After indulgent weekends at the cottage, we feel compelled to come home and lighten up where food is concerned. With a non-stop parade of hot dogs, white bread, red meat and booze, it's critical that our Monday to Friday is a bit leaner. But life's too short for chicken breasts and spinach, so if it comes from my kitchen, it'll still fall firmly in the syrupy category.
I started by crushing a quarter cup of maple-glazed pecans to coat the top of the Icelandic salmon fillet, then seared in a hot, oiled pan. After the pecans got just the slightest bit charred, I flipped to the skin side and let the fish cook through (about 12 minutes). Then tented under foil.
To the pan, I added four tablespoons of ginger and one small shallot (both minced very finely) with a tiny splash of soy sauce. I allowed the mash to flash-fry in the hot oil, while bringing the pan down to a more reasonable temperature. I added a half-teaspoon of grainy mustard and a glug or two of maple syrup (If you're lucky, it'll be Hart House Farm Syrup and a gift from your lovely friend Kathy). I whisked gently and added a good splash of Woodford Reserve (okay, more like . . . a cup). I let this to simmer away for a few minutes (cutting the bourbon but leaving its smokey sweetness) before I strained the ginger-shallot mash (which I like to spread under the fish, as a tasty surprise) and served with the salmon. Sweet, but not too, and so moist.
Oh, and something else: Try adding a teaspoon of super grainy mustard to steamed green beans. Tasty.