Friday, December 17, 2010

Roast Salmon with Bacon and Leeks (Fine Cooking)

Roast Salmon with Bacon and Leeks - Fine Cooking Recipes

Oh my stars..... You MUST make the recipe above... The roast Salmon. With Bacon. And Leeks.... ** swoon **

I normally buy a side (fillet?) of salmon when it goes on sale for about $5 and keep one in my freezer for grilling or broiling. It's winter now, so no grilling and oven-roasting heats the house.
I had some "leftover" pancetta. Oh my... listen to me.. hoity-toity... as if I have pancetta every day and leftovers of it all the time. I don't even remember what I got it for originally, but I had used only one slice (round). I knew I needed to use the rest soon, and although I have not made this salmon recipe using regular smoked bacon, I think this was better. The smokiness would detract from the leeks and the salmon.
I did buy the leeks today since I've used all the ones I dehydrated. Remember to only use the white and light green parts and to slice them first and then wash them. It is MUCH easier than trying to get all the sand out of the whole leek.

The technique:
Preheat oven to 400°
Cut up the pancetta into small pieces (cubes). Brown/crisp the pancetta in a little EVOO in an oven-safe skillet. I used my large cast iron skillet.
While the bacon/pancetta is cooking, cut the salmon into 4 pieces. Sprinkle with fresh thyme, kosher salt and pepper. Set aside.
Remove the pancetta from the oil when crispy. Set aside.
The directions said to drain off all the bacon drippings and wipe out the pan and then use a tablespoon of oil. Say what? I simply drained off all but about a tablespoon. Add in the leek slices, some black pepper, some fresh thyme and 2 Tb. of vinegar (either cider or like me, use red wine vinegar -- it's what I had on hand). Cook the leeks until fairly soft. I didn't go the entire 10 mins but just until they were softened.
Place the salmon pieces, skin side down on the bed of partially cooked leeks, tucking the thin parts under or layer all the thin parts over one another so they don't overcook.
Cook/roast, uncovered for 20 mins. Top with crisp pancetta.

I served this with some leftover mushroom brown rice I found in the freezer (cook brown rice in rice cooker with chicken stock, EVOO, dried mushrooms and thyme), steamed frozen mixed veggies and cheese-herb biscuits (from the Schwan truck).
This was so amazingly delicious. The caramelized leeks/saucy bits mixed with the pancetta over the rich salmon.... to die for! The rice had a richness of it's own from the chicken broth and mushrooms. The veggies... simple and a nice counterpoint to all the richness. And who can go wrong with cheesy biscuits?

There are 2 pieces of salmon left, some veggies and rice. I see the ingredients to a lovely salmon soup there or perhaps some refried rice with salmon and veggies. Comfort food for another night.

This is just one of 3 recipes I had bookmarked from the Fine Cooking site. I know there are more, so keep watching for more cooking and reviews.