Basil Wine Sauce Over Grilled Salmon

It’s been a very interesting week getting the new business off the ground.  Aside from opening up the Etsy shop I also did a local art show called Art in the Park.  It was a great experience as I was able to get advice from fellow artists and everyone was so positive.  In addition to getting a few sales I also got great positive feedback which lets me know I’m not tilting at windmills.

I also upgraded this site to the business level and spent quality time with the “happiness engineers” to get a shop set up on my blog.  It took several hours as I seem to have a knack to ask for stuff that require special coding.  I still have a few more things to do but it’s all a go now!

Earlier this summer, when we were in Swanage, we took my in-laws out to dinner to thank them for putting us up and putting up with us.  We tried an Italian restaurant in town which wasn’t too bad.  The highlight of the meal was for my daughter and I as we ordered poached salmon with an amazing basil sauce.  She and I raved about it.  Once all the summer adventures were over I knew I needed to make this again as a treat.

I will admit, using fresh basil in it’s prime is best.  Our basil in the garden is a bit past it’s prime but the flavour was still there.

Prep the salmon first.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Slice a lemon to grill the salmon on.

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Pick a bunch, about three handfuls.  Wash and blend with a third a cup of dry white wine.

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In a saucepan melt 3-4 tablespoons of butter.  Add 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped, along with the basil and wine.  Sauté on low to medium heat.  The goal is to have a hint of the white wine come through with the basil being the highlight.  If need be, add more butter to get the right balance.  Sometimes the wine can be a bit harsh.

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While this is cooking, grill up the salmon.  I also grilled chicken for my husband and son. Do up a fresh salad and top with the salmon and sauce.

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I was hoping this meal was the swan song of the summer but the summer just won’t quit!  My daughter enjoyed this and was happy I can recreate the dish for us.  I think the best trips down memory lane are food related.

Early Taste of Summer With Grilled Salmon

It was my kind of day yesterday.  Warm sun, a slight breeze, and time available to get in the garden.  Perfect weather!  We are doing a major tackle of our flower garden this year which will be shown in an upcoming post.  But suffice it to say, the grass has been winning.  So we’re rolling up our sleeves and plotting our strategy for winning back the space for our flowers.

Yesterday definitely put me in the mood for bright flavours and grilling.  It also reminded me that I need to get our outside table cleaned and set up with the chairs.  It would have been lovely to have dinner outside.

I discovered at the co-op that wild sockeye salmon is back in season so that was the base of the meal for my daughter and I.  For my husband and son I grilled up some curry chicken sausages and grilled veg.  But for me the salmon was the prize.  I found this recipe for tomato avocado relish and thought I’d do a version for our dinner.  One thing I love about the warmer weather is many dishes that go on the grill are so easy to throw together and you can have a fabulous fresh meal in less than 30 minutes.  And clean up is even easier!

I prepped the food in stages as the sausages had to go first.  I sliced up the lemon for the grilling.  This is one of the lightbulb moments when you first see it.  Grill the salmon on the lemon!  It is such a no brainer but really raises the flavour profile on the dish.  I will definitely be using this method going forward.

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To make the tomato and avocado salad I first did up the dressing of 2 parts olive oil to 1 part white balsamic vinegar and whisked it to an emulsion then seasoned with salt and pepper.

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I sliced up an avocado.  This is fast becoming one of my favourite foods.  It goes well in a lot of dishes but is also a superfood so for me it’s a win-win.  My other favourite foods include crisps which isn’t on the superfood list by any stretch of the imagination.  So I’m getting one right!  🙂  Chop up a fresh scallion.  I’m not a huge fan of raw onion as it is too much for me but in dishes like this it gives it just enough zip.

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I found at the co-op some local cherry tomatoes, they must be grown in a hot house and while not the same as fresh from the garden they taste better than those trucked in from afar.  Slice them in half and add them to the dressing along with the scallion and avocado.  Toss to coat with the dressing.

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Set aside and spread out the lemon slices on the hot grill and place the salmon on top.

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This is a great trick for two reasons, one it doesn’t stick to the grill, and second it imparts a lovely lemony flavour to the fish without overpowering it.  Once the fish is cooked place it on some mixed greens and top with the tomato avocado salad.

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I’ll admit I went for presentation for the photo then added more of the tomato avocado salad!  My daughter and I loved this dish and I look forward to having it again.

No Two Ways About It…

I’ve mentioned before about the different diets in my family and working out how to cook for everyone.  I’m included in that as there are some things I just won’t eat.  My sister has been vegetarian for most of her life though since she had kids she will eat some fish.  She is bringing up her kids the same way.  When she visits I usually take the opportunity to cook some salmon as I don’t have that often.

I didn’t want to cook two separate meals though as it was a hot day, there were 5 kids in the house running round, and we were tired!  Kids should not have more energy than the parents.  Evolution seriously got that wrong somewhere along the lines!  So I needed something that would work for grilled pork and grilled salmon.  I got inspiration from Richard with his post on a fabulous salsa.  The funny thing is I did this dish on Wednesday and his post yesterday was with pork.  🙂  I went the Italian route for this as it couldn’t be spicy.  Turns out my sister reacts to spicy peppers.  I thought she just didn’t like spicy food.  However, fire roasted tomatoes sounded wonderful!

We still have boatloads of tomatoes in the garden so I grabbed a bunch and also picked some fresh thyme for this dish.

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Slice the tomatoes in half and season with salt and pepper then drizzle with olive oil.  Cut one onion in half as well.

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I put the onion directly on the grill but the tomatoes were in a grill pan.  The grill temp was about 325F/163C.  Halfway through cooking turn them over.  Cook until the skins start pulling away and they shrink a bit.

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For the onions I grilled them until they had nice grill marks on them.

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In a food processor I pulsed the tomatoes and onion coarsely.  In a skillet with olive oil I sauteed some garlic and thyme then added the tomato mixture.  I added a bit more salt and pepper and some real balsamic vinegar and let it reduce slightly.  In the meantime I grilled the pork and salmon.  I have to say this was the best salmon I bought.  It was wild caught which is so much better than farmed but even this raised the bar.  Need to go back and see if they have anymore!  I kept the proteins simple, just salt and pepper to season.

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To serve I spooned the sauce over the pork and salmon.

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My sister was kind enough to bring a chick pea salad and I did a greek salad with homemade greek dressing.  We had a lovely visit with good food and good company.  Oh and good wine.  😉