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CHEF'S CORNER

 
Pan seared salmon with
an amaretto glaze served with garlicky snap peas and
wild mushroom risotto drizzled with
a sun-dried tomato pesto
By Ahamefula Amachi

 

What's not to like about salmon? It's such a versatile fish, it can be seared, roasted, grilled, barbequed, cured, smoked, and poached. As well as being able to be supported by strong or subtle flavors without becoming overwhelmed or left flat. I think this month's recipe with help to illustrate this point.
 
Ingredients
 
For Amaretto glaze:
 

  • 8 fl oz amaretto

  •  
  • 2 tblsp soy sauce

  •  
  • 4 fl oz orange liqueur

  •  
  • 6 fl oz orange juice NO PULP

  •  
    For Sun-dried tomato pesto:
     
  • 1 pt sun-dried tomato rehydrated

  •  
  • 8 leaves basil minced

  •  
  • 2 cloves garlic rough chop

  •  
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

  •  
  • 1 1/2 cup olive oil

  •  
    For Wild mushroom risotto:
     
  • 1 cup Arborio rice

  •  
  • 1 med onion sm. Dice

  •  
  • 2 oz. butter

  •  
  • 2qt + 3 cups chicken stock

  •  
  • 6 sm shitake mushrooms julienne

  •  
  • 3 lg oyster mushrooms julienne

  •  
  • 5 lg crimini mushrooms sm dice

  •  
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

  •  
  • 2 tsp olive oil

  •  
  • Salt & pepper to taste

  •  
    For Pan seared salmon:
     
  • 2 6oz salmon fillets skin off

  •  
  • 1 lb snap peas cleaned

  •  
  • 2 cloves garlic minced

  •  
  • 6 fl. Oz. olive oil

  •  
    Preparation Amaretto glaze:
     

    1) In a medium saucepan add the amaretto glaze ingredients and place on the stove over medium high heat.
     
    2) Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let glaze simmer until it begins to thicken. Remove the glaze from the heat and let cool.
     
    3) Place the glaze in the refrigerator until it is ready be used.
     
    NOTE: If the glaze seems too thick it can be thinned out with a few teaspoons of water.
     

    Preparation Sun-dried tomato pesto:
     
    1) Place rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes, basil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese in a food processor or blender.
     
    2) Slowly add the oil to the mixture until the pesto takes on the consistency of a vinaigrette. (not to thick and not watery)
     
    3) Taste the pesto add salt if necessary.
     
    4) The pesto can be placed in squeeze bottles if you some available. If not it can be place in a plastic container and refrigerated until needed.
     

    Preparation risotto:
     
    1) In a medium stock pot heat 5 cups of stock.
     
    2) Place a medium sauce pan on the stove over medium heat. Add the butter to the pan let melt then add the diced onion to the pan and let them sweat until they become soft.
     
    3) Add the Arborio rice to the pan and lightly toast.
     
    4) Add a half cup of stock to the pan and let cook over medium heat.
     
    5) Keep adding stock as it reduces until the rice reaches an al dente state.
     
    6) Remove rice from the heat and spread on a sheet tray and let cool.
     
    7) Place rice in a plastic container and refrigerate until you are ready to use.
     
    NOTE: All three of these can made at least a day in advance.
     

    Day of preparation:
     
    1) Preheat oven to 350°
     
    2) Heat 3 cups of stock
     
    3) Preheat three medium saute pans over medium heat.
     
    4) In one of the saute pans add 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Add the mushrooms to the saute pan and let cook for about 30 seconds
     
    5) Add the risotto to the mushroom pan. Add a 1/2 cup of stock let reduce.
     
    6) Continue to add stock to the risotto and let reduce until it reaches a creamy consistency.
     
    7) Add the parmesan cheese. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if needed.
     
    8) Remove risotto from the heat.
     
    9) Add 3 teaspoons of oil to the second saute pan. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and place it skin side up into the pan.
     
    10) Let salmon sear in the pan for 30 seconds then flip the fish onto its skin side. Brush the seared side of the salmon with the amaretto glaze.
     
    11) Remove the salmon from the pan and place it in an oven safe pan**. Place the salmon in the oven and let finish to your desired doneness.
     
    12) As the salmon is finishing in the oven add 2 teaspoons of olive oil into the last saute pan. Place the snap peas into the pan. Let them sit for 20 seconds and then add the minced garlic and give the pan a gentle toss.
     
    13) Season the peas with salt and pepper and let finish for another 10 seconds and remove from the heat.
     

    Plating:
     
    1) Place a serving spoon sized portion of risotto in the center of your plate.
     
    2) Rest the glazed salmon angling on the side of the risotto.
     
    3) Lay the snap peas next to the salmon on either side of the salmon.
     
    4) Drizzle the sun-dried pesto around the plate and enjoy.
     
    5) Repeat steps 1-4 for the second fish.
     
    ** If you have an oven safe saute pan that can right in the oven instead of transferring the fish into a baking dish.
     

    Aham is a graduate of The Restaurant School in Philadelphia. He has worked as cook at Cuvee Notre Dame in Philadelphia and Sous Chef at the former 'Stazi Milano' in Jenkintown. Currently, he is the Manager of Operations for The Philadelphia Catering Company.
     
     
     
     

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