Monday, May 24, 2010

Salmon Kebabs

When I saw the mouthwatering cover of this month's issue of Sunset Magazine, I said, "I will be making those salmon kebabs". And make them, I did!
Here's the recipe for Sunset's Pancetta salmon kebabs with parsley vinaigrette:

At Flying Fish restaurant in Seattle, chef Christine Keff makes this super-easy, luscious recipe with fillets. It's worth it to buy really good oil and vinegar for the vinaigrette—you'll taste the difference. You'll need 8 (10-in.) skewers; soak wooden ones in water 4 hours to prevent burning.

25 minutes
Yield: Serves 4


5 tablespoons good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons good-quality red wine vinegar, such as Kimberley
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper, divided
1 1/2 pounds skinned king or coho salmon fillet (1 in. thick), cut into 1 1/2-in. chunks
4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Combine 1/4 cup oil, the vinegar, garlic, salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Heat grill to high (450° to 550°). In a large bowl, combine remaining tbsp. oil with remaining 1/4 tsp. pepper. Turn salmon in oil to coat.
3. Set out rows of 3 salmon chunks on a work surface. Unroll pancetta slices into strips and wrap strips once or twice around salmon, weaving long pieces between chunks. Skewer each row of salmon with chunks slightly separated.
4. Oil cooking grate, using tongs and a wad of oiled paper towels. Set kebabs on grate, then grill, covered, turning once, until fish is barely cooked through, 4 minutes.
5. Arrange kebabs on plates. Stir parsley into dressing; spoon on top of kebabs. Serve with warm, crusty bread for dunking.

Despite the delicious suggestion, I did not serve my kebabs with warm, crusty bread. I also tweaked the recipe by using thinly sliced deli ham, since it's leaner than pancetta. You could also use prosciutto (one of Gundry's Friendly Foods - page 58). Whatever pork product you choose to use, make sure it is thinly sliced. If the slices are wide, cut them lengthwise. The ham should be the ribbon on the salmon present, not the wrapping paper.
I also used a combination of parsley, marjoram, basil and oregano in my dipping sauce. The parsley plants in my herb garden are kind of sorry, so I had to supplement with other herbs. And, truth be told - I used reasonably-priced Trader Joe's brand evoo and red wine vinegar, rather than "good-quality" brands as suggested.
As you can see from the three scrawny, misshapen skewers above, I ended up using rosemary sprigs (leaves removed) for skewers as I realized, mid-dinner prep, that I had only one skewer left. (Which I guess also let's you know that I never follow the advice about soaking skewers. I've never had an issue with burning and I rarely remember to do preparation steps hours before I actually start making dinner). I'd seen rosemary sprigs used as skewers on cooking shows, but had never tried it. It really worked well. I rinsed the sprigs thoroughly as I didn't want the rosemary flavor to overpower the salmon. It still added some flavor, but it was subtle and nice. If you want to try this at home, you will probably need to get the sprigs from an actual rosemary plant. The herbs available at grocery stores, are generally the more delicate top sprigs, which wouldn't be sturdy enough to use as a skewer.

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