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.

Making the Basil Wine Sauce

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

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Grilling over lemons gives it a great flavour.

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 the basil wine sauce.

Basil Sauce 4 2018

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.

 

Grilled Salmon with Basil Wine Sauce

A delicious sauce of basil and wine drizzled over grilled salmon.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 people
Author Our Growing Paynes

Ingredients

Salmon

  • 1/2 lb wild sockeye salmon
  • 1 lemon
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch freshly ground pepper

Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3-4 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Season the salmon with the sea salt and pepper.  Slice the lemon about 1/4"/.6cm thick.  Heat up the grill and grill the salmon on the lemon slices.

  2. Blend the basil and wine together.  Melt the butter in a skillet.  Add the basil and garlic and sautè.  Add more butter if needed to keep a balance of flavour with the wine.  

  3. Make a salad, top with the salmon and basil wine sauce.  

Seafood Chowdah

Years ago, when my family had a small manufacturing company, my dad would make a fish chowder for the Christmas party.  Once he made it, that was it, I don’t think he was allowed to make anything else.  His dish was guaranteed to disappear.  I found his recipe that he used because I wanted to make a treat for my visiting in-laws.

Of course I couldn’t leave it alone!  I had to make it my own.  Good thing my dad is used to these kind of shenanigans.  It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t scarf down a bowl of his if it magically appeared before me.  It would not have a chance to get cold!

This is a very easy dish to put together, just make sure you have good quality ingredients.  No skimping!

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I found lovely cuts of salmon and cod at the co-op.  You want firm fish for this chowder.  I cubed three red skin potatoes and covered with water.  Bring the water to a boil and while the potatoes are cooking prep the other ingredients.  I chopped half an onion and a couple of cloves of garlic.  In a skillet heat up a tablespoon or so of olive oil and begin cooking the onion.  Once the onion is translucent add the garlic.  I couldn’t find salt pork so I chose to use pancetta instead.  If you find salt pork you do not need a lot otherwise you can overpower the chowder.  I chopped about 1/2 a cup of pancetta and added it to the skillet.

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Add a handful of fresh thyme and a 1/2 cup of dry white wine.  Cook for a  few minutes.  Once the potatoes begin to soften add the contents of the skillet to the pot.  Cube the fish and add that as well.

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Add enough water to cover the fish.  Don’t bring it to a boil!  Slowly cook the fish at a low simmer. It will gradually begin to flake without becoming tough.

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Season with sea salt and pepper.  Add a bit more wine to taste if you need to.  Wait until you are ready to serve before you add a cup of cream and two tablespoons of salted butter.  Warm through and serve.

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My husband made some homemade bread to go with this dish.  So good with butter!  And it holds up as leftovers.

Nearly Lost the Battle with the Charcoal….

So apparently chickens are flammable.  I found out the hard way last night while cooking chicken for the non fish lovers in the family.  I’m still getting used to cooking with charcoal and I made the mistake of walking away after I put the chicken thighs on the grill.  I had other parts of the dinner to prepare.  The grill didn’t think that was a good enough excuse.  When I checked the chickens were balls of flame.  I removed the grill part with the chicken from the heat and started blowing the chicken out like candles.  Oops.  Fortunately they weren’t flaming chickens for long and they turned out ok if you ignore the blackened outside.  Forgive me but I was too busy to take a pic. 

Luckily everything else went smoothly.  The other day a few of us popped down to Saumur to check out the market.  It was a lot of fun and quite large.  It wanders through a lot of streets but we found the food side and found some wonderful ingredients.  One was selling fresh mushrooms including pink ones.  I have no idea what they are called but he also had shiitake mushrooms so I got a bit of both.  I also found a lovely piece of salmon.  There was a bit of language juggling as we sorted out I wanted the skin on but the scales off.  But we got there in the end.  

  
 Following the suggestion from the mushroom man, I minced up some fresh garlic, sliced the mushrooms, and prepped the basil to sauté.  

  
In a skillet heat up a few tablespoons of olive oil.  Once it is hot add the mushrooms and garlic.  Stir as it begins to cook so the mushrooms are evenly coated with the olive oil.  The mushrooms will shrink a bit.  As they begin to brown add a bit of lemon juice to taste along with salt and pepper.  Near the end add a healthy handful of the basil.

  
Once they have browned nicely they are ready to serve.

  
In addition to setting the chicken on fire I also grilled salmon.  I was much more successful with that.  I added a bit of lemon juice and thyme along with salt and pepper to the salmon and cooked it medium rare.  

 
Yesterday we went to Fontevraud Abby which was very interesting.  The scale of it is immense.  It has been sanitised quite a lot and almost looks brand new in some areas.  Still I was glad we went.  

   

  

  

I’m not sure what rose this was but it was stunning.  It was like it was lit from within.  The gardens were lovely though in the cisterns I thought ducks were stuck given the sounds.  Turns out to be two frogs.  Not sure if there was a massive argument or one of them was hoping Barry White music would break out.  But one was running and one was chasing!

Roger from Food, Photography, and France was kind enough to email me about Les Halles in the towns.  So I went back today as I didn’t know what market was on and this one came recommended.  It had some amazing cheeses to chose from.  And there was a fresh produce stall.  So thank you Roger!  

We found a bistro to have lunch.  They seriously know how to do cheese plates here.

  
I also spotted pork belly on the menu.  The flavour was really good.  I think they should have slow cooked it more as it was pretty firm though.

 
As you can see, I’m still having loads of fun.  It’s going to be hard going home.  Tomorrow I’m taking an art lesson so I’m excited for that.  Life is good!

Salmon Grilled on Cedar

Timing is everything.  I wanted to have a nice Father’s Day meal but needed to make sure I cooked something that was in my dad’s diet.  That also had a lot of flavour.  Conor from One Man’s Meat posted a wonderful salmon that immediately went on my list.

And fortunately our local kitchen store had cedar planks!  I picked a meal that could be grilled or served cold as I wanted to be able to enjoy the meal and company without being chained to the kitchen.  Luckily it was a gorgeous day so we set up a table at the bottom of the back garden in the shade.  Perfect so the dogs could be there and not bother anyone.

The longest bit of the prep is soaking the cedar plank.  I picked out a pear cider from Ireland.  I love pear and sage.

Cedar grilled salmon 1 2015

Soak a cedar plank for at least a couple of hours in the cider. Put something to hold it down as it will just float otherwise.

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I found a lovely piece of wild sockeye salmon for this dish.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Lay a few fresh sage leaves onto the fish and then a couple of slices of lemon.  Place the empty plank on the grill to heat up.  Once the board is hot place the fish onto the plank.

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The tricky bit here is you don’t want the grill to get so hot that the board catches fire.  And you want the fish to cook somewhat evenly.  While this was cooking I also grilled steaks marinated in Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, garlic, thyme, sea salt, and pepper.  It’s my favourite marinade.

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My family loves cheese so it’s rare we don’t have a cheese plate going.

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I wanted it to be a little festive, ok a lot festive, so I made the Kir Royale with champagne and chambord.  Drop in fresh raspberries and off you go!  It’s delicious.

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The salmon was a hit among the seafood lovers of the group.  It didn’t overpower the flavour of the salmon but the pear and sage were wonderful.

Cedar grilled salmon 6 2015

It was a beautiful day with good food and no where to be.  A perfect afternoon celebrating my husband and my dad.  What more can you ask for?

Sweet Potato “Pasta”

There are so many food fads swirling round, one of which is to use veg as a pasta substitution.  As I’m in the middle of a gluten free month it made sense to hop on this particular bandwagon.  Not sure how this experiment is going.  The initial pain free days have started to slide back.  And I did trip up here and there because there are hidden sources of wheat seemingly everywhere.  Including vodka!  I knew most vodka was grain distilled but I spaced it.  Now I’ve switched to potato vodka but they don’t really have flavoured potato vodka so the next step is to figure out how to flavour my own.

My sister gave me a spiral cutter for veg this year.  It’s a fun gadget for things like curly fries.  And it’s perfect to make “pasta” with the sweet potato.

Sweet potato pasta 1 2014

There is a bit of elbow grease needed to do this with sweet potato as it is pretty firm.  Actually my husband helped me out with this bit.  🙂

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In the skillet heat up some olive oil and soften a small chopped onion and a few cloves of garlic.

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Add in chopped pepper and mushrooms.  After a couple of minutes add the sweet potato.

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Add a cup of chicken stock and a cup of tomato sauce of your choice.  We had some arrabiata sauce to use up.  Stir well and cover to cook the potato.

Sweet potato pasta 5 2014

While this was cooking I did up some chicken for the non seafood lovers and some salmon for the rest of us.  I kept it simple and baked the salmon.  I also roasted potatoes as a side dish.

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I got a thumbs up all round even from my daughter’s friend who isn’t a fan, like me, of sweet potato.  🙂  And I have to say this was even better after a day or so for leftovers.  The flavours really came together.

Grilled Sockeye Salmon with an Asian Flair

The local co-op had some lovely fish for sale which put me in mind to grill some salmon.  I got all excited when I saw the Scottish salmon but then I paused when I saw it was farm raised.  What popped into my head was the thought how humane can it be to farm raise salmon, never mind fish in general?  Salmon go miles in their life cycle.  So how can you properly raise them in the cages?  Plus there are places that do GMO farm raised salmon and thus far the label laws in the States are appallingly lax it makes sense to avoid farm raised.  Which is such a shame as Scottish salmon is amazing.

However all was not lost!  They also had some wild sockeye salmon which is fabulous.  As it is seasonal I look forward to this time of year when it shows up in our stores.

I had a bit of oyster sauce left over so I thought I’d an Asian inspired marinade for the salmon.

Asian salmon 1 2014

I chopped up a small scallion and 2 cloves of garlic.  In a small bowl, mix 1-2 tablespoons of peanut oil, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, a splash of fresh lime juice, some grated fresh ginger and 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce with the scallion and garlic.  Mix well.

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Season the salmon with salt and pepper.

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Earlier this year I started grilling the salmon on lemon slices.  I love how it adds citrus notes to the meal.

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Grill until it’s cook to medium.  Serve with the grilled lemons.

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My daughter and I enjoyed this with grilled corn and potato while my husband and son had jalapeno chicken sausages.  All in all a great meal!

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.

Grilled Salmon 1 2014

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.

Grilled salmon 7 2014

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.

Fire roasted tomato sauce 1 2013

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.  😉

 

Lemon Rosemary Chicken – Will it cure heatstroke?

It’s a scorcher out there!  Though I suppose it had to happen as it is summer.  I feel a bit bad for our kids as they are doing a Revolutionary War camp here in town and they had to go to the farmers market to barter with goods they made.  In their costumes.  And they are making soup for all of us tomorrow.  It’s a great camp, they learn about the 18th century, make food like butter and jam, and crafts.  But as A/C wasn’t invented then they have to find other ways of keeping cool.  But they love it and I think this is their 3rd or 4th time doing this.

Last night I wanted a quick dinner and as my daughter and I love salmon that was on the list.  I bought some wonderful wild sockeye salmon for us and some chicken for my husband and son.  I needed to come up with a marinade that would work for both proteins.  Just needed to keep it simple!

To make the marinade I mixed fresh lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and rosemary together.

Lemon rosemary chicken 1 2013

I only marinated the chicken and salmon for about an hour.  I got the grill going, cleaned it off, left it for twenty minutes while I did laundry, and came back to find it was only just warm.  Barely hit 300F.  Something was up.  I gave it a shot anyway and put the chicken in to see what would happen.  I had the baked potatoes ready to finish off as well.

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After awhile I gave up and heated up the toaster oven for the chicken.  I kept the potatoes in there and put the salmon on the grill as that doesn’t have to get as hot as the chicken.  Fortunately it all came together.

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It was a delicious light meal for the heatwave we are in the middle of.  🙂