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Oven-Steamed Miso-Cured Salmon


(serves 2)
Here we have a simple no fuss way to cook salmon by wrapping it in foil and steaming it in its own juices in the oven. Miso with its strong distinct flavor is one of the best ways to marinate meats which don’t absorb flavor easily, such as fish. Steaming is one of the best ways to cook salmon fillets as you don’t need to overcook the outside to ensure the middle is done. Put the two together and you have the trappings of a great salmon recipe. This recipe is also great for BBQ and toaster oven friendly as well.  
 

Ingredients Miso Salmon

  1. Salmon (Belly Fillet, 400g)
  2. Coriander (chopped, 1 cup)
  3. Miso
  4. Minced Garlic
  5. Sesame Oil (1/4 cup)
  6. Honey
  7. Cointreau

Preparation 

  1. Rinse and pat your salmon fillet dry with a kitchen towel. We want the belly cut (the type without a bone in the middle).
  2. Prepare 1 cup of chopped coriander. I usually just hold a bunch in hand and snip away with scissors from the top. We only want the leafy portion.
  3. Mix 1T of miso, 1T minced garlic, 1T Honey, 1T Cointreau and 1/2 t pepper with 1/4 cup sesame oil. When the mixture is even, mix in the chopped coriander.
  4. Place a large piece of foil on a plate. You can see from the photo it is the same plate the salmon is served on later. Spoon one third of the miso coriander mixture onto the foil as a base for your salmon.Salmon B4 After
  5. Position the salmon on the base. If you look carefully at the right side of the upper picture (you can click on photo to zoom in), I cut off the thinner tip of the fillet and stacked it back on in a way to make the thickness of the salmon even, like a brick.
  6. Spoon on the rest of the marinade, making sure some of the coriander adheres to the side. Wrap up the foil by rolling the long edges of the foil together, then crumpling in the two ends.
  7. Place the foil parcel in the fridge. You can cure the salmon overnight if you wish. The minimum curing time is 2 hours in the fridge plus one hour to warm up to room temperature.
  8. Preheat your oven to 180oC. Put the foil parcel in and turn the temperature down to 150oC. Bake for 8 minutes, 9 if you insist on having your salmon 100% cooked.
  9. Allow the parcel to rest for a further 5 min once removed from the oven. Then cut open and serve.

Notes

  • One of the purposes of  the coriander is to allow the marinade to adhere to the salmon instead of pooling at the bottom of the foil parcel. If you don’t like coriander, you will need to replace it with Italian parsley or something similar instead of just skipping it altogether.
  • For more information on Miso, refer to this page
  • If you are into steamed fish, have a look at my Cantonese style Steamed Snapper which uses the pan method.
 

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Toaster Oven Baked Salmon


(serves 2)
Baked Salmon is one of those dishes that is a good fit for the unique qualities of the toaster oven, allowing it to be cooked to tender perfection every time.
 This recipe is fuss free and fast, you can manage it in under 15 minutes if you are versed in the ways of the kitchen. The dish also comes complete with pasta and veggies cooked in the juices of the salmon, making it a complete meal in of itself. This recipe is for 2 servings but can easily be scaled down to 1.

Ingredients

  1. Salmon Fillet (2 belly fillets = 450g)
  2. Pasta (140g)
  3. Garlic (9 cloves = 3/4 bulb)
  4. Mayonnaise
  5. Coriander Seed Powder 
  6. Butter (30g)
  7. Misc Vegetables (optional) 

Preparation 

  1. Put a few cups of water with 1t salt and a knob of butter to boil in a pan. You can also use a pot, but a pan means one less thing to wash up later. Also preheat the toaster oven, after you remove the baking tray.
  2. Peel the garlic and mince it through a garlic press. Wet the garlic with a touch of olive oil. I normally use bottled garlic (see notes), a great time saver.
  3. Dust the salmon fillets with salt, black pepper and coriander seed powder. Don’t forget the sides of the fillets, which you can rub against the seasoning on the board.
  4. If you plan to have veggies, you can use practically any type, par boil them in the pan at this stage.
  5. Arrange the garlic on the tray in the shape of the fillets. Place the fillets on the garlic in the position shown in the picture below. Cover the fish with thin slices of butter.
  6. Put the tray into the (hot) toaster oven and readjust the dial to 5 minutes. When the toaster goes ding! leave the fish in for a further 5 minutes to slow cook.
  7. In the mean while, fish out the veggies and throw the pasta into the same boiling water. When the pasta is semi soft, drain the water away and turn off the heat, leaving the pasta in the pan.
  8. When the 10 minutes is up, temperarily place the salmon onto a plate. Mix 1T of mayo into the hot drippings of salmon oil, butter and garlic. Pour the mixture over the pasta in the pan. Fire up the pan and add the veggies.
  9. Put the salmon back on the now empty tray and use a kitchen torch or cigar lighter to crisp the skin evenly. Then put the whole thing back into the toaster to keep it warm.
  10. When the pan is searing hot, add 1/4 cup of water. Stir fry till the pasta is al dente and then plate the pasta together with the salmon.

Notes

  • THIS IS POST NO. 100.
  • Salmon comes in three cuts. Tail fillets, mid body cross sections, and thick boneless belly fillet. Use only belly fillet and don’t use salmon that has been frozen before.
  • Salmon is one of those special fish which you don’t have to fully cook, like beef steak. My 5+5 timing results in nice pink tender meat which sloughs off easily in layers that melt in your mouth. If you want it more well done, set the dial to 6 minutes.  
  • To ensure even cooking, position the salmon with the thin ends touching to the side, and the fish slightly towards the back of the tray. This is because the center and back of the toaster oven is always hotter.
  • If you don’t have a kitchen torch (and I strongly recommend you get one) your other alternative is to peel away the skin since it will not be cooked sufficiently on the thinner parts of the fish that are further from the heating element.
  • I keep a bottle of store bought minced garlic in oil in the fridge for recipes where minced garlic is cooked. Its perfect for this recipe. Or you can just make some of your own ahead of time.
 
 

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Baked Rice Pudding


(serves 1, scalable to many)
Rice Pudding is a surprisingly popular dish around the globe, even in places which don’t eat rice as a staple. This particular recipe is of the English variety and is a dessert. Besides being absolutely scrumptous, my recipe is a quick and convenient one. As each portion is made individually, it is totally scalable. It only takes about forty minutes to complete, including baking time.
 
Ingredients
  1. Rice (2T)
  2. Cream (3T)
  3. Custard Powder (0.5t)
  4. Sugar (1t)
  5. Raisins (1T)
  6. Pine Nuts (1T)
  7. Butter
  8. Nutmeg
  9. Golden Syrup

Preparation

  1. The recipe assumes you are using mini-ramekins. Any kind of small baking container which holds half a cup of water will do.
  2. I’ve found that using Japanese Rice for rice pudding is best. It is a short grain which remains wetter when cooked, but at the same time has a very nice chewy texture. Start by placing 2T of raw rice in your ramekin. Fill the container with cold water and give it a good stir to rinse the rice, then pour away the water.
  3. Marinate your raisins in 1T of dark rum. This step is optional in case you are adverse to liquor.
  4. In a bowl, mix 0.5t custard powder and 1t sugar with a spot of hot water, stirring it till you get a smooth consistency. Next, stir in 3T cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Add the whole mixture to the rice.
  5. Add boiling water (about 4T) to the ramekin till you almost reach the rim, followed by a small knob of (salted) butter. Cover the ramekin with aluminium foil, just use one foil even if you have multiple ramekins.
  6. The baking is simple, just remember : 15+10+5 for the toaster oven. Have the toaster oven on for 3 minutes to preheat it and then bake the ramekin for fifteen minutes. If you are making more than one portion at a time (you can do up to 4 in a standard toaster oven), add 1 minute to the initial 15 minutes for every extra ramekin.
  7. After 15 minutes, lift off the foil and add 1T raisins and 1T pine nuts. Stir the rice to get all of it off the ramekin bottom, this makes for a fluffier pudding. Recover with the same foil and bake for a further 10 minutes.
  8. After 10 minutes remove the foil, drizzle on a flat t of golden syrup per portion and then bake uncovered for a final five minutes. This will dry up the pudding and give it a nice crust.

Notes

  • You can use cinnamon instead if you don’t like the spicy taste of nutmeg.
  • If you can’t find golden syrup or don’t know what it is, use maple syrup or honey.
  • If you use a regular oven it will take longer as the heat is less direct. If you use 1-cup ramekins instead of mini ramekins, it will take longer too because of the greater volume.  I can’t list all the baking times for various combinations, just remember that the rice-custard must have been boiling for a few minutes before the part where you add the raisins and pine nuts. You can also do the initial stages of the baking by boiling in a pot to saved time.
  • In case you were wondering, 12T= 0.5 cups.
 
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Posted by on February 6, 2011 in Desserts, English, Recipe

 

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Croque Monsieur (Béchamel variety)


(2 big or 4 small sandwiches)
Croque Monsieur is the ultimate grilled ham and cheese sandwich, one of my favourite things to have for lunch. Leave it to a Frenchman to make something as mundane as a sandwich into a gourmet dish. After you have had a properly made Croque Monsieur with a béchamel topping, like me you won’t be wanting to eat any other kind of ham and cheese sandwich again.  
 
Ingredients
  1. Bread (1 mini loaf)
  2. Emmental Cheese
    (1.25 cups grated)
  3. Sliced Ham (100g)
  4. Egg (1) 
  5. Butter
  6. Flour
  7. Milk (2/3 cup)
  8. Nutmeg
  9. Cognac

Preparation

  1. Grate a block of emmental till you get 1.25 cups of grated cheese. The block would be roughly equal in size to half a block of butter.
  2. Slice your bread into four slices such that two slices can fit into the toaster oven at a time. They need to be twice as thick as a typical slice of bread, so you can’t use regular pre-sliced bread. I prefer a raisin loaf for that extra sweetness myself , but it doesn’t really matter what bread you use as long as its crust is not hard.
  3. Beat one egg in a large flat container. Butter 2 slices of bread on one side and place them buttered-side up into the egg. The idea to to have only the bottom half of the bread soaked in egg, so you’ll need to do both slices at the same time. Place the two slices into the toaster oven, this time with the buttered-side down in the toasting tray and grill till the top browns a bit. This should take about ten minutes, depending on your toaster oven.
  4. In a frying pan, melt 3T of butter on low heat. Sprinkle in 1 heaped t of flour and stir fry till it foams up and darkens slightly. Drizzle in 2/3 of a cup of milk, stirring all the while to get rid of any lumps. Sprinkle in a flat t each of nutmeg and pepper. When you see a nice white sauce, turn off the heat. Then add 1T of cognac and half of your cheese. Mix well to get a cheese sauce. When this cools further, you should end up with a cheese paste.
  5. Arrange your ham slices on the toasted egg-bread. If you like, you can spread a bit of mustard on the bread before that. For croque monsieur, I usually prefer thinly sliced deli ham (the type with water added) as it is softer and adds more bounce to the bite. Sprinkle half the remaining grated cheese on the ham and then cover with the other two slices of bread.
  6. Spread the cheese paste on top of the sandwiches and then sprinkle the remaining grated cheese over the paste. Toast in the toaster oven again till the cheese becomes a nice golden brown. This should take 15 -20 minutes. Parts of the bread that are not covered by the cheese paste will likely get burnt. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim some off that off and serve.

Notes

  • Croque Monsieur means Mister Crunchy in French.
  • A regular Croque Monsieur does not contain any egg. When served with a fried or poached egg, the same sandwich is called a Croque Madame. Technically, my version is a cross between the two. 
  • Gruyère is often used in place of Emmental for Croque Monsieur, as both of these cheeses have a buttery flavour. Raclette is another option. Have a look at Cheese Page for more details.
 
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Posted by on January 23, 2011 in Appetizers, French, Recipe

 

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Roasted Figs


(serves 4)
The consumption of fresh figs has diminished from ancient times because of their short shelf life. Neverthelsss they are a prize to be treasured in the kitchen because of their unique natural sweetness. This simple recipe cooks figs just enough to soften them slightly while allowing them to retain their natural flavour. You will find this light dessert perfect as a pre-dessert, or even as a palate cleanser when served cold.

Ingredients

  1. Fresh Figs (4)
  2. Marscapone (80g)
  3. Honey (4t)
  4. Cinnamon powder

Preparation

  1. Almost quarter your figs, leaving just a little at the base to hold the fuit together.
  2. Using a tissue, lubricate the tray of your toaster oven with 1t of oil to prevent sticking. Then arrange your quatered figs on the tray (you may use a regular oven with grill as well if you don’t have a toaster oven, or if you are making multiples of 4).
  3. Drizzle 1t of honey onto each fig.
  4. Arrange a dollop of marscapone onto the centre of each fig using two teaspoons and sprinkle a generous amount of cinnamon on the marscapone.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Before it hardens, spoon the caramelized honey over each of your figs as soon as you take it out of the toatser oven.
  7. Serve either hot or cold.

Notes

  • Even if your figs fall apart, do not dispair, you can reassemble them as the joint is covered by the marscapone.
  • If you are using the figs as a side to another dessert, you can bake them as halves instead of quarters for easier handling.
  • Did you know the fig is actually a flower and not a fruit?
 
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Posted by on June 16, 2010 in Desserts, Recipe

 

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