Monday, June 13, 2011

Step away from the leeks...


Wasn’t I just talking about being in a rut when it came to using the same ingredients over and over? I needed to remind myself of that when I was thinking about how to prepare the salmon filets that were sitting in the refrigerator. As I scanned the produce bins, my eyes immediately landed on the leeks, just begging me to pair them with roasted garlic in a buttery sauce to pour over the salmon. Now, as I type this with my mouth watering for a butter and garlic infused creation, I’m wondering why I didn’t just embrace the rut? Why mess with the perfection of tried and true flavor combinations? Who needs variety anyway?


Well, as you can probably gather from the photos, I pushed all things leek and garlic-related out of my mind and made an effort to look beyond the standards that were staring back at me. I looked into the refrigerator and saw cantaloupe and Greek yogurt sitting near each other and inspiration struck! Slowly, and with no idea that these flavors had a fighting chance of working together, I started to compile a dish in my head.


With fingers crossed, I came up with this plan: A fruit salsa with cantaloupe and watermelon, seared spice-crusted salmon, and a habanero-mint whipped yogurt, all resting atop a crispy corn tortilla chip. (Notice that I’m still sneaking in spicy peppers…another go-to ingredient that I will not give up, rut be damned.)


Seared Salmon Bites with Fruit Salsa and Habanero-Mint Whipped Yogurt

Fruit Salsa:
1 cup diced cantaloupe
1/2 cup diced watermelon
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
1/2 tablespoon chopped mint
1/2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice
pinch of salt

Yogurt:
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 habanero, deseeded and chopped
4 mint leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream

Salmon:
2 salmon filets, skinless
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
canola oil

corn tortilla chips

For the salsa, mix all ingredients together and chill until ready to use.

For the yogurt, combine yogurt and habanero in a mini food processor. Run until habanero is very finely minced. Transfer yogurt to bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Add heavy cream and mint. Turn mixer on high and run until soft peaks form.

When ready to sear the salmon, combine all spices together on a plate. Place each salmon filet in spices and coat both sides evenly. Heat canola oil on high heat in a non-stick pan. Place salmon filets in pan and let sear for 1-2 minutes per side, depending on thickness. (It should still be rare in the thickest part.) Remove from pan and cut the salmon into chunks.

To serve, spoon salsa onto a chip, top with salmon and a dollop of whipped yogurt. (I piped the yogurt on using a zip-top baggie.)


This dish turned out better than I had hoped and the flavors all worked very well together. The yogurt was the runaway success with the tang and spice livening up each bite. Mint added brightness, the fruit salsa added an overall coolness, and the tender salmon melted in your mouth. I’ve said before that I know if Andy likes something if his eyes get wide when he takes a bite…I’m happy to report very wide eyes with this one.


So I guess the moral of the story is that if you push yourself to use different ingredients, you’ll come up with a new and exciting dish. However…all I can think about now is that leek and butter sauce! That does it…I’m going back to my rut, at least for a day or two.

36 comments:

  1. Love this! I'd probably have 14 of these :P

    ReplyDelete
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  2. Oh, I am loving these! A great way to break out of your flavour rut. Love that these are bite-sized too, I am a sucker for bite-sized things.

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  3. Oh that's beautiful - I can only image all the flavor in those little bites!

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  4. yummy to snack on delicious flavours

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  5. WOW! this looks wonderful; i can only imagine how good that salsa tastes; great combination!
    Rita

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  6. The whole time you were describing how you put this together (it looks amazing, by the way), all I could think about was the fact that you dissed the leeks. How could you?? :)

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  7. I love the idea of the cantaloupe in the salsa--I really want to give this a try!

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  8. This sounds so good! That salsa combination is making my mouth water.

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  9. I love the sound of all that fruit in the salsa and the spicy, minty yogurt. And...nachos!Summer nachos!

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  10. What a cute little party treat! The fruit salsa is a great idea!

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  11. This looks and sounds like a perfect bite! So freah and PERFECT for summer parties!

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  12. What a tasty looking snack! These are beautiful and your photos are great as well!

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  13. Gorgeous photos - you can feel the aroma of all the fruits and limes just by looking at the screen!

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  14. Oh, how delicious in both flavor and texture. The ripeness of the fruit offset by the tang of the lime and creaminess of the yogurt. Phenomenal contrast and layers of flavor, here. Well done, in my humble opinion.

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  15. I always love the challenge of using a familiar ingredient in different ways!

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  16. These look like such tasty bites, the small cubes of cantaloupe and watermelon with the peppers and herbs make a wonderful fresh salsa with the salmon ;-)

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  17. Love, love! love! I was smitten by the title but your photos put this post over the top, fantastic job! I want to throw a party just to serve these snacks!

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  18. Oh my gosh...these bites are ammmmmazing! I love the salsa, the yogurt, the salmon...everything! Incredible!

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  19. Karen, this looks absolutely beautiful. It's like an art (esp when background is black). I love the fruit salsa. I think my kids will enjoy it if they are made of fruits. What a wonderful job!!

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  20. Gosh that looks just delicious! What a stylish little bite it is too. Love it!

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  21. Those look great! Definitely have potential to be on this weekends snack list!! @alanecooke

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  22. Wow Karen, you certainly thought out of the box, and what an amazing dish it is! Love that sweet, savory, spicy plus crunchy combination!

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  23. Fantastic creation! Color me extremely impressed! Although, I'm sure the garlic and leek would have been super tasty as well :)

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  24. oh my gracious. this sounds and looks incredible! i love your creativity!

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  25. This bite is delicious! The photos are perfect!!

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  26. Not just delicious, it's almost a miracle!

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  27. Beatiful, gorgeous and looks absolutely delicious! I could eat a dozen of this!

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  28. Looks like the perfect passed canape, I will be bookmarking this for later use! Happy Cooking!
    -Karriann Graf
    http://creativecookingcorner.com

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  29. Amazing combination of flavors. It's like one delicious layer on top of the next! The cantaloupe and watermelon salsa sounds so refreshing to go along with the spicy notes. Yummm!!

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  30. Simply delicioso just like Ingrid Hoffman would say! I wish I could have tried this! The fruit colors are just so pretty!

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  31. This is such a great recipe for summer :)

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  32. So unique and yet the flavours make perfect sense together. Congrats!

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  33. This sounds so, so good. I can relate to the tendency to reach for the same ingredient(s)--I've been on a Fresno chile kick for about a year now. I just can't leave them alone. I love your writing, and love your approach to food (so much like mine!)

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