Thursday, June 24, 2010

Spicing it Up

Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I'm taking with me when I go.~ Erma Bombeck

I have always had an affinity towards spices.  I've tried growing them in the past but my tendency towards a brown thumb usually destroys the effect.  This year, I vowed, would be different.  Thus far, it has been.

I have one pot on my deck that is JUST basil.  Another that has rosemary, thyme, purple sage and oregano.  A small pot has mint and another small pot has cilantro (although it's a weird cilantro...almost fennel-ish).  So, I have made the commitment to USE my spices this year.
Basil is never an issue.  I make pesto and usually have to go to the farmers market to get enough to fulfill our needs.  But I am determined this year to really experiment.

Tonight...whoo-boy...tonight I think I hit on a winner.  I'm not a fan of salmon.  Well, cooked salmon.  Love it raw but haven't been able to find a recipe for cooked salmon that I find worth the effort to cook.  Until today.

Watching Tyler Florence make a "slash and stuffed"  salmon had my mouth watering so I thought I'd give it a bloody go.  I stopped at the local store and picked up some Copper River Sockeye salmon, hoping I wasn't wasting $9.99/lb (on sale) and crossed my fingers.

I made a compound butter of butter, basil, garlic, lemon and pepper and made slashes in the salmon and "stuffed" the butter in the salmon.  I then slathered the whole salmon top with the butter.  I set the salmon on lemon slices on my fish grate and set the whole grate on the grill and closed the lid.   Within minutes the smell of basil permeated the outside air.  I flipped the salmon so that the slathered butter side was down on the grate and turned off the grill (the salmon wasn't that thick).

We (my husband, sil, and 2 children) sat on the deck and FEASTED.  The salmon was wonderful (especially given I had extra butter and lemon slices) and I served it with grilled/roasted (half the time on the grill, half the time in the oven) asparagus, oven roasted fingerling potatoes with fresh thyme (see a theme?) and a blueberry mango salad with crystallized ginger.  I served a nice ice cold Pinot Grigio with the meal.  My son declared it (the fish) good (two servings....that's a first!).  Beanie LOVED it.

Spices...be not afraid.  Embrace them!

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