SAN DIEGO - This is one of my favorite dishes to prepare for company, because it can be served hot or cold and is full of flavor yet low in fat. If you are looking for a lighter taste, try large scallops, fresh (not frozen) and served over a bed of baby greens lightly tossed in lemon basil vinaigrette.
This dish is great for lunch or dinner and pairs well with a chardonnay. Enjoy!
Cucumber Dill Sauce (This should be prepared first and placed in refrigerator to give flavors a chance to completely develop)
2 large peeled seeded cucumber, grated and drained
1/2 tsp sea salt*
2 tbsp grated onion
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 cup plain low fat yogurt
1/4 cup light mayonnaise (optional)
1 spring of fresh dill, finely chopped*
1/8 tsp pepper
In a mixing bowl place grated cucumber, onion, dill, salt and stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to serve.
6 medium to large salmon steaks or fillets*
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 tsp pickling spices
8 whole peppercorns
2 springs of fresh dill*
1 small onion quartered
1 celery stalk, cut into 4 pieces
1 large carrot, cut into 4 pieces
2 cloves garlic, smashed
Small square of cheesecloth
Piece of twine
Place broth in a deep skillet (not cast iron), along with onion, celery, carrot and dill. Next place peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic and pickling spices in cheese cloth square and tie with twine and add to broth. Bring to a rolling boil and after 10 minutes reduce heat to a simmer, remove cheesecloth containing spices and remove vegetables and discard.
Place Salmon steaks or fillets (cook only 2 to 3 steaks or filets at a time to ensure even cooking) in poaching liquid, taking care to slide them into liquid to prevent splashing. Depending on the thickness of the fish you will poach them for no less than 5 minutes and no more than 10 minutes (this is very important, if cooked too long even though you are poaching the salmon in liquid, overcooking them can cause them to be tough and dry). Once fish is done remove from liquid and let cool somewhat before placing on bed of baby greens.
If you are serving this dish cold, you can cook the salmon ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to serve. Cucumber dill sauce can be poured over fish or served on the side.
This last step should be done just before serving:
1 bag of pre-washed baby greens
(or your favorite salad mix will do just fine)
1/2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar dressing
Dash of pepper
Place olive oil, pepper and dressing in bowl and stir with wire whisk. Add greens and toss to lightly coat.
*If you do not have access to fresh dill, substitute dry dill instead. But remember -- dried herbs are more concentrated so you will not need to use as much as fresh. For this recipe use 1/2 teaspoon of dried dill for the cucumber sauce and 1 teaspoon in the spice bag for the poaching liquid.
*Whenever you are planning to cook fish always buy it the same day you intend to cook it. If you can buy it whole and have the butcher cut it into filets for you this will ensure even thickness in your salmon filets.
Buying fish whole gives you a chance to check for freshness by looking at the eyes to make sure they are plump and glossy, not flat and watery looking, which can mean the fish is not fresh and is most likely frozen and thawed. The scales should be intact and not flake off easily when pried. If you are not sure about the fish you are going to buy just ask the butcher if the fish comes in frozen or fresh.
*Try to buy your fish from a seafood market whenever possible for the most variety and maximum freshness.
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