Michael Chiarello’s Marinated Salmon with Fennel Salad

Michael Chiarello's Marinated Salmon

In Memory Of Chef Michael Chiarello
January 26, 1962 – October 6, 2023

Marinated Salmon with Fennel Salad

His love for the Napa Valley is a central theme in his career and philosophy. Michael Chiarrello’s style of cooking married the rich traditions of his Italian culinary heritage with the casual style and fresh flavors of the wine country.

The Chef was renowned for letting good ingredients speak for themselves, cooking in sync with the seasons, and celebrating whatever the market brought. Upon hearing the news of his passing, I wanted to honor his memory by preparing one of his recipes.

Chef Michael Chiarello sadly lost his life due to an acute allergic reaction that ultimately resulted in anaphylactic shock. He was 61 years old when he passed away earlier this month in Napa, California.

🧡 🧡 🧡

About this recipe the Chef wrote, “I discovered this dish on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, an area famous for lemons and wild fennel. The salmon is a sort of ceviche, cooked in lemon juice with olive oil…”

Michael Chiarello's Marinated Salmon

Marinated Salmon with Fennel Salad

This is my adaptation of the Chef’s recipe from my signed copy of his cookbook, “Casual Cooking, Wine Country Recipes for Family and Friends.” His restaurant Tra Vigne in St. Helena, Napa Valley was one of my early favorites. 

Continue reading “Michael Chiarello’s Marinated Salmon with Fennel Salad”

Albacore Poke, Jamaican Flavors

Albacore Poke, Jamaican Flavors

Albacore Tuna Poke with Jamaican Flair

This Albacore Tuna Poke is a colorful fusion dish, where sashimi-quality tuna and avocado cubes meet a marinade of coconut milk, tamarind paste, lime juice, and a touch of fish sauce.

With each bite, you’re gently transported to the sun-kissed shores of Jamaica. The tender tuna, the creaminess of coconut, the sweet-tart tamarind, and the citrusy notes of lime are a subtle nod to the island’s culinary charm. Roasted peanuts seal the deal as they incorporate the distinctive flavors of Jamaican jerk seasoning, a well-known and iconic element of Jamaican cuisine.

Albacore Poke, Jamaican Flavors

Jerk Peanuts

1 c. roasted/salted peanuts

3 T. jerk seasoning

2 T. olive oil

Toss peanuts with jerk seasoning and oil. Cook on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil in a 325°F pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. Let cool completely. There will be plenty peanuts leftover for snacking.

Jerk Seasoning

While readily available store-bought jerk seasoning can be a convenient option, there’s an undeniable charm in crafting your own jerk seasoning from scratch, utilizing an assortment of spices commonly found in your pantry. Whether your spice rack is fully stocked or you find yourself with a few ingredients missing, fear not; your homemade jerk seasoning will still infuse these peanuts with vibrant Jamaican flavors. Feel free to adjust ingredients to your liking.

1. 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
2. 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
3. 1/2 tablespoon dried onion salt
4. 2 teaspoons dried thyme
5. 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
6. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
7. 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
8. 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
9. 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
10. 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
11. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
12. 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
13. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
14. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
15. 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
16. 1 tablespoon brown sugar

In a small bowl, mix everything except the brown sugar, then mix in the brown sugar (because it is moist). This will make more than needed for the peanut recipe. Store the remainder in an air-tight container for other uses.

Albacore Poke

1/2 c. coconut milk (unsweetened)

1 1/2 T. tamarind paste

1 T. lime juice

2 t. fish sauce

1 portion sashimi-quality albacore tuna (8 to 10 ounces), cubed

1 avocado (ripe but not soft), cubed

little multi-colored cherry tomatoes

cilantro, torn

mint, torn

scallion, sliced

flaky sea salt

In a medium bowl, whisk coconut milk with tamarind paste, lime juice, and fish sauce. Add cubed albacore, toss to coat and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Albacore Poke, Jamaican Flavors

To Plate

After 30 minutes, add avocado to the marinated albacore and gently toss to coat. Spoon albacore and avocado cubes into two or three shallow bowls. Arrange tomatoes, jerk peanuts, cilantro, mint, and scallions on top. Season with flaky sea salt. Serve extra sea salt and peanuts on the side. Vegetable-flavored corn chips add another pop of color contributing to the lively nature of Jamaican culinary style.

Inspiration

This dish was inspired by New Orleans Chef Nina Compton in Food & Wine magazine were she pairs her version with McBride Sisters Collection Reserve Chardonnay. “The crisp nature of the wine and the fact that it has just the right amount of acidity lend a great contrast to the richness of the tuna and coconut milk.”

More About Poke

My Interview with Chef Sam Choy on Sustainability and Poke here.

Known as the “Godfather of Poke,” Choy loves working with fresh fish and keeping it simple. The word poke (pronounced PO-kay) describes the method of preparation by cutting into cubes or slicing. Fish, vegetables, and even tofu – can all become poke. Choy is famous for making poke super-popular in the Islands when in 1991 he and a friend sponsored the first poke contest on the Big Island.

Salmon Cucumber Poke Bowl here

More Albacore

Albacore Tataki, Beluga Lentils, Lemon Soy Emulsion here

Elegant Seared Albacore, Roasted Mushrooms, Demi-Glace here

Flaming Seared Albacore, Peppercorn Brandy Cream Flambé here

Albacore Tataki, Beluga Lentils, Lemon Soy Emulsion

Albacore Tataki, Beluga Lentils, Lemon Soy Emulsion

Albacore Tataki with Beluga Lentils
Lemon Soy Emulsion, Chili Oil
Sesame Seeds, Basil, Cilantro

An exquisite culinary experience, often reserved for high-end Michelin-starred restaurants, combines raw bluefin tuna with Beluga caviar. Here, in this “tuna & caviar” alternative, the more sustainable and economical albacore takes center stage.

Beautiful wild Alaskan albacore is marinated in a delectable sweet-soy-ginger-garlic mixture then briefly seared and caramelized in a hot pan. This tantalizing dish is playfully paired with Beluga lentils, known for their small, glossy black appearance that resembles the famed caviar.

Beluga lentils offer their own distinct charm. They may not replicate the luxury of caviar, but they bring a delightful earthy character all their own to the delicious tuna, without the extravagant price tag!

Albacore Tataki Recipe

Continue reading “Albacore Tataki, Beluga Lentils, Lemon Soy Emulsion”

Gourmet Smoked Salmon Omelette

Gourmet Smoked Salmon Omelette

A Gourmet Smoked Salmon Omelette

Premium Copper River Smoked Sockeye Salmon
Cream Cheese, Red Onion, Dill, Chives
The Omelette:

A gourmet rolled omelette with smoked salmon is a delightful and elegant dish that combines the fluffy and creamy texture of a classic French omelette with the rich, savory notes of smoked salmon.

Premium smoked Copper River salmon takes center stage in this dish. Farm-fresh eggs are whisked to perfection, creating a smooth and velvety omelette base. A generous amount of butter is used to cook the omelette, giving it a rich and indulgent flavor. Cream cheese brings a creamy texture, along with a subtle tang. Chopped fresh dill and chives are added for a burst of herbaceous freshness and aroma.

Smoked Salmon Omelette

The Artisan Smoked Salmon:

Copper River Fish Market is a seafood boutique in remote Alaska that is fisher(wo)man founded, owned, and operated. Sarah is a generational fisHERman with over two decades of experience in sustainable, small-boat fishing. Every catch is meticulously selected, and each shipment comes with an origin guarantee. She says her salmon is curated with the hand of a Seafood Sommelier.™

All their seafood comes directly from her family’s catch. The Copper River salmon is cut by hand, brined with only brown sugar and salt and smoked over real alder-wood. The small-batch production and attention to every detail simply is not possible on a larger scale. Her salmon is a true artisan crafted food product.

Smoked Salmon Omelette Recipe

Continue reading “Gourmet Smoked Salmon Omelette”

Lemony Salmon Crudo, Local Basil

Salmon Crudo, Local Lemon Basil Leaves, Italian Basil Oil

🐟 🌿 🍋 Lemony Salmon Crudo 🍋 🌿 🐟

Sashimi-Quality Sockeye Salmon
Local Lemon Basil Leaves, Italian Basil Oil
Lemon Emulsion, Red and Green Jalapeño
Lemon Slices, Maldon Sea Salt Flakes

Lemon Basil has a distinct flavor profile that combines the aromatic notes of basil with a bright, citrusy twist. I was thrilled to find this herb as well as a super flavorful and aromatic Italian Basil grown right here in Las Vegas at a local urban indoor farm! Frontier Farms grows fresh Herbs & Greens & Edible Flowers without pesticides or herbicides in a controlled state-of-the-art growing environment.

With a basil-like anise flavor, lemon basil is often described as slightly sweet, herbaceous, and peppery. And as the name suggests, lemon basil has a pronounced lemony or citrusy aroma and taste. This lemony aspect adds a refreshing and zesty quality to the herb. Also detectable are minty undertones, which contribute to its complexity.

When it comes to pairing lemon basil with foods, it pairs well with a variety of dishes and ingredients, especially seafood. It can be used as a garnish to give sushi or sashimi a unique kick.

Sockeye salmon have a beautiful bright red flesh that is bold and intense and exquisite. Its dense, meaty texture facilitates the cutting of lovely raw thin slices. The leaner flesh of sockeye balances and harmonizes with rich citrusy olive oil emulsions. Lemon lovers will swoon over this sockeye salmon crudo recipe with 3 layers of lemon – lemon basil, lemon slices, and lemon emulsion.

Lemony Salmon Crudo Recipe

Continue reading “Lemony Salmon Crudo, Local Basil”