Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wok Wednesdays: Salt & Pepper Dry-Fried Salmon

I know. The Wok Wednesday recipe this time is Salt & Pepper Dry-Fried Shrimp, but we keep a Kosher home. I almost skipped making this dish. The dish is a dry stir-fry and there are few ingredients so it seemed to me that the flavor of the shrimp would be intensified.  The question then is what would be a good substitute.  Tofu is bland, making it wonderful for taking on the flavors of sauces and marinades, but for this dish?  Probably not a good idea.  Beef might work well, but we don't eat a lot of red meat and when we do, my family wants large portions.  In the end, I chose salmon. It's a flavorful fish and would benefit from this simple dish. 

In Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge,  Grace Young explains how to prep the fish for stir frying so that it doesn't fall apart. Velveting is a technique to protect the fish from drying out. You briefly marinate the fish in egg-white, rice wine and cornstarch followed by blanching in hot water. You also use a delicate hand when stir-frying so the fish doesn't fall apart. Grace says "The term stir-frying is more suggestive..." when talking about fish. 

This recipe also calls for Sichuan peppercorns.  When we made Kung Pao chicken, I limited my shopping to the major grocery chains and none of them carried the pink peppercorns. I ended up using a peppercorn medley.  Having read so much about other Wok Wednesday bloggers who raved about the real deal, I went to a local Asian grocery. I found a 4 oz. bag of Sze Chuan Pepper at a very reasonable price. The only thing that gave me pause was the warning on the back of the bag. Don't eat raw. Rinse under running tap water for 5 minutes and then boil for 30 minutes.   Excuse me?  Are you serious?  Am I going to suffer awful consequences for not following these instructions exactly? 

In the end, I compromised. I rinsed the peppers for 5 minutes, but then dried them, took off the tiny stems and dry roasted them for a few minutes. I'm not sorry to have my peppercorn medley, but the Sichuan peppercorns are a revelation and only a little goes a very long way. The salmon flavor was delicious and I will be making this dish again.

To see how others enjoyed this dish check out Wok Wednesdays.  You are always welcome to join in the fun. We have decided not to publish the recipes on-line, but you can borrow or buy the book. It's well worth it.  

TWD & BWJ: Berry Galette

Berry Galette is a perfect mid-summer recipe. I have always wanted to bake a galette, a free form tart. I love baked goods that look rustic and I'm not just saying that because everything I bake ends up looking rustic.  I was able to use blueberries from the local farmer's market and I added blackberries and strawberries from farther afield.

Like a few other recipes we've baked these last few months, this one is really quite easy. You just have to plan ahead because the dough needs to rest for a couple of hours. Other than that, you can make this recipe with a bowl and a pastry blender.  
The dough is really sticky. I wasn't really worried about it because we were warned that it would be. We also have to let the dough rest for a couple of hours in the refrigerator.  In the past, cooling the dough has always worked well. This time however, the dough was still very sticky and I was thinking that maybe I should have rolled out little tartlettes instead.  Oh well. 

I was not delighted with the overall result. I loved the fruit filling and I love the look of the galette, but the dough seemed kind of flimsy for a tart dough. Maybe that's because I used semolina flour instead of courser cornmeal.  The next time I make a galette, I may try a different dough.
For those of you who would like the recipe, visit the blogs of Lisa and Andrea, our gracious hosts this time round. The recipe can be found on their blogs.  You can also check out others' experiences here. After all, one of the best parts of joining a blogging group is to see the variety of results and learn from others.