "foil of parsley" was!

This recipe came out of Fabulous Feasts, Medieval Cookery and Ceremony, by Madeleine Pelner Cosman, page 172.

Pub. 1976 by George Braziller, Inc.

1.  Broil salmon steaks, or as the fifteenth-century recipe suggests, "roast on a grid iron", about 5 minutes on each side.

2.  Slowly simmer wine with spices, onions, and vinegar, about 12 minutes.

3.  Pour the hot syrup over the salmon and serve.  Wet parsley foils in vinegar to garnish the salmon steak.

This looks pretty straightforward, yes?

I changed the order a little bit.  First I used a food processor to make short work of making the onions "finely minced".  In fact, they were so finely minced they looked like coarsely made mashed potatoes.

Mashed potatoes?  Or snow?

I was happy with this because I knew the sauce wasn't strained before being poured over the salmon and I really didn't want to taste somewhat-cooked onion chunks with my fish.

Then, while the oven's broiler was heating up, I assembled the sauce ingredients.

Stirred and warming up
I used a medium heat to get it to start simmering, then I dropped the heat down to low -- just enough to barely simmer and I kept watch over it, adjusting as necessary -- while I got the salmon ready to broil.

I think the recipe would consider this one steak

Five minutes on one side, three minutes on the other was sufficient to cook the salmon without drying it out.

When the sauce and salmon were both ready,

I combined and garnished them.

Voila'!  I think it is pretty

I used three "foils" on this one piece of salmon because I thought it looked nice.

The Verdict:  I liked the flavor just fine.  It was very subtle and moistened the salmon nicely.  The onion was not strong at all and blended in with the spices.  I would say the only thing that disappointed me was I expected more of a flavor "zing".  In fact, I ended up putting some salt on the whole thing, which is a big deal because I normally don't salt my food.  I think if I did this again, I would keep out the vinegar from the simmering stage and mix it in just before serving, to give the overall flavor some of that acidic "sparkle".

This actually used only a little of the "syrup" (and it really was somewhat syrupy in thickness), so when I use the leftovers, I will add some vinegar just after reheating it.  I think it might be good on roast chicken. 

So I will call this a "success" with only a slight reservation.

Silly things I learned today:  Now I know that smoke alarm in the dining room exists to tell me I'm broiling salmon.  And I thought it was just to let me know when I was cooking bacon.  I also learned that when I am cooking over a very hot oven, I should not wear a metal necklace.  It got hot quickly and felt like it was burning my neck!

No comments:

Post a Comment