It is St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, and no one in this household likes what is sold as “corned beef” in the supermarkets (I understand that if you can find Italian corned beef it is much closer to the original). In fact, except for Chris, my son-in-law whose family is from Boston, we do not favor “boiled dinners” (everything thrown into the same pot and boiled). For us the classic Irish main dish is the Salmon of Knowledge.
Many of the “traditional” Irish salmon recipes call for citrus fruit that most of the Irish would not have had on a regular basis (sorry, I just read a “rant” on this–see Karl’s Colcannon). Other recipes add Irish whiskey to the pot. I am Irish enough (grandmother’s side) to think this should be a capital crime. Irish whiskey is for drinking and don’t you dare put water or ice in it.
I finally found a recipe that gave me the idea I was looking for on Irish Abroad. Roasting the salmon on a bed of leeks, A little butter, salt and pepper and it would be a feast.
Note after dinner: I liked the simple salmon and leek flavors, but Jan wanted Irish nouvelle cuisine. “Everybody’s food gets better with globalization!” So much for traditions, add lemon wedges to be served on the side.
Karl’s Roasted Salmon with Leeks
2 Tbs. butter
2 leeks, sliced fine
1 Tbs. water
1 tsp. Kosher salt, separate uses
1-2 lb. salmon filet (depending on how many you are feeding)
½ tsp. ground pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Set a casserole dish, with a cover, on a low burner and melt the butter.
3. Add the leeks, ½ tsp. salt and water to the casserole and toss to coat the vegetables with the butter.
4. Cover and bake 20 minutes, stirring once half way through.
5. Scale and cut the filet into portions, but do not remove the skin.
6. Remove the casserole from oven and place the salmon portions on top, skin down.
7. Season the fish with pepper and salt.
Note: Alternative to steps 6 & 7—Pull the leaks to the side of the casserole and place the portions in the open space, skin down. Salt and pepper the salmon and cover them evenly with the leeks. It depends on if you want the salmon juices to flow into the leeks or the leek juices to flow over the salmon.
8. Return the uncovered casserole to oven and continue baking, until salmon is opaque, about 11 to 15 minutes (depending on the thickness of the filet.
9. Serve in the casserole.