Saturday, July 29, 2006
I had decided to try a recipe from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food that sounded like simple elegance - Salmon Packets. A little parsley, a touch of horseradish and a piece of salmon all wrapped up in a delicate phyllo packet.
Now phyllo dough used to stress me out. However, as I got used to working with it, I realized that it's actually more forgiving than I thought - a rip here or there doesn't matter so much - the next layer is bound to cover that over. So, I approached this recipe calmly and did okay with the phyllo. It was a little finicky - phyllo usually is - but I got 3 nice little packets made without too much trouble.
So, it wasn't the phyllo that gave me trouble, it was the little box of supposed convenience food that was the culprit. To be fair, it was really the stupid electric cooktop, not the box of Near East Roasted Garlic with Brown Rice, Pearled Wheat and Bulgur. I set the grains to a boil, reduced it to a simmer and went about my business. The next 10 minutes or so were a series of pot boiling over, me removing pan and reducing heat - repeat. And repeat. And repeat. I was becoming a tad enraged. I finally turned the danged burner down to almost "0" before it would finally stop boiling over.
I HATE my electric cooktop. I dream of the day I can have a gas stove again...............at this rate, that won't be too far off.
Anyway, back to the salmon. As I cooked the rice, I put the salmon in to bake. When I went to check it, the phyllo was already starting to brown too much. That's when I realized I had put the salmon in before the oven was fully preheated. Stupid oven. Okay, that time it was mostly stupid me, but if the oven didn't take so danged long to heat up...........
Oh, and did I mention that the stupid oven that is attached to this stupid cooktop doesn't have a light that automatically turns on when you open the door? Nope - you have to manually turn it on any time you need a little extra light to check your food. I thought that was a pretty standard feature, but......................
Back to the salmon. The recipe said the salmon would cook in about 10 minutes and although we were skeptical, I think that was pretty accurate. Mine got left in a little longer (what with the preheating and all) and it was just a tad overdone.
By the way - the little individually wrapped salmon fillets they sell in the frozen section at places like Sam's Club and Wegman's are perfectly sized for this recipe.
Despite my cooking snafus, everything came out very nicely. The salmon packets were very tasty. I think there are some variations begging to be tried - like spreading pesto on the salmon in place of horseradish. DH thought these would make a great appetizer by turning these into tasty little salmon-phyllo triangles - with pesto or with horseradish. Lots of possibilities. That's what I love about trying new recipes - they often inspire other creative ideas.
Along with the salmon and rice blend, I sauteed some asparagus with lemon juice, salt, and Penzeys Florida Seasoned Pepper.
Whew. Despite the rocky start, it was a very nice dinner and something that I think would make a lovely presentation for guests (and could be completely assembled beforehand). I also like recipes that you can recreate anywhere without having to have the recipe on hand - this one is easy to create from memory. Definitely a keeper.