Tuna Melt with Avocado

Grilled cheese sandwiches are excellent.  Tuna salad sandwiches are an American standard.  Combine the

two, add some avocado, and you have a star.  This is hands down one of my favorite hot sandwiches.  I first had it at a small seafood restaurant in Santa Monica, and its impact was enormous.  It’s incredible.

To make this right, you need to perfect three things:

  • tuna salad
  • prepping the sandwiches
  • cooking the sandwiches  
These are all easy, but it’s import to note that ALL components of the dish are important, and should be isolated.  My tuna salad is nothing special, except that I like to add a little cilantro and lime juice.  It brightens the entire dish and adds a complimentary flavor to the avocado.  I like to cook the sandwiches wrapped in foil and in the oven to ensure that they cook slowly, evenly, and the bread does not burn.  Think Cuban style pressed sandwich.  The avocado rounds off the sandwich, adding an almost creamy aspect.  
It’s a great and easy sandwich to make.  It’s delicious, and I hope you like it as much as I do.  

Ingredients:

2 cans solid white albacore tuna in water
1/8 cup heavy mayonnaise
1 rib celery, peeled and small dice
1/4 red onion, small dice
juice of 1/2 lime
3 tbsp cilantro, fine chop
kosher salt
cracked black pepper
2 sliced sharp yellow cheddar cheese
1 firm but ripe avocado, peeled and sliced into 1/4 in slices
4 pieces best quality sour dough bread
1 tbsp unsalted butter

Method:

Mix the tuna with the onion, celery, and cilantro.  Add the lime juice and mayonnaise.  Mix thoroughly with a folk.  Season with salt and pepper.  Reserve.

Heat an oven to 400.  Begin heating a large heavy bottom oven safe saute pan over medium heat.  Lay the bread out on a cutting board and place an even layer of the tuna salad on the bottom of 2 pieces.  Place the cheese over the tuna.  Top with an even layer of sliced avocado.  Top the avocado with bread and lightely butter both sides of the sandwich.  Tightly wrap the sandwiches in aluminium foil.  Place the sandwiches in the hot saute pan.  When you hear the butter cooking, flip the sandwiches, and place the saute pan in the oven.  Cook for about 15 minutes and flip the sandwiches again.  Cook for another 10 minutes, remove from the oven, remove the foil, slice the sandwiches in half and serve.

Enjoy.

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Organic Kale and Quinoa Salad with Chicken, Avocado, Carrots and Dried Cranberries

This salad screams Whole Foods, and for good reason.  Organic, gluten free (not that that’s a selling point

for me), low carb, high protein, high fiber, and full of those ‘super foods’ we love so much.  I love them.  Super foods are not only healthy, but they leave you satisfied and somehow refreshed after your meal.  You feel good.  You feel energized.  Quinoa and kale might as well be the poster children for super foods.

The trick to super foods, or health foods, is preparing them to be delicious.  Kale on its own isn’t very good.  Quinoa on its own is bland.  Put two bland things together, and you have a recipe for a boring and bland dinner.  So we add things.  Classic pairings that have stood the test of time.  Perhaps a Middle East Tabouleh combination of cucumbers, tomatoes, mint, parsley, and almonds with the quinoa and kale.  Perhaps an Indian combination of mango, coconut, curry, chili peppers, and fried chick peas.  I like to simply things and use dried cranberries, avocados, almonds and feta cheese.  It’s a great combination of flavors, and along with a little lemon juice, olive oil and seasonings, creates a great salad.  The combination works well with the quinoa and kale.  They absorb the flavors, while lending their own unique texture and flavor to the dish.  It works, and it’s one of the reasons that places like Whole Foods feature dishes like this.

The production itself is easy.  The most complicated part is cooking the chicken and quinoa.  Otherwise, it’s a simple salad.  Extraordinary and unique, completely satisfying, and delicious.

Organic Kale and Quinoa Salad with Chicken, Avocado, Carrots and Dried Cranberries

Prep time:  5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield:  3-4 portions

Ingredients:

3 cups organic black kale, leaves only, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup dry cranberries
1/4 cup toasted almond slivers
1 cup organic red quinoa
juice of 2 lemons
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 moderately ripe avocado, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 chicken breasts, herb marinated and fully cooked and cooled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 cup shredded carrots
cracked back pepper
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Method:

Cook the quinoa following the manufacturer’s instructions (or cook exactly as you would rice).  Let the quinoa cool completely.

Mix everything except the chicken in a large mixing bowl.  Taste it and make sure you like the flavor.  If it needs to be brighter, add a little more vinegar or lemon juice.  Add a pinch of salt if necessary.  When you are happy with the flavor, add the chicken.

Serve right away.

Enjoy.

Beautiful Food: Garnishes and Parsley Oil

I want to take this time now to discuss garnishes for food.  It’s interesting what we find appealing, but clearly our eyes not only play an important role, they play the first role.  Just like most of our perception of taste is based on smell, we find food appealing first and foremost with our eyes.  Then with our noses.  And lastly with our taste buds.  It’s like an interview or first date:  first impressions are key.

You’re reading this blog, which means you have, at some level, an interest in cooking.  Maybe you’re just looking at recipes, maybe you need something in particular, maybe you’re an aspiring professional, or maybe you just love to cook.  The point is, we all want to make to make our food better.  We want flavors to be better, techniques to be tighter, and the food to look better.  It’s the never ending quest.

In culinary school, we’re taught a few ‘basic’ principals about plate presentations.  First, keep your food away from the rim of the plate.  Second, try to assemble your plate in some sort of logical fashion.  And third, always remember to garnish your plate with some sort of edible garnish.  Traditional edible garnishes are as follows:

  • herbs (chopped mixed herbs or chopped single herbs, like parsley or chives)
  • fried garnish, like a thin slice of fried parsnip
  • small dice garnish, like peppers or tomatoes
  • second sauce garnish, like a spot or two of green oil or coulis
  • micro greens, like micro red amaranth or micro basil
These are all wonderful and heavily used garnishes, and I have used all of them, many times in combination, on several occasions.  Though I’m not a big fan of fried garnishes, they do have their place out there.  A garnish should make sense and should compliment your food (as opposed to putting something green on the plate for the sake of having something green).  A garnish should NEVER be inedible.  Never put a sprig of thyme or rosemary on a plate just because you think it looks good.  The first thing the diner will do is pick it up, remove it, and have to deal with it kicking around on the plate for the duration of the course. 
But, in the end, any garnish is better than none.  We eat with our eyes.  Food needs to look appealing.  A little sprinkle of something green on the plate adds a whole new dimension to your food.  Even if it’s freeze dried parsley sprinkled over spaghetti served with bottled sauce.  It still adds the element of class and care.  It still shows some attention to detail.  Without touching the flavors or techniques, it makes your food better.  
Of course, the rules change with dinner parties and buffets.  Garnishes can become almost like props.  What would a seafood/shellfish buffet be like without towers of lemons, faux lobster nets, hollowed out oyster shells and maybe an ice carving?  What would a dinner party be without flowers and lovely centerpieces.  What would a dessert be without the obligatory sprig of mint?  We eat with our eyes first.  Visual appeal is so important.  The next time you cook for others, keep the final product always in mind.  Consider your garnish just as important as your main ingredients.  
Parsley Oil
Prep time:  10 minutes
Cook time:  20 minutes
Yield:  approx 1 cup
Ingredients:  3 large bunches flat leaf parsley, well washed and completely dried, leaves only
1 1/2 cups grapeseed oil
Method:
Place half the parsley and 1 cup oil in a blender.  Run the blender until the parsley is pureed.  Keep adding parsley to the blender until it’s all in there.  If it gets too thick, add a little more oil.  The consistency should be that of a puree, almost like loose mashed potatoes.  
Transfer the mix to a heavy bottom sauce pot and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.  You will notice the color will chance from moderate green or extremely dark green.
Line a china cap with either a few layers of cheesecloth or a large coffee filter.  Pour the warm mix into the strainer and let strain over night.  Do not force the oil through.  
Discard the remains and transfer the oil to a squeeze bottle.  Use this oil as a garnish in conjunction with your edible garnishes.  
Enjoy.

Flatbread Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Gorgonzola, Pears and Prosciutto

This post is about a couple of things.  First and foremost, the recipe and associated techniques.  Second, my

2 cents regarding flatbread pizzas.  I will begin with the flatbread pizzas because it’s a great way to introduce the technique.  So let me get it out there:  I LOVE flatbread pizza.  I am a flatbread pizza junkie.  I think they’re completely artisianal/handcrafted food, delicious, elegant, and really give a chef room to explore his creativity.  Just think of all the fun little things you can add to a flatbread pizza, that wouldn’t necessarily work on a traditional pizza.  It becomes gastro-pub style food, tailored for the best wine bars, and can showcase excellent market ingredients, techniques and skill.  They can also be simple.  As I have said so many times before, simple done right is usually best.

The art of making a flat bread pizza (or ‘craft’ as it may be) is really back – to – the – basics pizza making.  You need an exceptionally hot and dry oven (like a wood oven, or a conventional oven with a pizza stone), a great pizza dough or flatbread, high quality ingredients and the know-how to put them all together.  No tricks this time.

The ingredients vary dramatically, but for this particular recipe, I am calling for caramelized onions as a base.  This is really the technique I want to discuss.  Caramelized onions vs sauteed onions are tricky to make and require a bit of patience.  But the results are worth it.  Caramelized onions are exactly what the name implies: Onions cooked until their natural sugars are developed and accentuated through the cooking process.  It’s also important to note that they need to be cooked thoroughly.  Thus is the difference between caramelized onions and sauteed onions.  Sauteed onions usually have a little color on them, but only on the surface.  The sugars within are left somewhat untouched.  That gives us a stronger onion flavor, which is great, but in this case, we want completely cooked, soft and sweet.

The technique is simple:  Keep cooking the onions.  Keep turning the heat down to prevent burning.  When they’re dark and look ready, deglaze your pan with a little white wine or water to loosen them up and extract even more flavor and sugar.   Keep cooking them, starting with high heat and ending with extremely low heat.  They should smell sweet and should yield about 1/2 the volume you started with.  Keep cooking them, that’s all you need to remember.  Low heat and time: the onions will get where they need to be, just be patient.

Other than that, the recipe is fairly simple and straight forward.  Wonderful Mediterranean flavors heaped on a flatbread and roasted to perfection.  To stay in line with the gastro pub ‘theme’, I would recommend serving this as an appetizer along with craft beer or white wine, and some sort of pepper-green salad, like wild arugula, upland cress, mitzuna or tat-soi.

Flatbread Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Gorgonzola, Pears and Prosciutto

Prep time:  5 minutes
Cook time:  45 minutes
Yield:  3 flatbread pizzas

Ingredients:

2 medium sized yellow onions, thin sliced
1 d’anjou pear, thin sliced
1/2 cup good quality gorgonzola cheese, crumbled by hand
4 pieces good quality prosciutto, think sliced, torn into strips
lavash bread, excellent quality, or pizza dough rolled as thin as possible (http://chefnotebook.blogspot.com/2012/12/pizza-crust.html)
fresh grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
extra virgin olive oil
fresh cracked black pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Method:

In a heavy bottom saute pan, begin heating the vegetable oil.  Add the onions and let them fry.  As they begin to darken, turn the heat down.  Gently stir to keep them rotating.  When they are deep golden brown, turn the heat to low, deglaze with about 1/8 cup of water and continue cooking.  Keep cooking and stirring until the water is gone.  The onions should be deeply colored, completely cooked through and should smell sweet.  Remove the onions from the pan and reserve.

Heat your oven to 450 degrees F.  Drizzle a little olive oil on the flatbread and layer on the onions, followed by the pears, followed by the cheese, and the prosciutto on top.  Bake until cooked through and the cheese is slightly browned on top.  Remove from oven, drizzle a little more olive oil on top, sprinkle black pepper on top and finished with the parmesan cheese.  Slice and serve right away.

This dish goes best accompanied with a wild arugula salad with such items as fresh figs, dried cranberries, cashews and shaved fennel.

Best served as an appetizer with either a crisp white wine, such as pinot grigio, or an oaky buttery chardonnay.

Enjoy.

Watermelon Tequila Cocktail with Fresh Berries and Mint

This is just a simple, creative, and wonderful summer cocktail that can literally be made from beginning to

end within 10 minutes, assuming you have everything you need.  I have said it before, and I will say it again, summer fruits do not need much, if anything, to be extraordinary.  The combination of ripe watermelon and mint is one of those classic pairings that will never fail.  To push these flavors into a cocktail, a little work on the balance is needed, but not much.  Cocktails always come down to three things:

  • Base flavor
  • Sweet vs sour
  • dominant alcohol

In this case, watermelon/mint is our base flavor.  Sweet is sugar (natural and added), sour is lime juice, and our alcohol will be tequila, though vodka can be a great substitute.  The idea is balance everything without overpowering the cocktail.  I think you will see that with this recipe, because it’s a large quantity, involving a lot of watermelon juice, it’s fairly easy to get right (ie tough to destroy).  If you notice that yours is slightly bitter (maybe your watermelon wasn’t sweet enough), add more sugar!  Too sweet?  Add a touch more lime juice.  You like the cocktail, but wish the mint was little more prominent?  Add more mint.  You see where this is going.  Similar to all great techniques, balance is key, and it comes with experience.  The best thing to do is taste it, and let your brain tell you what it needs.  Ask yourself, what would make this perfect?  What would really put this over the top?  Does it have enough sweet?  Does it have enough sour?  Does it have enough alcohol?  Thus becomes the difference between a good online recipe, and your own masterpiece.

Watermelon Tequila Cocktail

Prep time:  5 minutes
Cook time:  10 minutes
Yield:  6-8 portions

Ingredients:

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 lb ripe seedless watermelon, cut into cubes
1/2 bunch mint, leaves only
few sprigs fresh basil, leaves only
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh blackberries
1 1/2 cup silver tequila
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Method:

In a small sauce pot, heat the water and sugar together until completely dissolved.  Cool right away, add the vanilla and reserve.  In a bar blender, puree the watermelon with the basil and a few mint leaves, and then strain through a fine sieve to remove any grit.

In a large glass pitcher, add watermelon juice, lime juice, syrup, tequila and mint.  Stir well.  Add the berries and enough ice to completely fill the pitcher.  Serve right away.

Enjoy.

Greek Feta with Honey and Herbs

This has got to be one of my easiest recipes.  Three basic ingredients:  feta cheese, honey and fresh herbs.

 The result is truly remarkable.  It’s one of those ‘unknown’ chef secrets that make food ‘pop’ in your mouth. It’s food synergy at it’s basics.  The flavors are extraordinary; they compliment, contrast, and produce an authentic Greek flavored experience.  I love Greek food, and if you’re interesting in making it at home but don’t know where to start, this is a great and easy introduction.

Greek food is all over the place regarding to flavors, complexity, and technique.  And for good reason.  Sitting right in the middle of the south east Mediterranean sea, Greece is a mountainous landscape dominated by the sea.  Greece also sits right in the middle of the ancient spice routes that carried all the wondrous ‘exotic’ spices from India and the orient to European markets.  You find an array of flavors and ingredients, that have become unique to the region and synonymous with Greek culture and cuisine.  Fresh Mediterranean fish, sun drenched grapes and olives, lamb, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, pine nuts, wonderful Greek olive oils, honey, and great wines are just a few examples of the great ingredients you will find.

Traditionally, this style of dish is either prepared as a dessert, served with sesame seeds and sometimes almonds and baked phillo dough, or baked with fruit, like fresh figs, and topped with honey.  All are delicious, but I like the pure flavors of the cheese, herbs and honey alone.  Served with some of your favorite Greek sides and warm pita bread, I think you will agree, it’s incredible.

Greek Feta with honey and herbs

Prep time:  5 minutes
Yield:  4 sides

Ingredients:

1 block high quality Greek feta cheese
1 sprig fresh oregano, leaves only
1 sprig fresh mint, leaves only
small handful fresh parsley, leaves only
2 tbsp organic clover honey

Method:

Remove the feta from the brine and let drain on paper towel.  Fine chops all the herbs together.  Sprinkle the herbs over the feta to cover completely.  Pour the honey over the top.  Serve right away.

Enjoy

Bouillabaise Provencal

In the realm of incredible summer dishes, and outside the world of grilling and bbq, bouillabaisee is one of my

favorites.  Hands down, it’s just great food.  It’s a celebration of the sea, of summer, and of flavor.  What is bouillabaise?  For those of you who might be curious or asking the question, let me give you some background.

Bouillabaise is a Provencal French seafood stew.  After that, it can be a very diverse dish.  Traditionally, it’s composed of fennel, onion, leek, assorted Mediterranean fish and shellfish, and a saffron tomato fish broth.  It’s served with rouille on grilled French bread.  Rouille is similar to aioli with the addition of red pepper, saffron and usually cayenne pepper.  Various herbs can be added, sausages can be added, and additional seafood (like lobster, sea urchin roe, eel) can be added, depending on what happens to be available and how complicated the cook wants to make the stew.

Similar to many French provencal dishes, this dish is exquisite.  Bold, yet delicate flavors combined perfectly.  When you have a craving for something along these lines, it’s usually better, in my opinion, to go to a good French restaurant and get it there.  It’s easier.  The actual production of bouillabaise can be time consuming and expensive.  It’s a three step process involving a broth, the rouille and the stew itself.  And, you cannot take shortcuts.  My version is probably going to look similar to most versions you will find.  But for feeding the masses, for upscale summer get-togethers, or just for the love of great food, this is perfect.  Or, if you just feel like it.  I’ve made this at home before, and to be honest, I loved every minute of the production, not to mention the results.  It’s not a difficult dish by any means.   If you love to cook, love fresh seafood, love Provencal cuisine, and love to take an assortment of raw ingredients and combine them into something magical, this is the dish for you!  I hope to like it as much as I do.

Provencal Bouillabase

Prep time: 45 min
Cook time:  1 hour
Yield:  4-6 portions

Ingredients:

For the broth:

1 lb fish bones or 1 lb shrimp or lobster shells
2 medium yellow onion, rough chop
2 ribs celery, rough chop
1 carrot, rough chop
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
1 tsp tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 cup dry white wine
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
1 bulb fennel, rough chop
vegetable oil

For the Rouille:

1 egg yolk
1 tsp dijon mustard
tiny pinch saffron
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 rst red pepper (canned is fine)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
kosher salt
1 tsp honey
black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
a few pieces good french bread, crusts removed, torn into pieces

For the Bouillabaise:

1 yellow onion, juilenne cut
1 bulb fennel, juilienne cut
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 smoked andouille sausage, or excellent quality smoked french garlic sausage, cut into 1/2 in pieces
1 rib celery, small dice
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup orange juice
1 pinch saffron
1 cup crushed san marzano tomatoes
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 lb little neck clams, scrubbed
1/2 lb black mussels, scrubbed
Assorted small Mediterranean fish, like branzino, monk fish, squid or whiting
1/2 bunch parsley, fine chop
excellent quality french bread, sliced
kosher salt
ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil

Method:

For the broth:

In a heavy bottom medium sized stock pot, begin heating a couple tbsp of vegetable oil.  Add all the vegetables and cook until translucent and fragrant.  Add the tomato paste and stir until everything is evenly coated.  Add the white wine and deglaze the pot.  Add everything else and bring to a boil.  Add enough water to just cover and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes and strain.  Reserve.

For the rouille:

Place all items in a blender, season liberally with salt and pepper.  Run the machine and slowly drizzle the oil until thick.  It should roughly have the consistency of mayonnaise.  Reserve.

For the bouillabaise:

In a heavy bottom large straight side saute pan, begin cooking the sausage, onion, celery and fennel in a little of the oil.  Cook until translucent and highly fragrant.  Add the garlic and cook until you can smell the garlic.  Add the white wine and orange juice and bring to a simmer.  Let reduce slightly.  Add the saffron and tomatoes.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Add enough broth to cover everything, but just barely.  Bring to a low simmer.  Add all the shellfish and fish.  Cook until shellfish is opened and the fish is cooked, about 10 minutes (if any shellfish does not open, make sure to discard).  While you are waiting for the fish to cook, drizzle a little olive oil on the bread and grill until lightly charred.  Taste the bouillabaise and reseason if necessary.  Add the parsley at the end.

To serve:

Ladle the stew into warm bowls.  Serve with the toasted bread and rouille on the side.  Best method is to dip the bread into the rouille, and then into the stew.

Best served with chilled white wine such as pinot grigio or a crisp chardonnay, such as paul dolan.

Feel free to garnish with fresh snipped chives or a few sweet basil leaves.

Enjoy.

Lemongrass poached Salmon

Of all the many ways to cook salmon, poaching has got to be one of the best.  Poaching, unfortunately, has

a bad reputation.  It has a bad reputation because it’s very easy to do wrong.  Poorly poached salmon will result in a bland, dry and unexciting product.  Just like boiled chicken is bland, dry and not exciting. Not my kind of food! Correctly poached salmon, however, is phenomenal.  Let me tell you why and give you a little background into poaching.

Poaching is a ‘wet’ cooking technique.  It’s also very important to make the distinction between ‘poaching’, ‘simmering’ and ‘boiling’.  All three are wet cooking techniques, and all three are differentiated by heat.  We know proteins need to brought a certain temperature to cook and be safe to eat.  Without going into the precise science of the temperatures, let’s assume the temperature of our ‘wet’ cooking process needs to be around 180 degrees F.  Chefs who are into molecular gastronomy and very specific temperature control will use what’s called a thermal immersion circulator, which is a piece of equipment that gently keeps liquids at a very specific temperature while circulating around whatever you have poaching.  This is used primarily in ‘sous vide’ cooking, which is a whole other topic.  Again, for our poaching purposes, a liquid maintained at approx 180 degrees will suffice.  This is just under a simmer, which means that you should see no bubbles in the liquid, but it should be close.
The point of keeping the liquid at this temperature is to slowly and very gently cook your protein.  Exposing protein to high heat, whether it be boiling water, a hot grill, saute pan, oven, and so on, will initially cause the protein to seize.  It shrinks and tightens.  Please don’t get me wrong, grilled food is extraordinary and this reaction of proteins seizing, is often very desirable.  But remember, poaching is it’s own technique and we want to stay away from any high heat.

The liquid used when poaching is just as important as the temperature.  You are submerging your protein in a liquid.  Whatever flavor the liquid has will be imparted into the meat.  So it’s necessary to use a highly flavored liquid.  Short shocks are the best.  In other words, create a quick stock, or broth, ahead of time, to impart as much flavor as possible (short stocks require higher temperature, so it’s necessary to make ahead of time).

For salmon, many different flavors work, and I’d like to share with you one of my favorites.  An Asian inspired lemongrass broth is a wonderful compliment and medium for poached salmon.  Dill poached salmon, spicy Korean poaches salmon, cucumber and lime poached salmon…. the list goes on, and there is no shortage of ideas.  The following recipe will give you the guidelines, and I think you will see, it’s quite easy.  Create a beautifully seasoned and flavorful broth, keep the temperature at 180, and you will easily produce some of the best salmon.

Lemongrass Poached Salmon

Prep time:  10 minutes
Cook time:  30 minutes
Yield:  3 portions

Ingredients:

18-22 oz excellent quality salmon, skin off (AK wild, scottish or anything not farmed)
2 stalks lemon grass, cut into 3 inch pieces and smashed with a mallet or back of a heavy knife
2 shallots, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, smashed
5 thai chilis, sliced in half
3 whole alspice
2 whole cloves
1 tsbp whole corriander
1 stick cinnamon
1 small knob ginger, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces and smashed
1/2 bunch green onions
3 tbsp light red or yellow miso
1 tbsp soy sauce
kosher salt
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 4 inch pieces and smashed (keep reserved for 2nd cooking process- do not use in initial stock production)

Method:

Make your short stock:

In a small stock pot, begin heating the vegetable oil over high heat.  All ingredients except the salmon, miso, soy and salt.  Cook until highly fragrant.  Add the sesame oil.  Cook for another 30 sec and add one gallon water, the soy sauce, 1 tbsp salt and miso.  Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes.  Strain and reserve.

Poach:

Place about half the stock on a steep sides saute pan along with the reserved lemon grass.  Very lightly sprinkle the salmon with salt on all sides and place in the liquid.  Add enough additional liquid to completely cover the salmon.  Slowly bring the heat to 180 degrees and hold at 180 until cooked through.  You will know it’s cooked because it will become firmer, specks of white will appear on the edges and the color will become lighter.  Using a large spatula, remove from the liquid and serve right away.

Best served with steamed jasmine rice and steamed or sauteed Asian style vegetables, like baby bok choy, Japanese eggpland, shitake mushrooms or tat soi.

Enjoy.