No. 83: Slow-Cooked Salmon, Chickpeas & Greens + Great Cooking Advice

Bon Appetit recently featured Bobby in an article with his best advice for cooking, and they summarized his expertise pretty perfectly:

8 restaurants x 18 burger joints + 14 television shows (and a dozen cookbooks) = a whole lotta cooking knowledge.

Yep. That says it all. The man in notoriously blunt and to the point, but he is doing something right. Here are some of my favorite pieces of Bobby advice from the article:

  • Taste as you cook - If you're not chewing in the kitchen, you're not cooking. Taste as you go.
  • On Seasoning - I probably season 60 percent more than the average home cook ... because the food needs it.
  • Start with a smokin' hot skillet - Heat oil for 3-4 minutes before adding fish or meat. It should be smoking if you want to get a good sear.

Love all of this. Especially the taste as you go philosophy. I've been following that one for years.

More Advice from The Kitchn

Another place with great cooking advice is The Kitchn. Their site is full of thoughtful questions and gives you a format in which to easily submit more inquiries or search for answers.

Prompted by a colleague who is redoing her kitchen and looking into applicances, I asked The Kitchn about steam convection ovens. Apparently these are the new 'it' appliance - steaming food as well as crisping and convecting. SO interesting.

To our husbands the big draw is being able to cook hotdog buns just like they do at the ballpark. To me, the idea that I can steam a fish or cook pasta in the oven is very alluring.

I submitted a question about the pros and cons of such a device in a regular kitchen. You can read The Kitchn's answer and see the comments here!

Salmon, Chickpeas & Greens

It only seemed right to pair Bobby's best advice with one of his recipes.

Ingredients

Salmon
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more
1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 bunch small mustard greens, ribs and stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon honey*
4 6 ounce skinless salmon fillets

Vinaigrette & Assembly
1/2 small shallot, very finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey*
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil

*I substituted agave. Kale would also probably bee a good sub for the mustard greens.

To make

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Brush a large baking dish with oil. Combine chickpeas, cumin, and 1 tablespoon oil in a medium bowl. Mash about half of chickpeas with a fork; season with salt and pepper. Transfer chickpea mixture to prepared dish.

Chickpeas

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add mustard greens and cook, tossing, until slightly wilted, about 1 minute.

Greens

Add honey and 1/4 cup water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing, until greens are completely wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to dish with chickpea mixture.

Season salmon with salt and pepper; arrange over greens and chickpea mixture and drizzle with oil.

Ready to cook

Bake until salmon is opaque in the center, about 30–35 minutes.

Finished

As salmon finishes, whisk shallot, lemon juice, mustard, and honey in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in olive oil and again season with salt and pepper. Drizzle salmon with vinaigrette before serving.

The results

Goodness, how I like salmon. The simple preparation of all of these elements in this dish belies how wonderfully it all comes together.

Final

I am going to file away this slow-cook method for the salmon for another day. And I always appreciate a one-dish meal.

Next time I'll wilt the greens a tad more before adding to the baking dish as well as put some more seasoning on the chickpeas. More cumin or some paprika would be great.

I'll also skip the vinaigrette and just top the salmon with a few spritzes of lemon juice. The original recipe also called for capers, which we skipped, but if you love them they would be a nice salty finish.

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Send me your thoughts, comments and ideas at theresolvedcook@gmail.com