In which the world of culinary hedonism is explored with a cup and a half of curiosity, a heaping tablespoon of passion and a dash of clumsiness.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Seventy-seventh Post ~ Garlic Peach Salmon with Sweet "Dumpling" Squash

It's very hard to resist a friendly Wegman's staff member handing out yummy tempting treats.  I wasn't dressed up, but I felt a bit like I was trick-or-treating as I meandered from sample station to sample station.  I ended up with a loaf of apple cider bread with brie to spread over it for lunch tomorrow, and for dinner tonight, I got a great idea for squash.

Here's what you'll need for this fix-and-work meal (what I'd like to start calling the meals that you prep, stick in the oven, go back to work, and then return 30-45 minutes later to enjoy).

For the main dish:
~ Salmon fillet
~ Slice of peach
~ Brown sugar
~ Garlic clove (crushed)
~ Coarse-ground salt
~ Herb of choice (thyme, naturally)

For the most autumnal side:
~ Squash of choice (I chose a "sweet dumpling" squash, which looked very much like a pumpkin if it were to shrink and cover itself with green and white stripes and speckles)
~ Garlic clove (coarsely chopped)
~ Slice of onion (coarsely chopped)
~ Coarse-ground salt
~ Brown sugar (noticing a theme?)

Preheat the oven to 375.  Chop the squash (a process which is made worlds easier by piercing the gourd and microwaving for around 30 seconds) into bite-sized morsels.  I learned today from the friendly lady at the veggie sample stand that you can leave the skin on squash.  Extra nutrients = good to me.  Drizzle it with EVOO and grind a bit of salt over it.  Coarsely chop the garlic clove and onion.  Mix it all in and scatter some brown sugar and thyme over it.  Pop it in the oven.  It will take about 45 minutes to cook through.

In the mean time, prep the salmon so it can sit and soak in all the goodness.  It requires about 15 minutes to cook to my liking; add minutes if you like it done more.

In a foil "boat", place the salmon.  In a prep bowl, crush one clove of garlic and "mush" a piece of peach into it.  I say "mush" because I'm really not sure what the proper term is, here.  Squeeze it in your hand until all the juice runs into the bowl and the leftover fruit is kinda "preserve-y".  Into that, mix ample brown sugar.  Spoon it over the salmon fillet, press a sprig of thyme into it, and pop it in the oven at the appropriate time.

Savor the aromas!!!

In between, finish a paper, send emails, get your work lined up for the next day.

When you return, a luscious autumnal meal will be waiting for you!  I paired this meal with a Robert Mondavi Private Selection pinot noir.  My intent was to have a wine that was full-bodied enough to stand up to the salmon (hence a red) but fruity enought to not go too dry in the face of the brown sugar and sweet squash (hence a new world vintage).  My goal was realized.  This wine offered a palate-cleansing finish without ever being too dry, a fruitiness that accompanied rather than fought the sweet, savory meal (think cranberries next to a Thanksgiving turkey and yams) and an oakiness that gave the whole meal a decidedly rustic overtone.

Yours in the love of good food and wine,

The blogger is not an experienced chef. She takes no responsibility for the quality of the meals prepared while following her advice. Use your own judgment regarding cooking times and proper food handling.