Saturday, January 31, 2015

Salmon "Nicoise" Salad | Garlic Aioli

If you like your veggies and fish, then this recipe is for you!  

A few nights ago I had taken some fresh frozen salmon out of the freezer.  Unfortunately, I never got around to making it, life got in the way!  Every night since pulling the salmon out of the freezer, I would see it in the fridge and think…what can I do with it that is quick and easy? 

For some reason, my latest recipe search has been salads.  After looking at many different salad recipes, I decided to create my own version of a nicoise salad…Now I know that what I am about to show to you is not a traditional nicoise salad, but that is what I am going to call it, regardless.

Nicoise salads include potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs and maybe some onion and black olives served with some type of vinaigrette.  My recipe is very simple and only requires one pot…amazing for a week night!  Most of my ingredients I already had on hand and just pulled out of the pantry (red potatoes, garlic, olive oil) and the fridge (carrots, green beans, eggs, salmon). 

Salmon “Nicoise” Salad with Garlic Aioli

3 small filets of salmon, skin removed
2 cups of mini carrots, sliced in half
8-10 small red potatoes, quartered
1 bag of frozen green beans
Chopped romaine lettuce
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Fill a pot with water and season with salt.  Let the water come to an early boil and add potatoes and carrots.  Cook until both are tender.  Remove the potatoes and carrots from the pot and set aside in a bowl.

Next add the frozen green beans and cook in the same pot and water.  When beans are finished, remove them from the pot and add them to the veggies in the bowl.  Add the salmon to the pot and cook until the salmon is a nice peachy-pink color, generally 8-10 minutes.  

This method of cooking is called poaching.  It is a great way to cook the salmon, as the salmon will absorb the flavors of the veggies from the cooking water.  Poaching will keep the salmon moist and there is not worry about the fish being overcooked and dry. 

While the salmon poaches in the cooking water, make the garlic aioli.  You can use a small food processor or an immersion blender.  Mince the garlic and add to the food processor.  Add the yolks and lemon juice and begin to pulse until somewhat combined.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while pulsating the food processor.  

Keep pulsating until the mixture is smooth and blended.  Make sure to add salt and pepper to taste.  You can keep going until the mixture has the consistency of mayonnaise, but I prefer the consistency to a little less thick so that I can drizzle it over whatever is being served.  *I would be cautious in serving young children this garlic aioli due to the fact it contains raw egg yolk*

Assembly the salad with romaine lettuce on the bottom of plate.  Then add the carrots, beans and potatoes.   Break up the salmon and add it to the top of the salad.  Drizzle the aioli over the salad and add additional salt and pepper, if desired. 

This salad was delicious and refreshing.  This will definitely be added to our dinner rotation.  I can’t wait for the spring and summer months when I can grill the salmon covered in some sort of marinade. I will be looking into creating a recipe for that!  

With Valentine’s Day approaching, this would be a great meal to prepare and serve if you wanted a lighter meal…then you could indulge with a nice, rich chocolate dessert!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Shirley Temple Float | Valentine’s Treat for Two

This summer I discovered a delicious soda that is based off of one of my favorite drinks as a child.  When I was little and we would go out for dinner, my parents would always order me a Shirley Temple.  I felt like a grown up with this fancy pink drink in my hand.  The time has passed and I no longer order Shirley Temple drinks for myself, but I do order them for my children.  I will, however, sneak a sip when they are not looking.

This summer I saw in my grocery store a Shirley Temple soda made by Saranac.  Saranac is also known for its many refreshing and tasty crafted beers.  I was so excited to see this soda and could not wait to try it.  Fast forward a few months and this is the latest way I have been using Saranac Shirley Temple soda…

Shirley Temple Vanilla Float

1 bottle Shirley Temple Soda
1-2 scoops of vanilla ice cream
Frosty glass or mug

Scoop ice cream into a frosty glass or mug.  I really like a vanilla bean ice cream, which is sweet and creamy.  You can use any type of vanilla ice cream you prefer.  Pour the soda over the ice cream and watch it fizzle and cream together, instantly.  Make sure to have your straw and spoon ready.

It is magic in a glass.  It is creamy, sweet and refreshingly cold.  

This would be a great dessert after a homemade Valentine’s dinner.  Two people could share it with two straws!

Maraschino cherries would be a great addition, either at the bottom of the glass, on top or put on the straw…will have to try that next time!