Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cook's Illustrated Salmon

Years ago, (a decade ago if I'm honest), I had a subscription to Cook's Illustrated. This was back when I sort of wanted to be a great cook, but certainly had no real skills. It turns out, over the years that cooking is one of the few things I actually stuck with.

A Brief Incomplete List of Things I've Quit This Decade :
  • dog training (my own dog that is, ill mannered beastie)
  • rollerblading
  • knitting
  • ballet class
  • tai chi
At least I'm good at cooking right? I probably owe it all to this salmon.

modified slightly from the September & October 2000 issue
serves 2

3/4 lb to 1 lb filet of salmon (depending on appetite)- if possible request a piece that is a uniform thickness. If one side is fat and the other is skinny it is hard to cook correctly.
1 slice of sliced white bread, crusts removed (don't use something that is too mushy)
1/3 c crushed plain potato chips (you want the chips as potato-y as possible, and the bits to be little, 1/8" pieces)
2 T chopped dill
olive oil
pinch salt &pepper
1 T Dijon Mustard

I cook mine in my toaster oven, but if you use your real oven, cooks says to adjust the rack to the top position (about 3 inches from the heat source) and move the second rack to the upper-middle position and preheat to 400. For the toaster oven I don't preheat.

To make the crust, put the bread in your food processor and pulse until it's in small (1/4") bits. I needed to cut my bread in a few pieces before putting it in my mini-chop, but you may not need to. Spread the crumbs on a baking sheet and toast (I do this in the toaster oven using my toast button, but if you're using the 400 oven, use the lowest rack). Shake the pan once or twice during cooking, it should be toasty in about 4-5 minutes, but watch it, you don't want it dark AT ALL. Then put the whole potato chips in a plastic bag and crush them down to size. In a small bowl, mix together the chips, the toasty crumbs and your chopped dill. Reserve to use as the crust.

Now turn whichever oven you're using to broil. Cover a baking sheet with foil. Rub it with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil until almost done - the end should be opaque and flaky and the flesh on to should be opaque as well. This should take 9 minutes for a thin piece and around 11 for a thick piece. Pull it out and spread the Dijon mustard over the top. This will help the crust stick, so make sure you cover everything. Then gently pat the mixture of potato chips, crumbs and dill onto the fish. Return to the toaster oven for 1 more minute (in a regular oven put it on the middle rack for that minute). Make sure the fish is cooked as much as you'd like and serve. The mustard and dill combination is delicious and the potato chips ensure that the crust is crispy and not soggy and yucky.


JMLC said...

*I* happen to think you have many, many skilz. The cooking is just the tip of the iceberg!!!

Anonymous said...

Sounds terrific! I'm also checking out new ways to approach Salmon

mom said...

I'm with J. I actually know you; you have many talents and you could still do the things you listed if you had time and the inclination. (not so sure about the beastie- he may be untrainable for sure; at least he is cute) So there. Besides, I LOVE the idea of salmon (so good for you) AND potato chips (maybe not so good for you) in the same dish.


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