Nov. 6th
2009
written by scott

salmon with cauliflower quenelle
As home chefs are becoming more adventurous, the line  between home and restaurant cooking is getting blurrier (read: moms making towers of PB&J on brioche with fireweed honey bruleé).  Since I’ve yet to attend culinary school, I can only fantasize that my kitchen resides in the back of a hip restaurant.  But if it did, here’s a dish I wouldn’t mind serving.  The sweetness of the vegetable puree is a cooling offset to the heat of the curry.  When working with small cuts of salmon, be sure not to overcook it. 

Total kitchen time: 1 hour
Makes: 4 carefully plated servings

Special equipment: immersion blender or blender, chinois or fine strainer or cheesecloth

Shopping list:

  • 1 small head cauliflower
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 leek (dark green part discarded), diced
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 stalks thyme, placed in a tea bag or bundled together with twine
  • 2 lbs. salmon fillet, skin and pin bones removed
  • 2 tsp. red curry powder
  • 2 tsp. turmeric
  • olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  1. Preheat your oven (or toaster oven) to 400°F and set the top rack 6-8” from the heating element.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into small fleurettes (little pieces) and toss with olive oil and salt to coat.  Spread onto a lined baking sheet and roast until soft and just slightly browned around the edges, about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a high-sided, heavy-bottomed skillet.  When it just begins to smoke, add the onion, leek and shallot.  Reduce heat to medium and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. 
  4. Add the white wine, stirring up any browned bits from the bottom.  Bring to a boil and cook until the wine is reduced about 2/3rds.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir in the cream.  Add the thyme and simmer about 10 minutes.  Remove the thyme and discard.
  5. Add the roasted cauliflower to the onion mixture.  Using an immersion blender (or transferring the whole thing to your blender) blend until smooth.  Transfer the mixture to a fine strainer or cheesecloth, with a bowl placed underneath.  Strain all the liquid you can from the mixture, and reserve.  The mixture remaining in your strainer should have the consistency of mashed potatoes.
  6. Using two spoons of the same size, divide the vegetable mixture into 4 parts and shape into quenelles (little round things).  Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Roast 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  7. Divide the salmon fillet into 4 servings and coat with curry powder, turmeric, sea salt and olive oil.  Sear in a hot skillet over high heat, about 2 minutes per side (timing will vary; look for the doneness creeping up the side of the fillet.  Some pink is good.
  8. To serve, spoon the reserved liquid into the bottom of a large bowl or plate, then top with a salmon fillet and a quenelle. 

I love the balance of flavors and fresh ingredients in this dish, but even more, I love that it let’s me play chef in my own kitchen. 

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3 Comments

  1. 06/11/2009

    Fantastic — I love using cauliflower and these applications are inspiring. Cheers to the adventurous home-cook. I still love going out to eat, but it’s so gratifying to make a delicious and interesting meal at home!

  2. 06/11/2009

    This looks delicious – we’re always on the lookout for curried seafood recipes, and I love the idea of combining the salmon with the vegetable puree. ~ Belle

  3. The Slave of the Husband

    Trying to get in advance to finding out excess from you afterward!…

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