After our wonderful day in the mountains on Saturday, a trip to the coast was in order for Sunday so we decided to head up to La Conner. Sitting on the Swinomish channel, across from the Swinomish Reservation, La Conner is a typical coastal town, full of tourist type shops, antique stores and restaurants. During the summer months it can be hard to find a place to park in town, so go early. If you want to go during the Tulip Festival in the spring, my best advice is to book a room at one of the little inns in La Conner at least a year in advance. I’m not kidding. During the festival, this little town can quadruple the number of people it normally handles. Little tidbit of history on the town; When it was first settled in the 1860’s it’s name was Swinomish. A couple of years after settlement, a Mr Conner bought the trading post (and thus the town) and changed the name of the town to La Conner. Ah, Mr Conner must have been of French descent you say. Non! Turns out Mr Conners’ wife’s name was Louisa Ann Conner. Yup, he named it after her, and the La is just her initials. Feel informed and excited now, don’t you?
Okay, I know. Salmon Stroganoff? Has Gregor lost his ever loving mind?? What manner of nonsense is this? Stay with me on this one, I promise you, you will love it.
I came up with this one while trying to figure out some new way to prepare salmon. As I’ve said before, one of the many wonderful aspects of living in the Pacific Northwest is the seafood, and in particular, salmon. We are so spoiled here that we actually have our favorite types of salmon. For me, it’s Copper River salmon. Wonderful flavor, firm texture, just utterly fantastic. Anywho… Bottom line is we eat a lot of salmon, so finding new ways of preparing it is a challenge. This one came about after I had made some Crab Bisque, and had left over seafood stock. Now, when I say I came up with it, I’m not laying claim to be the only one that has made this. For all I know it’s a favorite dish of many. All I’m saying is that this isn’t based on any recipe I read. Okay, on with the show as they say.
Okay kids. Nothing fancy here, just simple vinaigrette dressings. Dirt simple. 3 parts oil, 1 part vinegar, dried herbs ( basil and oregano for example). Mix herbs and vinegar, then slowly add in the oil while beating until it emulsifies. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour over mixed salad greens and enjoy. Like I said, simple.
Ah, but why stop there? Get closer boys and girls because this is when the fun starts. Oil and vinegar is really just oil and some acidic liquid. Olive oil and Orange juice. Peanut oil and Lime ( great with Thai food). The ratio of oil to acid may change based on the sweetness levels, just experiment as you go. What’s important to remember is to taste as you go. Don’t worry if the vinaigrette breaks ( breaking here means that the emulsion separates back into oil and liquid) at this point. If you have the ratio you like but the vinaigrette keeps breaking, add just a touch of mustard, it helps hold the emulsification without destroying the flavor.
Here’s one to get you started. I came up with this one night when I couldn’t find any good looking raspberries at the market. You will notice that most of my recipes are really more like guidelines. Use them as a base to start from, and have fun with it! Continue reading “Vital Vinaigrettes”