07 January 2013
Poached salmon with peas and mushrooms
I sat on this for a few days because I wasn't sure how it would go over. I'm still not sure, but I think it's important enough that I'm just going to bring it up and see how you guys respond.
I'm pretty happy with how we've started off the year of food. I mean, we're still at the very end of vacation, and have eaten a bit of restaurant food already, but I'm okay with that. We don't do resolutions at our house. I'm not going to beat myself up for eating a dosa. Everything is fine. And when I actually started cooking myself new year's food, my brain and body wanted poached fish. So I made poached fish.
Man, could I be more defensive? Probably.
I tend to stay away from discussing this kind of thing because I find it horrifying that anyone should be smacked around by perceptions of female beauty. I myself have largely escaped this type of body issue. How did that happen? I think it was a convenient confluence: I met traditional beauty standards while not really caring what other people thought. But it's unhappily clear that I am an infrequent exception to the norm when I discover foodblog posts about following certain diets, or self-consciously targeting exercise to a particular body area, or overcoming eating disorders that should never have had to occur in the first place. January is a particularly bad time for this, with page upon page of new year's resolutions outlining how this year the author will Be Good and Eat Healthy, too often with a galloping subtext of self-hatred and dysmorphia. I especially don't like how I notice myself also edging into self-judgement after reading these things, even when I actually think what I'm eating is healthy and normal.
No one should have to deal with body hatred, especially in conjunction with food--something that should be joyful and amazing. Obviously a simple statement like that is not going to suddenly change things, though. The situation is far too problematic. So I don't quite know where to go, or if I'm even qualified to open a discussion, and I REALLY don't want to alienate anyone or exacerbate the problem in any way. But I also think the subject is too important to ignore.
I think the best thing for me to do is to acknowledge the situation here, but also to continue simply presenting cooking and eating food as an approachable, delicious, and normal experience. That's how I normally see food, and that's how I hope others can see it too. So that's what I'm going to do.
I made poached salmon and vegetables because I wanted poached salmon and vegetables. They were really good.
Poached salmon with peas and mushrooms
filet of salmon
salt & pepper
parsley & lemon to garnish
Fill a small saute pan with about an inch to an inch and a half of water--enough to cover your piece of salmon. Add a bay leaf and a generous sprinkle of salt, and bring the pan to a boil. Slide in your fish, reduce the heat to simmer, lid the pan, and poach for about five minutes, or until done to your taste. The timing will depend on the filet's thickness.
In the meantime, slice up a shallot and a big handful of mushrooms. In another saute pan, melt a chunk of butter or warm some oil. Add the shallot and saute for a minute or two, until softened, before adding the mushrooms. Season with salt and maybe a little paprika. Cook over fairly high heat, shaking or stirring frequently,
When your mushrooms have exuded all their liquid and begun to brown a bit, tip in a bunch of frozen peas. Add a splash of water and dry vermouth, stirring to deglaze. Now put the lid on the pan, turn the heat down to medium, and let the peas steam for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper to finish.
To serve, pour your peas and mushrooms onto a plate. Top with your finished salmon. Quickly deglaze the pea and mushroom pan with a pat of butter. Pour the melted butter over your fish and top with chopped parsley and a grind of salt and pepper. If you want a squeeze of lemon, now is the time.
Isn't it great?