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Salmon flop

FastEddie's picture

So last night was Valentines Day, and in my great XY wisdom I decided to do a recipe from the website ... for the first time.  It was the seared salmon with creamy lemon butter sauce.  it did not work out well at all, and I need some advice.


For cooking the fish, it said to put it in a hot pan for 3-4 minutes on the first side until it was browned, the flip for another minute or so, then into the oven for several minutes.  That made the fish overcooked and not real tasty.  Am I missing something here?


For the sauce, it was pretty simple on paper: the directions said to stir in the butter until it melted and became creamy.  Mine never did get creamy.  It ended up as clear melted butter with the sauteed bits clumped together.


I hesitate to blame the recipe and I would like to try it again, but I need better results.


"Put your creed in your deed."   Emerson


"When asked if you can do something, tell'em "Why certainly I can", then get busy and find a way to do it."  T. Roosevelt

"Put your creed in your deed."   Emerson

"When asked if you can do something, tell'em "Why certainly I can", then get busy and find a way to do it."  T. Roosevelt

thecooktoo's picture

(post #35566, reply #1 of 20)

It would be my opinion that somebody on this forum should have read that recipe before they published it.  3 or 4 minutes in a hot pan will overcook a piece of salmon (unless it's 3 inches thick)...I would have guessed maybe a minute or so on each side, and then the oven if necessary.  I like my salmon still pink in the middle so mine would not have gone to the oven.


For the sauce, it was too hot and separated the butter.  Always take a butter sauce off the stove, let it cool for just a minute then whisk in the butter.


Jim

PeterDurand's picture

(post #35566, reply #2 of 20)

A while back they had a recipe wherein one cooked shrimp for a gawd awful long time. Upwards of 15 - 20 minutes total if I recall. First sauteed then into another dish to bake or poach..I forget the details. When I asked about that, someone on staff was very defensive. All recipes tested and so on. The impression was that "we never make mistakes". It was rather disappointing.

Mind you that has been my only complaint over all these years.

Cheers,

Peter

 


Better life through Zoodles and poutine...
Risottogirl's picture

(post #35566, reply #4 of 20)

If it is the recipe I think it is, it says 2 minutes on the first side (which still could be too much depending on the fillet).


The recipe IS missing some important points though, IMO. This was interesting because until someone who doesn't know how to cook reads and attempts to cook from a recipe, it isn't always apparent how unclear some recipes can be.


Of course, there are people like my SO that thinks that all the instructions are completely flexible and then he wonders why the "recipe" came out terrible.


The other night he decided to make a cake (never in 17 years has he done this) - he didn't see why it mattered to cream the soft butter and sugar then beat in the eggs or to combine the dry ingredients first to be added later. He just dumped it all in a bowl, including rock hard butter from the fridge and broke the hand mixer trying to mix it. Darn butter wasn't mixing in so he threw the whole thing in the micro to melt the butter. What a mess.



Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay



Edited 2/15/2008 12:07 pm ET by Risottogirl

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

chiffonade's picture

(post #35566, reply #5 of 20)

Where is the recipe?

"Sandra Lee is the Culinary Anti-Christ and I am the Anti-Sandra Lee.  The precious moments you may take to measure a level cup of flour are NOT wasted time!"


Chiffonade

*You're a REAL person, eat REAL food."

Chiffonade

Risottogirl's picture

(post #35566, reply #6 of 20)

I think it is this one.

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

chiffonade's picture

(post #35566, reply #7 of 20)

It would be my opinion that somebody on this forum should have read that recipe before they published it.

think it is this one.

Ah.....The way I read the top line, I was under the impression that a forum member wrote the recipe and posted it here at CT.  I'm now understanding that it was a member of the staff of FC... Is that correct?


"Sandra Lee is the Culinary Anti-Christ and I am the Anti-Sandra Lee.  The precious moments you may take to measure a level cup of flour are NOT wasted time!"


Chiffonade

*You're a REAL person, eat REAL food."

Chiffonade

AnnL's picture

(post #35566, reply #10 of 20)

Oh, my, that is TOO funny about your SO!  Has he learned a lesson?

Ann
"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

Ann
"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

Risottogirl's picture

(post #35566, reply #12 of 20)

I seriously doubt it.


A few years ago when I was in France, he wanted to learn how to make the stuffing my mom makes for Tgiving, so he asked her for a list of  EXACT ingredients and he bought it all and went up to Maine so she could show him how to make it. He was thrilled, he watched her, took notes and came home.


He figured, why waste all that time, pulling the bread apart (unsliced loaves of soft sandwich loaf) by hand and then drying it in the oven, I'll just buy dry breadcrumbs. They are smaller so they'll cook better and they are already dry - saves time.


Egg yolks add too much fat, and he tried separating them and made a mess so he left out the eggs. He forgot to buy chicken broth or thaw any from the freeser, so he used 12  (twelve!!!)bouillion cubes (to replace the eggs and BOOST the flavor, he says).


It takes too long to chop the onion and celery small, so he cut then bigger and he didn't want to dirty a pan sauteing them so he nuked tham beyond regonition (mush)


He couldn't find any dry ground sage and thought cinnamon would be a better sub than FRESH SAGE (from the window planter) because it is the same color and texture. CINNAMON?????


I REALLY wish I could have seen this "stuffing" for real and maybe even tasted it. he emailed me a picture and asked what I thought went wrong. When he started telling me all this I was laughing so hard I couldn't stay on the phone.


 


 



Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay


Edited 2/15/2008 11:46 am ET by Risottogirl

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

PeterDurand's picture

(post #35566, reply #16 of 20)

You gotta be making this up! LOL

 


Better life through Zoodles and poutine...

Risottogirl's picture

(post #35566, reply #18 of 20)

I'm not!!


It is very strange, because he can taste subtle differences...like olive oil, he can almost always tell if it is Italian or French. He can detect flavors in cheeses quite well too.


He has never read the instructions to ANYTHING as long as I have known him. His cell phone is a long discontinued model  (he buys them on ebay, so he won't have to deal with a new model) and this week, his work issued him a blackberry and he hates it but won't look at the instructions.


Mind you he was a network administrator and has been in tech sales.


He is going to be a nighmare when he gets old.


 


Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

soupereasy's picture

(post #35566, reply #20 of 20)

ROFL!!!! That is too funny!
I have a brother who does things like that then wonders where he went wrong. I usually get a phone call about halfway through his efforts, the "Rosie what do I do...?" calls.

avak123's picture

(post #35566, reply #19 of 20)

No wonder you don't like cake! LOL

Risottogirl's picture

(post #35566, reply #3 of 20)

I think cooking fish this way takes some practice because there are a number of factors that will affect the outcome. This is pretty much my standard method of cooking fish and it is great once you get the hang of it. Very adaptable!


How thick were your filets ? Thinner will cook faster, smaller margin of error.


Was your pan hot enough ? It needs to be very hot to sear the outside without cooking the inside too much.


Reread the recipe, I think it says "Cook without touching for 2 min. Using a spatula, lift a corner of the salmon, check that it’s both well browned and easily releases from the pan, and flip it over"


If it isn't well browned after 2 minutes, your pan probably wasn't hot enough to start. One thing I do differently - I don't cook the other side at all on the stovetop, I flip it and pop it into the oven - that is how I was taught many years ago in France and I have always done it that way.


Since your fish was most likely pretty well cooked through when it went into the oven, that is where it went over the edge.


I urge you to use a thermometer until you get a feel for it... remember, it will continue to cook while resting...and you can always pop it back in if it is underdone, but you cannot correct overdone.


Now the sauce is basically a beurre blanc. It sounds simple and it is but again...practice! 


 Did you blot away the excess oil from the pan - this is important!


Also you used the word "stir" and the recipe says "whisk" - this makes a difference!


The recipe does not say that the cubes of butter should be cold but they should be! They should be quite small, like a centimeter. It is important to add just a few at a time, and whisk, whisk, whisk.


The shallot should be a very fine dice and rosemary should be finely chopped as well.


The devil is in the details - hey you get an A for effort! Practice some more...this is a great technique to master because you can adapt it in many ways!


 


 


Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

gmunger's picture

(post #35566, reply #8 of 20)

You said everything I would have said, and more. I would add that whatever you are cooking by this method, the moisture/fat content will make a huge difference. With salmon, fat content varies substantially. The difference, for instance, between a wild Yukon or Copper River fish and those wimpy farmed things is huge. The higher the fat content, the more leeway you have. Same with, say, a piece of venison and a cut of feedlot beef. Pound for pound, the venison will cook quicker and have a narrower window between perfect and shoe leather. The beauty about salmon is, the wild meat is actually easier to cook (not to mention it tastes better, it's healthier for humans, and it's more ecologically sustainable).


Not sure why you would leave the pan on the stovetop after the flip. The pan surface will remain hot enough after you put it in the oven to brown the 2nd side.


 


 As Napoleon is reputed to have said about champagne, “in victory you deserve it; in defeat you need it.”


 

 

We are truly what we eat, and too many people are fast, cheap and easy. Who owns your food owns you, and it is unwise to let that power rest in the hands of a very few wealthy corporations.
Risottogirl's picture

(post #35566, reply #9 of 20)

Not sure why you would leave the pan on the stovetop after the flip. The pan surface will remain hot enough after you put it in the oven to brown the 2nd side.


Exactly!  Pavés de saumon à l'unilatérale


Excellent points about the types of salmon and wild vs farmed (yuck!)  The farmed salmon folks have really done an excellent job marketing their product. Numerous times I have been at WF and there is wild and farmed salmon and even when the price is the SAME or the wild is less $$, some people STILL buy farmed! 


I asked the fish manager there why does he think that happens and he said that some people think the wild is too fishy (umm, have chicken then) or THEY THINK FARMED IS BETTER FOR SUSTAINABILITY (no!) and the ENVIRONMENT (no! no!).



Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay


Edited 2/15/2008 11:45 am ET by Risottogirl

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

gmunger's picture

(post #35566, reply #11 of 20)

I would ask the manager why WFs even sells that caca.

 


 As Napoleon is reputed to have said about champagne, “in victory you deserve it; in defeat you need it.”


 

 

We are truly what we eat, and too many people are fast, cheap and easy. Who owns your food owns you, and it is unwise to let that power rest in the hands of a very few wealthy corporations.
Risottogirl's picture

(post #35566, reply #13 of 20)

Because people want what they want regardless of whether it is in season or not. And WF is a business.


Oh, don't get me started on this today :)  We are of similar minds on this, I think!


Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

teebee's picture

(post #35566, reply #14 of 20)

This recipe is one of my favorites (if it is the one posted above).  Did you let the wine evaporate long enough?  I have made that mistake.  Also, is it possible the fish just wasn't good?  I live smack dab in the middle of nowhere, so I have to take what I can find (we have two grocery stores where I shop and a Wal-Mart where I don't shop in my town), and it still usually turns out pretty well.  I am not a trained chef (unless you count a lot of reading and "trial and error"), so I appreciate the other comments made here.


I have to share story about "fishy" taste.  I have had this conversation, word for word, with both my husband's grandmother and sister at different times in two different restaurants:


G'ma/sister-in-law:  How's the fish?


Me:  It's good.


G'ma:  Does it taste fishy?


Me:  It's fish.


G'ma:  But I don't like fish if it tastes fishy.


Me:  Then order chicken.

ouzo's picture

(post #35566, reply #15 of 20)

The pan searing may appeal to you.  However, if you are open to another method of cooking salmon, try this next time:


Line broiler pan with foil and cook at 250 for 45 minutes.  No need to adjust time for large or small pieces. 


I like this slow cook method.  A guy at the fish store told us about it a few years ago.  The fish is always moist. 


"The best tricks are the simplest and the simplest tricks are the oldest" -Simon the owl

  No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted - Aesop, The Lion & the mouse

FastEddie's picture

(post #35566, reply #17 of 20)

Yep, that's the recipe.  Couple of comments:


If it sticks or isn’t well browned, cook for 1 to 2 more min.  So It's possible to have 4 minutes on the first side.


The butter had been in the fridge until about 5 minutes befoe it hit the pan.  And I cut the quarter into thirds the long way, flipped on its side and cut into thirds again (that's 9 skinny strips) and then about every 1/4" .


From the sauce portion:  (If the butter is slow to melt, set the pan over low heat.)  Maybe that was part of the problem, I put it back on the cooker.  Probably got it too hot.


I used a cast iron skillet cuz I did not have a teflon pan that I wanted to put in the oven.   When the skillet looked hot, I flicked a couple of drops of water in the pan and they evaporated right away.  When i brought it out of the oven, therer wasn't any excess oil to soak up with a paper towel.


The wine was sauted until it was almost gone. 


What's the difference between whisking and stiring?  Using a whisk, of course, which I did, but what else?



"Put your creed in your deed."   Emerson


"When asked if you can do something, tell'em "Why certainly I can", then get busy and find a way to do it."  T. Roosevelt


Edited 2/15/2008 12:09 pm ET by FastEddie

"Put your creed in your deed."   Emerson

"When asked if you can do something, tell'em "Why certainly I can", then get busy and find a way to do it."  T. Roosevelt