Thursday, October 8, 2009

Salmon and stuff

Salmon, originally uploaded by Kim De.

Last night's dinner from Mesa Grill Cookbook was another success! First let me explain – it is not uncommon for me to pick up a cookbook, cook from it for a couple of weeks, then put it down for quite awhile. Right now, the Mesa Grill Cookbook seems to be my culprit. I do have another confession to make, however. A week from tonight, we have reservations at Mesa Grill in NYC! This fact helps contribute to my current obsession.

Lets start with the salmon. Red Chile-Honey Glazed Salmon with Black Bean Sauce and Jalapeno Crema. I am not a huge fan of this particular fish, but Bo is, so I try to find ways to make it that will tempt my taste buds. This one fit the bill! The glaze provided a nice hint of flavor (something I think is missing in salmon) and grilling it forms a great crust, while keeping it moist and tender inside. The black bean sauce and crema were not necessary to make this a keeper, but together they added extra levels of taste to keep things interesting. Now I must tell you, I “cheated” a bit on the bean sauce. I had black bean soup left from our Monday dinner and decided to use it as my base. I added ½ chipotle pepper and some cumin plus water to thin it out then gave it a whirl in the blender. Very easy. And I love to utilize leftovers!

On to the side dish. From the same cookbook, Grilled Asparagus and Roasted Mushroom Salad with Toasted Pecans, Blue Cheese and Red Chile Mustard Vinaigrette caught my eye immediately! Anything with those lovely green stalks and beautiful mushrooms is a no-brainer in this house! It came together quickly with the mushrooms and asparagus roasting beautifully while the dressing quickly whisked together. The last minute addition of blue cheese and toasted pecans made for a flavor pop in the mouth! If you like these ingredients, this is a quick and easy salad to try!

Finally, the cocktail. While thumbing through the book, I just happened upon the chapter on drinks. I love a good tart margarita, and the addition of pomegranate juice only made my mouth want it more. A quick taste confirmed is WAS tart!, so I quickly made a simple syrup and added a tablespoon to the recipe I had doubled.

Bo thought the dinner was fancy and tasty, I enjoyed making it, and I see this cookbook frequenting our future - at least until another one catches my eye!

Red Chile-Honey Glazed Salmon with Black Bean Sauce and Jalapeno Crema (Adapted from Bobby Flay)

Ancho-Glazed Salmon

1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 salmon fillets, 8 ounces each
2 tablespoons canola oil

Whisk together honey, ancho and mustard in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat grill pan or nonstick sauté pan over high heat. Brush salmon with oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper. Place salmon in the pan, skin side down and cook until golden brown and a crust has formed, 2-3 minutes. Brush the top of the salmon with some of the glaze, flip over and continue cooking until a crust has formed and the salmon is cooked to medium doneness, 2 minutes longer.

Remove salmon from the pan, glazed-sized up and brush with more of the glaze. Spoon some of the Black Bean Sauce onto a plate, drizzle with some of the Jalapeno Crema and set the salmon in the center, glaze-side up.

Jalapeno Crema

½ cup crema (or sour cream or crème fraiche)
1 large or 2 small roasted jalapeno(s), peeled, seeded and chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place crema and jalapeno in a food processor and process until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Black Bean Sauce

1 ½ cups dry black beans, picked over
1 small red onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Combine beans, onion, garlic, chipotle and cumin in a medium saucepan and add just enough cold water to cover by an inch. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, adding more water if the beans appear dry.

Transfer mixture to a food processor with a slotted spoon and add 1 cup of the cooking liquid, and process until almost smooth, sauce should be a little chunky; season with salt. If the sauce is too thick, thin with more of the cooking liquid.

Grilled Asparagus and Roasted Mushroom Salad with Toasted Pecans, Blue Cheese and Red Chile Mustard Vinaigrette (Adapted from Bobby Flay)

1 pound asparagus, grilled
1 pound assorted mushrooms (portobello, cremini, shiitake) coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 cups mesculin greens
1/4 cup toasted pecans
8 ounces blue cheese

Preheat oven to 425. Toss mushrooms in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Do the same with the asparagus and after 10 minutes add the asparagus in a single layer to the same baking pan and continue the roasting process for an additional 10 minutes.

Toss the mushrooms and greens in a bowl with half of the vinaigrette. Place on 4 plates and add about 5 stalks asparagus to each. Sprinkle pecans and blue cheese around the edge of the plate. Drizzle with more of the dressing.

Red Chile Mustard Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

Whisk together mustard, ancho powder, salt and vinegar, slowly whisk in oil until emulsified. Season with more salt, to taste.

Mesa Grill Margarita (Adapted from Bobby Flay)

2 oz white tequila
1 oz orange liqueur, such as Cointreau or Triple Sec
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz cranberry or pomegranate juice
1/2 T simple syrup
Ice Cubes
Coarse salt, optional
Lime wedge

Place tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, pomegranate juice and ice in a cocktail shaker and shake for 10 seconds.

Add syrup to taste

Rub the rim of a rocks glass with the lime wedge and dip in salt. Strain the mixture into the glass and garnish with the lime wedge.

You can also combine the tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and ice in a blender and blend for a frozen margarita.

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