Dill Salmon

Salmon is a wonderfish. It helps your brain, your skin, your cardiovascular system — just about everything in your body benefits from salmon of the wild variety. To mix up weekday lunches, I cook it ahead and add it to salads. This week’s salad features roasted bell peppers, asparagus and shallots served with lemon-dill wild salmon on a bed of mixed greens. Here’s the recipe — one of the easiest in the world — but so good I must share.

  • 2 4-6 oz fillets of wild salmon
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh dill
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 red bell pepper, chunked
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chunked
  • 1 bunch asparagus, stems trimmed
  • 1 shallot , but into thin rings
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Remove salmon from refrigerator to bring to room temperature. Place fillets on a plate and drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle a generous amount of rough chopped dill on each.

Chop all vegetables and toss in a bowl with 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Arrange on baking sheet and roast in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Heat one tablespoon of oil in pan on medium heat. Once warmed, place salmon fillets skin side down on heated pan. Let cook for 3 minutes, turn and let cook for another 2 minutes (or more if you’re not a fan of lightly cooked salmon — but do not overcook). Remove from pan and drizzle again with lemon juice.

Add roasted vegetables and salmon to mixed greens and drizzle with lemon juice, olive oil and lemon pepper. Simple, delicious, healthy.

Superfish is served.

Traveling for work means eating out all the time. And sometimes it’s crap, making me miss even the oft-made-fun-of Lenny’s Pizza right below my apartment, or worse, the fried chicken place next to Lenny’s (sorry, Dan!). It’s true, New Yorkers are spoiled when it comes to food.

But while I was in DC (National Harbor, Maryland, technically), I stumbled upon a place called Rosa Mexicana, a (gasp!) chain restaurant. This area is depressingly touristy and I was less than excited to spend my per diem at such a kitschy place, with its bright red and green decor begging for passing travelers to spend some time inside.

I fell for it. And I’m glad I did.

For starters I had pork belly and sea scallops tacos served with citrus-habanero salsa (above). These things were riduculously good. There was a generous portion of perfectly cooked pork belly and the scallops were seared nicely. The fruity sauce lightened things up a bit — a nice balance in both taste and color.

For my main dish, I chose from the single-page menu of month-long specials, which happened to advertise Jonathan Waxman as the culinary advisor to the cozy cantina. I went for the Conejo con Fideos, or flash fried pasta with rabbit, chicken, habanero chili roasted tomato salsa, portabello mushroom and scallions. Ever since my rabbit experience at Al Di La, I’ve been fantasizing about the subtle but delicious white meat. This dish was interesting in a good way. Though not each of the pieces of rabbit looked too appealing, there were enough to quench my rabbit desire. The sauce was light and the pasta itself was thin and delicate with a slight crunch. This monster of a dish actually came with sides: A bowl of rice and scallions along with a bowl of black beans.

Though the atmosphere of this restaurant may be a turn-off, the food is no joke. At least at this location. And we can probably thank Jonathan Waxman for that.

As my friends know, I’m obsessed with grilling. Unfortunately, grills in New York City are a rarity. Unless you live in Queens, I guess. They have yards there. But I do not. And I hold grilling to a higher standard than cooking over cheap charcoal in a $20 Hibachi on the fire escape. Luckily, I have friends in suburbia who have the space for grills…and me.

I was recently in Sea Cliff, Long Island, at Wheat Free Sarah’s family house on the water. It was there that our friend Joe impressed the shit out of me. I never knew he could cook, let alone make something so absolutely unique, delicious and refreshing. Here’s how he did it:

  1. Marinate about a pound of peeled and de-veined shrimp in olive oil, fresh cilantro and a splash of Sprite (to add a subtle sweetness)
  2. Cut plum and jalapeno into grillable chunks
  3. After shrimp has marinated for at least an hour, arrange on skewer with plum and jalapeno
  4. Baste with olive oil, lime juice and cilantro and salt while on the grill
  5. Baste again before serving

This recipe screams summer. And though you may find it odd to pair plum, jalapeno and shrimp (as I admit, I did), this dish is a sweet and spicy surprise. Grill it now!

I recently catered a plated, three-course dinner for six at the Manhattan apartment of my client, Jenelle, an amazing woman with amazing friends. After discussing various options for the menu with her, we decided on the following courses:

Ginger carrot soup with a dollop of cream.

This soup is one of my favorites. It is healthy and light but surprisingly filling and flavorful. I often make a large batch of this soup along with some toasted brioche to eat as lunch for the week. It’s pretty strong on the ginger with the recipe below so if you’re a ginger lover, it’s fine as is. If you only like a hint of ginger, however, you may want to add less.

2 tablespoons butter
2 onions, peeled and chopped
6 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (about a 2-inch piece)
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and white pepper

In a dutch oven (preferably) add butter and onion and cook until onion is translucent. Add broth, ginger and carrot and bring to a simmer, cooking until carrots are tender. Add salt and pepper. Turn off heat and use hand blender (or standing blender) to blend ingredients until consistency is smooth but still thick. Add more broth if needed. Garnish with cream. EAT!

Miso glazed cod, haricot vert with carmelized shallot and sliced almonds, and roasted rosemary potatoes.

Bread pudding spheres with homemade whipped cream served atop bananas foster.

Let’s be honest — fire is fun. That’s one of the reasons I love making bananas foster. The other reason? It’s #&*ing delicious! On top of this banana and brown sugar bonanza I added bread pudding rounds. I only have one piece of advice for bread pudding — use challah bread and only challah bread. I also added crushed walnuts to the mix, figuring they would go great with the bananas. They did.

The night was a success!

And thanks to Joseph Zwielich for the great photos on this page.

Fine, it was just a friend’s going away party, but still, I was able to cook for people.

After talking through some hors d’oeuvre options with the hostess, Amy Benson, we settled on a mix of vegetarian, seafood, pork and chicken — one appetizer of each — for the Bushwick-based party. Unfortunately for the pesto artichoke chicken hors d’oeuvre, we could not find Fillo shells anywhere, so we were forced to use Tostitos scoops. This appetizer did not make the cut for photos.

Below are the ones that did:

Homemade toast rounds with goat cheese, thinly sliced cucumber, diced cantaloupe and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette.

Shrimp that was mingled overnight with a dijon mustard, dill and ginger-based marinade then wrapped in one half of a (recently blanched) Asian snow pea.

Delicious pulled pork served on a buttered and grilled brioche bun with homemade pickles. (Apologies for the blurry shot.)