Friday, August 10, 2007

Gettin' a Jump on WHB: Dill Poached Salmon

Whew! I actually prepared myself for this WHB, instead of racing to the finish line like I usually do! Melissa from The Cooking Diva is hosting this week, and if you need details on the blog event you can check out Kalyn's Kitchen.

So, this weekend I picked one of my favourite herbs to go with one of my favourite fish: Dill! This herb originated in central Asia. The earliest archeological evidence for its cultivation and use as a culinary tool comes from late Neolithic lake shore settlements in Switzerland. Traces have even been found in Roman ruins in Great Britain! Through the ages, the uses of this green varied. In the Middle Ages, for example, dill was thought to protect against the ever-feared witchcraft, and Dill was used as a treatment for colic, gas, and indigestion. Even the name for this plant came from the Norse word 'dylle' meaning to soothe or lull, implying the medicinal values. Here is some advice on growing this herb (from GardenGuides.com):
  • Dill, like most herbs, loves to bask in the sun, but will tolerate afternoon shade.
  • Dill grows up to 3 feet tall, so plant it in the back of your garden.
  • Sow seeds close together. This will allow the plants to support each other.
  • Cover the seeds lightly, and allow a week or two for them to germinate.
  • For a continuous crop, sow repeatedly from mid spring to early summer.
  • Don't plant near caraway, fennel or angelica.
  • Caterpillars are fond of dill, and can be handpicked if they become a nuisance.
  • If not kept cut, your dill will go to seed, so cut often until you are ready to switch to seed production.
  • To dry dill, spread in a single layer on a paper towel and microwave on high for 3 minutes.

The recipe for this WHB submission is ridiculously simple, and yet one of the most flavourful and versatile items in my cooking repetoire. It comes from the 1974 edition of Elizabeth Baird's Classic Canadian Cooking, a copy of which my mom has autographed on her shelf. It can be served hot with rice and vegetables for dinner, or chilled and eaten over salad for a refreshing lunch. I actually prefer it chilled a day after it's made! Don't let the long list of ingredients put you off though, the result is well worth it (especially if you follow the directions to let it chill and have the flavours blend).

Dill-Poached Salmon
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
8 sprigs curly parsley
1 bunch fresh dill
1 bay leaf
2 whole cloves
1 tbsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp whole peppercorns
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup white wine (a big Chardonnay or Riesling is best)
6 lbs salmon piece, whole (wild or farmed)

  1. In a saucepan large enough for the fish to rest comfortably, add all ingredients except salmon.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
  3. Add salmon to the liquid, bring back to a boil.
  4. If serving hot, allow about to cook 6 minutes for every pound of fish. Remove immediately from the liquid when the fish is cooked.
  5. If chilling, boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cover tightly.
  6. Let sit to cool completely, this may take up to 5 hours.
  7. Drain fish and place on serving plate. Remove skin.
  8. Cover with Saran wrap and chill completely (preferably overnight) before serving.

2 comments :

CookingDiva - Chef Melissa said...

Hmmm...such a delicate, aromatic dish! Thank you for joining WHB#95!

Have a tasty day!
Melissa

Kalyn said...

I'm happy to see that Melissa is doing better and has finally posted the recap for this WHB. Thanks for being so patient.