Saturday, July 24, 2010

Salmon with Fennel and Mexican Mango Cake

Salmon with Fennel
1999, Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, All rights reserved

- 1 (3 pound) fresh salmon
- 2-3 cups sliced yellow onions, 1/4-inch thick (3 pounds)
- 2-3 cups sliced fennel bulbs, 1/4-inch thick (3 pounds)
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fennel fronds
- 1 orange, zested
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Sauté the onions and fennel in the olive oil for 10 minutes on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

This is my zester.  The best zester in my opinion.  I got it several years ago through Pampered Chef.

Add the thyme leaves, fennel fronds, orange zest, orange juice, salt, and pepper and sauté for 5 more minutes, until the onions and fennel are tender. Taste for salt and pepper.

Lay the salmon, skin side down, on a cutting board and sprinkle both sides generously with salt and pepper.  Spread the fennel filling over half of the salmon.  Pull the other half up and over the filling, enclosing it. Tie the salmon every 2 inches with kitchen string to secure the stuffing.  Cook's note:  I didn't do this next part with the string because I realized at the last minute that I didn't have any.

Instead, I just went ahead and placed the fennel and onion mixture on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper after it had been put in the oven for 5 minutes to heat, yea, I know that's weird and I don't know why she has you do this but I just obey.

Carefully transfer the salmon to the hot sheet pan, smother some of the fennel and onion mixture over the top.  Bake it for exactly 30 minutes (10 minutes for each 1-inch of thickness). Do not over bake!  Allow to cool slightly, then remove the strings. To serve, cut into thick slices with a very sharp knife. This salmon is delicious hot or at room temperature.  Note: If you're making this in advance, be sure to cool the filling before stuffing the salmon. Refrigerate until ready to roast.

I haven't made this recipe in probably over a year possibly two.  I think I made it too much  that we just got tired of it.  The hiatus has been long enough as we were both in the mood for it and it did not let us down.  I served it with plain cous-cous because the sauce from the salmon gives it a great flavor.  

Mexican Mango Cake

Recipe courtesy Marcela Valladolid

-  1 1/2 cups or 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
-  3 cups cake flour, plus more for pan
-  1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
-  1/2 teaspoon salt
-  6 large eggs
-  2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-  2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
-  2/3 cup buttermilk

Cake: Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally butter and flour a 10-inch tube or Bundt pan.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer beat the 1 1/2 cups of butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, beating well after each addition. In batches, add the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk and ending with the flour mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. 

Bake until the cake is golden and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and cool completely in the pan.

Invert the cake onto a cake plate or platter. (Cook’s Note: The cake can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and store at room temperature.)


2 cups chopped fresh or frozen and thawed mango 
2 tablespoons water, plus extra as needed
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus extra if needed
4-8 ounces of cream cheese
2 tbsps. tequila (yea, like I would have that but it is optional)
Edible flowers as garnish, optional) 

Blend until smooth and thick, adding extra water, if needed. Taste and adjust the sweetness with extra sugar, if needed.

Spoon the mango topping evenly over the top of the cake and decorate with edible flowers, if desired.  Cut into slices and serve.

Mango's are quickly becoming a popular food item but I remember at one point in time the only place I ever saw a Mango was in Juarez, Mexico, decades ago.  My mom would often take us there to visit our Aunt Augustina (the best in aunt in all the world!).  So a trip to Juarez for us meant, taking a city line bus to downtown El Paso, TX and then walking and literally crossing the bridge that led into Juarez.  Once there we caught a Juarez city line bus that would take us to the community where my aunt lived, just up the hill.  My aunt would welcome us with open arms and then what seemed to be endless hours, she and my mom would talk, and talk and talk.  We most likely ate lunch there but the biggest treat was to have a Mango just by itself, sticky, sweet slippery little bugers!!  They have a taste all their own so everytime I eat one, it takes me back to my aunt's home.  Seems like the markets are carrying Mangos more and more these days.  I haven't had one in so long so when I saw Marcela make it on her show (Mexican Made Easy) this morning, I just had to make it.  It seemed really easy.  What a good reason to have Mango (besides in a Taco Bell Mango/Strawberry Frustista :)  mmmmm!!!)  The batter reminded me so much of the batter in the coffee cake I made a month or so ago and yes, I had to sift once again but realized that sifting does indeed make a total difference.  The batter is so smooth and silky and when you bite into the cake it is so thick yet soft.  Don loved this and I'm thrilled I made and just may go get me another piece (a small one) after I'm done with this entry.  ~isavortheweekend

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