Salmon and Farro Salad

Aware that I am into the World Cup in a big way, Gourmay readers across the world are asking me what we serve guests during the game. It used to be that we would serve some antipasti and, perhaps, a little pasta to whet the appetites of our guests. Sadly, after the biting incident in the Italy-Uruguay match, we have had to reconsider our menu because Luis Suarez gives new meaning to the term “al dente” when dining Italian.

Suarez_Cone.jpg

Mind you, I am a refined carnivore and prefer my meat cooked rather than still on the hoof, but I can understand why some people might be attracted to someone’s shoulder if they haven’t been weaned properly as a child. In any event, we have now decided that a trio of salads would be better to keep nationalistic passions in check. Found below is a useful salmon and farro salad courtesy of Mamacita:

Poached Salmon and Farro Salad

Ingredients (Serves 4 to 6)

  • 1 1/4 lb salmon
  • 4 tsp of red wine
  • 4 to 5 sprigs of dill
  • 1/2 cup barley or farro
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 Tbs capers, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs dill snipped
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil

Preparation

  • Poach salmon in water with 4 tsp of red wine and 4 to sprigs of dill.  Cool and flake.
  • Cook barley or farro and then toss with 2 tsp of olive oil and let cool.
  • Combine vegetables with salmon, grain and Dijon.  Season with wine vinegar, lemon juice and salt and pepper.

A penitent Luis Suarez tells me that the salmon salad is best eaten at room temperature.

A Texas Fish Tale and Fried Oysters

I was ridiculed by my relatives for not joining the “good old boys” for a male bonding experience fishing in the Gulf of Mexico over Thanksgiving in Brazoria, Texas.   A “male bonding experience”  is a near-sporting event where males suffering from arrested development tell tall tales and drink beer.   Needless to say, Gourmay’s international consultant preferred to stay home with the chicks and old hens and just gossip.  A lapsang souchong tea at 4 p.m. is quite nice as long as you don’t spill it in the rocking chair.

Now, I will spare you the gruesome details of the outing, but I knew things were not going to be particularly enjoyable when “Pit Bull” Broderick got his nose bent out of joint when asked if he had ever been on a boat before.   An incensed “Pit Bull” had to give his Texas relatives a lesson in geography by retorting that “Of course, I have been on a boat – you moron – Queens is on an island.”  (Editor’s Note: Long Island apparently qualifies as an island and the Staten Island Ferry is a boat.)

BI didn’t endear myself to these intrepid fishermen when I asked them why they were dressed in their camouflage hunting gear when they were going fishing.    I suppose you have got to amortize the cost of this this expensive gear someway, but I didn’t think the fish would be fooled.   (Editor’s Note:  They weren’t!)  “Bogey” Pinson’s camouflage did manage to fool a seagull (see picture to the left), but unfortunately the fish were far more clever and he failed to get even a nibble.   In fact, only two fish were caught that day on what turned out to be a particularly windy and bitterly cold day in the Texas gulf.    Fortunately, the great white hunters did not return empty-handed as they brought back several dozen oysters purchased from the local fish monger.  Of course, these nouveau cowboys had the oysters shucked by “real” fishermen.  Found below is a delightful recipe for Texas Gulf fried oysters:

Texas Gulf Fried Oysters

Ingredients

Preparation

  • Dipped the oysters in the egg wash,
  • Add pepper, garlic powder and tabasco to Louisiana Fish Fry Cornmeal Mix in a gallon bag,
  • Add oysters to mixture and shake so that oysters are lightly covered,
  • Fry oysters at 350° in peanut oil in batches of about two dozen (about 20 seconds to a minute or so until golden brown),
  • After bringing the oysters out of the oil, sprinkle with Slap Ya Mama spice mix.

Generally, I prefer raw oysters, but our not-so-lucky fishermen redeemed themselves with this culinary treat of Texas Gulf oysters.

Pan Bagnat: A Sandwich Worth Eating

GrandmaSeveral years ago while recovering from a severe case of indigestion, I was watching Judge Judy dispense judgement in a Small Claims Court on National TV.   While I don’t normally watch Judy harangue plaintiffs and  accusers alike, this particular case captured my interest:  A woman was suing John Doe (aka Johnny “Black Thumb”) who owned a crematorium and was using the ashes of the deceased to fertilize his organic garden.   It seems that Johnny had toasted the plaintiff’s grandmother and then sold the granddaughter fresh veggies from his organic garden.  The plaintiff was justifiably upset – you might say she went ashen – when she discovered that “putting Grandma out to pasture” was more than a symbolic gesture.

Now, I don’t recall the verdict in this particular case, but I now scrutinize labels that claim to be “organic” to see what percentage of grandma is included.  It just goes to show that cannibalism and organic farming are closer than we think. Speaking of organic farming, how about a delightful picnic treat:  Pan Bagnat.

The English may have invented the sandwich, but the French have certainly perfected it:  Pan Bagnat.    Texans would call this a tuna fish sandwich, but the French call it Pan Bagnat and it tastes so much better.  Melissa Clark of the New York Times made this delightful video on how how to prepare Pan Bagnat.    Do wait 24 hours before diving in, it is worth it.