A combination of high heat, warm spices, and citrus aromas gift the home chef with an easy way to create a blackened wild salmon dinner with simple prep and high expectations.
While this recipe makes two adult servings, it of course can be doubled for a family. Seasoning is always to taste: add what you love!
Start your preparation with opening a bottle of wine to air out (and sip on!) while cooking. Many automatically reach for a Chardonnay when cooking fish or salmon. If I had created a lighter salmon with just olive oil and some herbs de Provence, for example, or used a creamy sauce I would do the same. However, considering the depth of flavor and punch in my blackening spice, I went for a Pinot Noir.
A perfect wine for this meal is either from the Santa Rita Hills or Santa Maria Highlands in California or from Burgundy, France. Definitely look for a Pinot Noir as it will have earthy, dark red fruit, with some spices. This will add depth to your dining experience, and perfectly compliment the rich salmon flavors.
Plus, of course, a little wine in the glass while cooking creates for great anticipation. Heck, share a glass with someone who’s assisting or watching you cook. We enjoyed a glass of Louis Latour 2005 Chassagne-Montrachet from Burgundy.
While some opt to melt butter over the salmon, I started with avocado oil and fresh citrus as a base, and poured a small shot of whiskey and drizzle of balsamic for depth. Once seasoned to taste with the blackened spices and a little sugar, I let it sit while switching my focus to the rice. That allows your spices, citrus, balsamic and sprinkles of raw sugar to set into the room temperature salmon.
While letting the juices soak into the salmon, I began prepping the wild rice with a 2:1 ratio of liquid-to-rice. For added flavor, I opted to split the liquid with equal parts veggie broth and fresh-squeezed orange juice. After the liquids came to a boil, I threw in a sprig of fresh rosemary and dashes allspice.
When the liquid came back to a boil, I followed bag instructions and turned the heat to low then covered the pot for about 15-20 minutes.
While the rice was cooking, I turned back to my citrus-soaked salmon.
My recipe does not require searing the salmon, but rather roasting it in a 450° oven for 12 to 15 minutes. A medium cooked salmon is about 135°. The goal is to quickly roast the salmon while creating a crunchy layer where the blackening spices create depth notably on top but throughout salmon flesh.
For added punch, fresh cracked pepper and red pepper flakes are a great addition.
The salmon may be done a little before the rice, which is fine since meat and fish both like to rest between oven-and-table.
Serve rice and salmon over a bed of kale. I always first massage kale and other stiff greens with oil to breakup the stiff fibers. For this, I chose a very light dressing of only a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and pepper.
Take a picture of the final product and dig in!
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes
2 6oz salmon filets (I always get wild caught)
4 tbls of avocado or olive oil
2 tbls melted butter (optional)
1 shot of your favorite whiskey
1-2 tbls of raw sugar
4 tbls balsamic vinegar
Blackening spice ingredients list:
Red pepper flakes
Fresh cracked pepper
Onion powder (optional)
Garlic powder (optional)
Rice ingredients list:
1/2 cup wild rice
2 dashes of allspice
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup vegtable brooth
zest from 1 orange
* Always check salmon and other fish and meats to ensure both are cooked to FDA standards.
Did you enjoy the recipe? If you made it, I would love to know! Tag me when you post a picture so I can check it out, or if you’re not the food-posting kind, feel free to send me your thoughts in the comments below, into my DMs or send me an email.
After gourmet and countless meal pairing with heavier dishes, we were looking for a break in January and decided on two meals which offered elegance but lighter on the presentation. Our focus winery this week is DeLoach Vineyards.
At home in the Russian River Valley, DeLoach Vineyards tends to it 17-acre estate vineyard on the eastern bench of the Sonoma County’s Russian River. For decades this appellation has quietly established itself as one of the most prestigious appellations in the U.S. after Napa Valley. While tourists throng to their neighbor to the east, the region’s reputation has and continues to be built primarily on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
So with a new winery to try, a trip to the fish market was the next step. Fresh salmon lay in the iced case, so we decided to create something different: Salmon with bubbly sauce.
Dinner No. 1
At first I was skeptical but the more I read about poached salmon, the more sparkling wine seemed the perfect agent. Plus while we collected the ingredients on the kitchen counter, we could sip bubbly–Bonus!
In a large copper pan, melt butter and cook three shallots until they are transparent place salmon steaks on top. Add 1 2/3 cups of bubbly and bring to a simmer. Then cover the fish and simmer 8 minutes or until the salmon looks opaque.
Take the salmon and place on a serving dish, cover with aluminum foil and place in warming drawer or warm oven. Then on high heat, boil down the Champagne/sparkling wine, butter and finely chopped shallots mixture to half measure. Add 1/3 cup of heavy cream and boil until it reduces by half again or become thick and sticks to a wooden spoon. If time is an issue, slowly whisk in a 1/4 teaspoon of flour to help the process along.
Lastly, mix in rough chopped fresh dill in the simmering mixture. Immediately remove from burner and spoon on top of the salmon.
We added a quinoa salad with cucumber, tomato and herbs side dish to compliment the baked salmon. And when we roasted the quinoa before we began salad preparation, it took on the aromas and feel of a tabbouleh salad.
The next day we participated and took on a spirit of #talkandtaste, as TalesoftheCork participated in a Twitter chat with #WiningHourChat on Jan. 10, hosted by @TheWiningHour and DeLoach Vineyards. (Catch us each Tuesday 6P).
And as we tweeted/shared the next day, we also paired this entrée with a DeLoach Vineyards 2015 Pinot Noir. After each starting the meal with a glass of sparking wine, I switched to this lovely, fresh and elegant beauty from the Russian River Valley to finish the salmon and quinoa.
Aromas of cherry, raspberry, strawberry, clove and a touch of vanilla wafted in and out of the Pinot glass. Classic Sonoma County Pinot. Love the red fruit as well plum and baking spices. And like it cousins in Burgundy, France, an earthy, funky nose kept me swirling the juice. This wine could easily be a go-to Pinot for dishes ranging from roasted veggie pizza, pan-seared duck breast, glazed baby back ribs, to boeuf Bourguignon. Heck, grilled stuffed mushrooms and pork chops would be great, too.
Hand sorted, fermented in small vats, hand punch-downs, aged 11 months in French oak barrels, the Deloach Pinot Noir continues its generational attention to terroir-driven craftsmanship. They use French open-top wood fermentors and practice hand punch-downs, known as pigeage — another Burgundian winemaking tradition.
DeLoach Vineyards has been a leader in rootstock, soil and clone development for 30 years. They continued to hone its two generation family-owned vineyards when the Boisset family purchased the winery in 2003, continuing the tradition of sustainable winemaking experience from Burgundy, France, in the Russian River Valley.
Dinner No. 2
Our second DeLoach Vineyards dinner highlighted their Estate 2014 Chardonnay also from the Russian River Valley; it also continues in the same focus and tradition.
The 2014 DeLoach Chardonnay is a blend of the Old Wente Clone, Montrachet Clone and Clone 809. Whole cluster press and native yeast fermentation. Barrel aging in French oak (25% new) and 14 months in the barrel give complexity and rich depth.
I think we cooled the Chardonnay down too much upon opening; the strong citrus flavors somewhat overshadowed the lovely honey, ripe pear and apple notes. However, as the wine warmed in the glass and in the bottle, the fruit released and the wine developed into old world excellence with a lovely hint of new world Sonoma.
We paired the wine with both our starter and entrée. We began with roast beets over herbed goat cheese mousse, Quandt Farms micro greens and candied walnuts. We loved making the goat cheese mousse by whipping up a half cup of heavy cream until it had stiff peaks. We set that aside and stirred then folded the goat cheese into a couple of table spoons of heavy cream until it had smooth paste consistency. Then combine the mixture with the whipped cream and added cracked pepper.
Tip: We actually made the beet salad ahead of time and kept it cold in the fridge while cooking up the pilaf and roast chicken.
The roast chicken topped a bed of pilaf and a side of broccoli seasoned by Walter Tangerine Wheat craft beer salt. It was so great to place a wine on the table which paired so well with the starter and entrée. Other pairing ideas include salad, white bean and kale soup, chicken curry, sushi, chicken and/or pork pasta, grilled fish and raw shell fish.
In July 2008 the winery was awarded organic certification by the CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) and began the conversion of 17 acres of estate vineyards from sustainable to biodynamic farming methods, which involves the use of cover crops, the application of biodynamic specific preparations and composts, and the maintenance of biodiversity within the estate.
As with many of the area’s wineries, DeLoach Vineyards considers themselves stewards of the land, with responsibility to pass along a clean environment and revitalized, healthy soil to future generations. I love their mission to follow a Native American proverb that “We do not inherit this land from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”
Plan on visiting DeLoach Vineyards Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 1791 Olivet Rd., Santa Rosa, CA, 95401. They can be reached via telephone: 707.755.3300 or email at email@example.com. Visits are by appointment only Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Be sure to read TalesoftheCork’s previous blog post, “Boeuf Bourguignon with Deovlet ‘Sonny Boy’.” And if winemakers, wineries or restaurants are interested in a TalesoftheCork wine and/or food review on the blog, Instagram, Twitter and/or Facebook, please send us a request via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or use DM on social media. TalesoftheCork also offers social media seminars for businesses.
With just a little forethought, tonight’s dinner is easily accomplished. Geena and I are getting back to meal planning on Sundays and with a grocery, meat and fish list, great meals are really only 30 minutes of prep time.
Plan to stop and pick up salmon on the way home from work. You will also need two peaches, quinoa, mint, a couple of carrots, celery, cucumber, asparagus and plain yogurt.
Dinner tonight: Grilled spiced salmon with homemade raita dressing, quinoa, roasted asparagus with Romano cheese and grilled peaches.
The trick to great salmon is brushing it with olive oil, adding cracked pepper and a touch of salt. Lightly drip olive oil over the peaches, add Allspice and drizzle (the secret ingredient) Grand Marnier before grilling.
The salmon takes about 8 minutes while the peaches about 6 minutes. It is a good idea to sear both but then grill them off the heat and bake them, allowing the wood and briquets to fill the BBQ with its great smokey flavors.
A great, healthy addition to this meal is quinoa. We added chopped celery and carrots to the quinoa at the very end to add a crunch and to ensure they stay crispy. The sauce or dressing on the grilled salmon is a homemade raita dressing. The cucumber dressing is a favorite in India and is built on a plain yogurt base. Add garlic, shredded cucumber, mint, cracked pepper and a teaspoon of salt.
It is a good idea to refrigerate this mixture for an hour before adding to the grilled salmon. The raita is a great topping as its crisp acidity adds interest to the rich flavor of the salmon. This works well with the spice and smokey char of the grilled fish.
This one dish meal is perfect with a Pinot Noir. We chose Cardwell Hill Cellars 2008 Reserve Estate Willamette Valley in Oregon. Contrary to what others have said online, this Pinot is a winner. I imagine it just needed more time in the bottle to “grow up.” This is a three-clone French-style Pinot Noir: Silky smooth, dark bing cherry earthiness and spice with vanilla and caramel notes. So pretty, light and clean. This can easily be enjoyed by itself or with grilled fish, roast chicken and pork chops. Loved it!
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