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Seared Black Pepper Crusted Salmon with a Green Pepper/Sweet Onion/Fig sauce, and a few wines

This past week saw me at my family in Chicago, for a mix of business and fun.  Being that I was crashing at my brother’s house, I was happy to nominate myself to do the fish, which was a TON of fun.  I did two fish recipes and a sauce.

The first fish dish is one that we have made a few times, the baked gefilte fish loaf recipe.  It came out well except for the fact that the fish loaf was a Passover one, and so had no binding other than potato starch, which is a poor substitute for flour :-)

The other fish dish was one I once made a couple of years ago, and it was a massive failure because it was under cooked.  You see I seared the fish nicely, but I did not finish it in the oven, so we had more of a half cooked sashimi, than a fully baked fish.  So this time, I cracked the multi-colored peppercorns using a low to medium grind, which left the corns cracked into chunks that could be consumed easily.  I purchased a lovely half side of a Salmon that was filleted and boned.  It did not fit in a pan of any sort.  So I cut the fish in half and then liberally applied olive oil on it and then applied a liberal amount of the cracked pepper.  Once oiled and peppered, I placed it into a lightly oiled pan and waited 5 minutes before taking it out, and placing it in a roasting pan, pepper side up.  I did the same with the second piece of fish and then placed it as well into a roasting pan.  I put a wee bit of water/wine into the pan as well, and placed the pan into a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees, for 5 minutes.  Then remove the pans and leave covered for another few minutes, and then uncover and let cool.

With the fish made I was looking for a sauce to cover it with.  I went through many options and none of them did it for me.  I did not want teriyaki or sweet and sour, or any of the many pairings that exist out there.  So instead, I listened to my sister-in-law to make a sauce that we would come up with.  She recommended that we sauté some onions and green peppers, and then toss in some other stuff.  So, we started with those two things, threw in some fresh garlic and pepper.  Once they were fully browned and wilted, my brother appeared and recommended some dried figs, which turned out to be a great idea.  I cubed the figs into small pieces, and threw them into the pan.  I then emptied half a bottle of a Barkan Shiraz Rose, and waited for the wine to reduce by 50%, and then finished the sauce with a bit of Agave nectar to sweeten the pot!  The sauce was awesome, if I say so myself.  But even better was the combination of the sauce and the pepper encrusted salmon.  The flavor combination does not burst in your mouth, but rather balances themselves so well, that you wonder how you ever lived without this stuff for so long.

Pepper Crusted Salmon
Salmon Fillet
Olive Oil to coat
Cracked Pepper Corn to cover on flesh side (leave skin on and un-coated)
Lightly oiled pan

Sweet Onion and Pepper Sauce
2 or 3 sweet onions
3 or 4 sweet peppers
Few cloves of crushed garlic
7 or 8 dried figs cubed
375 ml of wine
2 tbsp of agave nectar

2008 Santieri Ebraici Dona Gracia Vino Bianco – Score: B to B+
The nose on this light gold colored wine is filled with roasted herbs, lychee, ripe pear, and quince.  The mouth on this light to medium bodied wine is filled with lychee, ripe pear, tart lemon, and quince.  The mid palate is bright with acidity, tart lemon, and dry orange peel.  The finish is long with tart lemon, almond, and orange peel.  After the wine receives more air, the wine softens and losses its harshness and becomes softer, lighter, with ripe pear and tart lemon that linger on the palate, long after the wine is gone.

2009 Mony Kikar HaShabbos (70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Petite Syrah) – Score: B to B+
The nose on this purple colored wine is hopping with cranberry, raspberry, black cherry, coffee, and mineral stones.  The mouth on this medium bodied wine is a bit tight but soft with black cherry, raspberry, and cranberry.  The mid palate is bright with acidity, soft tannins, and coffee.  The finish is long and spicy with soft tannin, black cherry, mineral notes, and coffee.

2007 Odem Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, Volcanic - Score: A- to A
The nose on this purple to black colored wine is screaming with rich blackberry, blueberry, cassis, chocolate, sweet oak, slight mineral, vanilla, and spice.  The mouth on this full bodied wine is firm with a full mouth that comes at you with layers of chocolate, ripe blackberry, blueberry, and still gripping tannins.  The mid palate is balanced and follows the mouth with sweet oak and lovely tannins.  The finish is super long and luxurious with sweet oak, blueberry, blackberry, chocolate, and vanilla.  Quite a wonderful wine that keeps on surprising, the wine keeps coming at you with ripe fruit, nice extraction, and a full body.

Mony Wine

We recently tasted some Mony wines that we liked so we thought we would share them with you.

Mony Chardonnay 2005 - Score: A-
This golden straw colored wine has a nose of apples, lychee, and oak.  The mouth of this medium bodied wine is balanced with just enough oak and abundant fruit.  The apple, lychee, and citrus jump out at you.  The finish is long and laden with spicy oak which makes for quite a nice white wine experience.

Mony Shiraz Reserve 2005 - Score: A-
This ruby colored wine’s nose is earthy, musty, and oaky.  The mouth on this medium bodied wine has strong notes of integrated tannins, dirt, leather, and pomegranates.  The finish is long and generous with spicy wood and more leather.

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