Posted by: njbrown | March 15, 2010

Seared salmon or what to do when the stove breaks

March 15, 2010

When cooking is therapy, it is a sad day when the stove breaks, and that’s what happened this weekend.  My husband was pre-heating the oven when there was a loud “pop!” and everything stopped working – the gas burners, the electric oven – everything.  Eventually, George discovered that we could light the burners with a butane lighter, but I was amazed how limited I felt without an oven.  (A Robert Irvine I will never be.  He could cook dinner for a crowd with two sticks to rub together and a few rocks.) 

Since we had salmon in the refrigerator and small shrimp, I decided to see if I could follow the technique Anne Burrell had demonstrated a number of weeks ago to sear fish and be able to keep the skin intact.  I have watched many shows where experienced chefs have the fish stick to the pan or grill when they have attempted to turn it, but Anne guaranteed success.  Rather than using another pan to weight the fish, I used a enameled cast iron pot lid, but the effect was the same.  The skin of the fish stayed in full contact with the pan and browned beautifully.  Having waited as patiently as I can (which is not terribly patiently), I slipped the spatula under the salmon half, and it released effortlessly and intact.  After browning (caramelizing) the other side, I removed the salmon to a platter and sautéed some minced shallots in the pan, then deglazed with vermouth.  Adding a little parsley and butter made a lovely sauce for the shrimp that I served over the salmon.  Never again will I find searing fish intimidating.  Thank you, Anne!



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