Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Salmon with Herb-Mustard Glaze (and the Ever-Elusive "Best" Chocolate Chip Cookie)



What to make for a Family Day dinner when everyone in the family is coming and going at different times to/from skating, skiing or playing hockey? Not very sit-down-and-eat-like-a-nuclear-family night but just our reality so I needed something quick and easy that could be served fresh for each of them and still warm their tummies after a day spent out in the cold. This family favourite by Giada fit the bill. Takes less than 10 minutes to throw together and then mere moments under the broiler and right onto the table. I made some couscous earlier in the afternoon, and tossed in some sweet peppers, leftover radish, dill and toasted almonds, so the side dish was ready to go when the plates hit the table.


With dinner taken care of so seamlessly, I then turned my attention to one of the more pressing issues of this year's challenge... the search for the "perfect" chocolate chip cookie recipe. Now, I realize this might be an elusive quest since there are as many recipes out there as there are different tastes and preferences... crispy versus chewy, large versus small, traditional versus nouveau... so this will be quite the journey. Since I've committed myself to also not repeating any cookie recipes this year, I had to turn away from old faithfuls like Martha's or Gourmet's Cookies books, the backs of the chocolate chip packages, etc., and look for something new. Most recipes seem to rely on fairly similar ratios of butter/flour/sugar/eggs, with minor variations here and there, and also temperature changes such as cold/room temp butter, and high or lower oven heat. My family taste-testers will be the ultimate judges as to which of these variables makes the ultimate difference.

For today's recipe, I followed Smitten Kitchen's favourite choice... the only changes from my usual recipe were that she calls for cold, instead of room-temperature, butter and the baking soda is added with the egg and vanilla, instead of with the dry ingredients. I'm not sure if it was our imaginations or if this actually changed the taste of the batter but both Corbin and I found it more acidic when we licked the spoon. The good news was that the final baked cookie was delicious, moist and chewy... just the way we like them. If anyone has a favourite cookie recipe, feel free to forward it and we'll try it out here in the coming weeks.

Broiled Salmon with Garlic, Mustard and Herbs
from Giada's Family Dinners
Serves 4

2 garlic cloves
3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon dry white wine
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
nonstick olive oil cooking spray
4 (6 to 8-ounce) salmon fillets
salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, both mustards, rosemary, and thyme. Mix in the wine and oil and then set the mustard sauce aside. I made the sauce earlier in the day and then just coated the fillets as everyone came through the door.










Preheat the broiler. Line a heavy rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with nonstick spray. Arrange the salmon fillets on the baking sheet and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Broil for 2 minutes. Spoon the mustard sauce over the fillets. Continue broiling until the fillets are just cooked through and golden brown, about 5 minutes longer.

Smitten Kitchen's Favourite Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes about 20 cookies

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt or 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped

Adjust the oven rack to the top third of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat the sugars and butters together until smooth. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and baking soda.

Stir together the flour and salt, then mix them into the batter. Mix in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Scoop the cookie dough into 2-tablespoon balls and place 8 balls, spaced 4 inches apart, on the baking sheets.

Bake for 18 minutes, or until pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Rest of the week

Feb 18 Pizza night

Feb 19 Quick Sausage and Mushroom Lasagna with tossed salad

Feb 20 Went out for Greek food

Feb 21 Salmon with couscous and salad

4 comments:

Lizzy said...

What a delightful dinner!!! Your salmon looks picture perfect, and we love chocolate chip cookies!

Katrina said...

Okay - so your salmon is beautiful. I think it's hard to make fish beautiful but you did it! I don't even eat a lolt of fish but I think I would love to sit down with your colorful dinner!!

Catherine said...

I have had such a craving for salmon lately. This dish looks scrumptious!
Blessings,
Catherine

Kimberly said...

Wow that salmon looks incredible! And that couscous... I think I could just sit and eat that and be very happy! Beautiful cookies too... Yum, yum yum!!

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