Last weekend we wanted to sit down and prepare a really nice meal as an entry for the upcoming Foodbuzz.com blogging competition. Eric went to Lowes first thing in the morning then we both went to Costco, looking for something to cook. We got home around noon with this perfect whole wild caught Alaskan salmon, invited some friends over and put together and planned a whole day of cleaning, working on the house (new screen door) and cooking (and eating!). Seven hours later, the house was not any cleaner, the front door was taken all apart and pretty much everyone was grumpy. The night looked like it had hopped on the fast lane of the Highway to Disaster. And it was speeding. Then the salmon came out of the oven and the smell of perfectly cooked fish seasoned with lemon and thyme turned the tide.
That night we sat down around the table with the door held closed by the cat scratcher since Eric hadn’t put the door knobs back in yet and enjoyed a family style meal that washed away the day’s frustrations bite by bite. Charisse lead us in a toast and we sat around the table laughing and talking long after the last bite had been taken. We laughed about all the problems with the door and compared Eric’s performance to the Dad in the Christmas Story movie fixing the furnace. We joked about being married, teased about growing up and the wives heckled their husbands for how much fish they left behind. We packed up the leftovers, Eric and his friends finished the door in much higher spirits while the Charisse and the girls talked and watched a movie. When the night was done, we all parted ways happier and fuller.
A little later on, after the door was put back together the two of us sat down and talked about why we were doing this blog and decided that this meal was the perfect example. For us, doing this blog is not only about sharing our experiences in the kitchen with all of you but also about growing closer together while doing it. We actually started this blog as a way for Charisse to express herself in another medium. She’s a painter and artist by trade and brings that artist’s mind to her cooking. Charisse not only has that rare ability to look at a dish and see in her head how it could be made but also the ability to look at a bunch or random things, and come up with combinations that she knows will taste good. It’s the same thing that makes her such a good artist; that ability to know what colors go together and know how to make the brush flow across the canvas just right. It’s also been known to drive Eric nuts as he’s very much left brained when it comes to things like that, mostly precise and analytical. He can tell you how things should be put together, but Charisse can tell you why. This is probably one of the reasons we work so well together, we think about things completely differently and tend to drift to different parts of the same task. As Charisse puts it; “Eric builds it, I make it pretty”. That’s how we approach the blog too, it’s not either of ours it’s both of ours, it’s something we do together, and it helps bring us closer together too.
Whole Roast Salmon with a Lemon Glaze
What You Will Need:
1 whole salmon
a bunch of fresh thyme
2 shallots (sliced thinly)
4-8 bay leaves
1 stick of unsalted butter
Heat oven to 400*
Clean your salmon if it is not already cleaned. Make sure you have removed the scales by running a butter knife over the fish. The scales will start to fly off, so try to do this outside or in a deep sink. Rinse the fish with cold water inside and out and pat dry with paper towels.
Salt and pepper the inside and outside of the entire fish. Slice two of the lemons and place them in the cavity of the fish along with the sliced shallots, a handful of thyme and bay leaves.
Place in a large roasting dish that has been lightly coated with olive oil.
In a small sauce pot, melt the butter and juice the last lemon. Whisk the lemon juice into the butter and brush the outside of the salmon liberally with lemon butter.
Roast for about 1 hour making sure to baste the salmon every 10 minutes with a healthy coating of the butter. If the head or tail of the fish begins to get too brown, cover those parts with foil.
Salmon is done when it is firm to the touch and the meat flakes easily. If the fish sticks to the bottom of the roasting pan, deglaze it with a little splash of dry white wine or sherry. Transfer to a large serving platter and serve hot.