Ultimate Crispy Salmon

I missed you, farmers’ market!

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When my husband and I first moved to California, our weekends revolved around farmer’s markets.  If we couldn’t make it to the Foothill Farmers’ Market in Auburn on Saturday, we made sure to go to the Certified California-Grown Farmers’ Market in Sacramento on Sunday.  For the most part, we knew what produce was in season, and what we were planning on getting.  We made friends with the vendors, and were greeted with a hearty hello each visit.  It was fulfilling to be part of a community of growers who cared about their animals and land, the quality of food they produced, and the customers they were providing for.

Over time though, we weren’t able to dedicate as much time to farmers’ markets.  And since moving to Sacramento just a half-year ago, we’ve only made it out a handful of times.  However, my husband and I just moved to the Southside Park area of Sacramento late last month.  We are now only a few short blocks away from the Sunday Farmers’ Market, and we could not be more excited!  Our passion for shopping the local markets has been renewed!

After completing our move two weekends ago, we planned to head to the farmers market the very next weekend.  So, with much anticipation, and our canvas bags in tow, we headed out bright and early this past Sunday.  We were tickled pink to be able to walk there.  At first, I thought it was just me, but my husband commented how excited he was too.  We couldn’t wait to see what secret gems we would find – after all, it is fruit season!

We headed straight for The Little Fish Company and picked up some great looking fresh salmon, smoked salmon, and marinated poke.  We knew we wanted some peaches and nectarines from Twin Peaks Orchards, and blackberries from Hooverville Orchards, and after “window shopping” a bit, we also wound up with heirlooms tomatoes, summer squash, English peas, and cherry plums (super sweet, and equally as tart!!)

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With the salmon and peas, I knew exactly what was on the menu for dinner: Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Crispy Salmon.  We picked up some supplemental ingredients from Whole Foods (fresh herbs, lemon, watercress, Greek Gods yogurt in place of crème fraiche, and fresh assorted pearl onions – why not continue the “fresh” trend?), and I headed straight for the kitchen.

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After shelling the peas, I blanched them in boiling water for a minute or two, and then shocked them in an ice bath to stop them from cooking further.  This is essentially the process that manufacturers follow before they freeze and package produce.  I did the same with the pearl onions to help loosen their skins for removal.  (FYI, go with frozen pearl onions.  Fresh is not really worth the hassle here!)

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As for the salmon, I saw Jaime Oliver grill salmon skin once, and have been eating it ever since.  So I usually cook the salmon skin-side-down first until the skin is nice and crispy.  Then I flip the salmon over to cook the other side, and remove the skin.  Once the salmon is done, I put the salmon skin back on the pan to get it even crispier. Yum!

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With those small substitutions, I pretty much followed the recipe in the link I provided earlier.  Here’s my version of Tyler Florence’s Salt and Pepper Salmon, Smashed Potatoes, Peas, and Pearl Onions, and Dill Crème Fraiche.

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Enjoy!

– Christine R.

How to Grill Halibut

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I have never grilled fish before. I worried I would overcook it or that it would stick to the grill. Certainly the second fear is a valid one. The easiest way to ruin grilled fish is to leave half of it stuck to your barbecue grate when go to take it off.

I started my prep by with a Google search; “how to clean barbecue grates.” I should mention I have a five year old 4 burner propane range that has grilled up plenty of steaks, chicken, and pork ribs over the years, but I can’t remember the last time it has had a proper cleaning.

The recommended cleaning method was to make a paste of half liquid dish detergent and half salt. Remove your grates from the barbecue, then lather and soak them in the paste for 20 mins. Rinse off with water and you are good to go.

I fully intended to try this method, but by the time I’d cleaned the outside as nice as I could (I was going to take some photos after all!) I realized I was nearing the end of my day light and also quickly getting hungry! So I did the next best thing and turned the grill on high letting it burn off the last cook, then helped it along by scraping it down with my barbecue brush.

I finished the grill prep by turning the barbecue back off and spraying it with Pam when it was cool again. I think this step is key. With that out of the way, onto the recipe!

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb Halibut fillet
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • About 1/2 Cup of Minced Parsley
  • Juice from 1 Lemon
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

Cut the halibut fillet horizontally so that one half is from the thickest part of the fish, and the other half is the thinner piece of fish. Cut these pieces in half again if you are worried about the evenness of the heat from your grill. Smaller pieces will allow you flexibility in your cook. You only want to flip once!

Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat, then add the garlic and saute it briefly until it is aromatic. Add the parsley and let it cook 1-2 minutes. Remove the pan from the burner and add the juice from your lemon. Finish the sauce by adding some salt and pepper.

When the sauce has cooled enough for you to handle it, coat each of the pieces.

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Make sure you have sprayed your grill with a non stick coating like Pam (do this when it is off!), then turn your grill on high (gas), or have the coals already at their hottest. Place  the fish onto your grill. The thinner ones will be ready to flip in about 3 mins. The thicker ones in about 5 mins.

After flipping cook again for another 3 to 5 mins. Then remove from the grill, plate and serve!

Lolo’s Dad

Local Ingredients Used

The Little Fish Company Halibut – Bodega Bay

Foothill Farmers’ Market

Dad and Lolo

Yesterday morning was Lolo’s first Farmers Market adventure. Lolo is 11 weeks old today.  Auburn has a year round Farmers’ Market on Saturday’s from 8 AM to 12:00 PM, which is a quick drive up Interstate 80 from our home in Rocklin.  The market is part of the Foothill Farmers’ Market Association, which runs several other markets in  Placer County.

Broccoli from Salle Orchards

Their winter market set up was two rows of vendors selling mostly green winter vegetables, winter citrus,  some squashes and specialty items. The market is set up in the Old Court House parking lot in Old Town Auburn.   We found beautiful broccoli from Salle Orchards in Wheatland, fresh halibut out of Bodega Bay from The Little Fish Company (the crab looked great too!), Swiss chard and collard greens from Vue Farms, crimini mushrooms by Mushroom Adventures in Marysville, plenty of great sausage and kielbasa from Smokey Ridge Charcuterie in Apple Hill, eggs from The Natural Trading Company in Newcastle, and Pine Mountain coffee located right in Auburn. As a coffee fanatic I am excited to brew it and see if it rivals Peet’s!

Shitake's from Mushroom Adventures

Crab from The Little Fish Company

After returning home it was time for lunch so we fried up the kielbasa.  As great as the kielbasa was the apple sausage we cooked for dinner was even better.  Hands down some of the best sausage I have ever tried.  Loved the ingredients too: Pork Shoulder, Smokey Ridge Apples, onion, apple cider, sea salt, brandy, spices, and garlic.

Lunch!

Mom and Dad both agree that Lolo’s first Farmers Market excursion was a smashing success.  We are also sure we will revisit some of these ingredients and farms in future posts!  Have any favorite recipes that come to mind from any of the ingredients we picked up today?  If so share them, we would love to try them!

Lolo’s Dad