Did anyone else catch this wonderful series when it was on PBS, Jacques and Julia, Cooking at Home? I saw several episodes, and I must have contributed to our local station, because I have the beautiful cookbook. One recipe I especially enjoy making is Jacques’ recipe for Salmon in Potato Case. It’s basically a piece of salmon, seasoned with salt, pepper, and dill, between two layers of crispy fried potato slices. Mmmm. Salmon may well be my favorite fish, though I love good tuna as well. And potatoes, fried in butter and olive oil, with a touch of dill to set them off? What’s not to love about that? Yummy. So, when I asked Ted what he would like for dinner the other day, and he said, “how about fish?”, I’m glad that I remembered this recipe and cooked it that night. Now you too can enjoy this delicious treat. This recipe makes enough for 1 serving, so if you’re cooking for more than just you, you’re going to want to double, triple, whatever.
Salmon in Potato Case
One 2-inch-wide salmon fillet – center cut (about 5 oz)
1/8 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 large russet potato
2 tsp chopped dill
2 tsp butter
2 tsp vegetable oil
Tomato Coulis (recipe following)
1 or 2 sprigs fresh dill, as garnish
1st, butterfly the salmon fillet, stopping just short of slicing through entirely. Open the two sides up like a book and flatten the piece out. The butterflied piece should be about 1/2 inch thick. Season both sides of fish with salt and pepper.
Peel the potato, and, using a mandolin or a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife, cut very thin lengthwise slices. Lay about 5 or 6 pieces, slightly overlapping, on your work surface and set the salmon on top. You should use just enough potato slices to make a bottom covering for the fish. Heat the butter and oil in a non-stick frying pan, and when it is sizzling, pick up the potato-lined piece of salmon and slip it into the pan. Sprinkle the dill on top and cover the fish with 5 or 6 more slices of potato.
Cook over moderate heat for 4 to 5 minutes, then check to see if the bottom has browned. When well crusted, turn the fish over carefully and cook the other side about 4 to 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are browned.
Spoon several tablespoons of the coulis onto a serving plate; then, with the back of a spoon, clear a place in the center. Carefully pick up the potato-encrusted salmon with your spatula and arrange it in the center of the plate with the coulis surrounding it. Garnish with sprigs of dill.
This is nowhere near as gorgeous as the picture in the cookbook, but hopefully it gives you some idea of what he’s talking about. In the cookbook picture, the potatoes are very uniform, and lined up perfectly, etc. But I don’t have a mandolin, and my knives aren’t super sharp, either, so my potatoes came out kind of cattywampus. Doesn’t matter, they still taste yummy.
The tomato coulis recipe is given in paragraph form, so I’m giving it to you that way. In this part of the book, he uses it with scrambled eggs rather than salmon and potatoes. The side dish is just a ‘Mexican’ salad that I picked up at the Safeway deli.
SautÃ© 1/4 cup of chopped onion (with a crushed, unpeeled garlic clove, if you like) in a couple of teaspoons of olive oil until soft. Chop 1 large or 2 small tomatoes into 1-inch pieces – about 2 cups – and add to the onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 12 to 15 minutes. Push the thickened tomatoes through the medium plate of a food mill to make the coulis (I skipped this step and served mine as is, and not as smooth). Serve warm.