I began cooking in college, as soon as I moved off campus in my sophomore year. My mother had taught me to appreciate good food, and I had spent enough time in the kitchen with her to have the confidence that I could cook myself. My off-campus roommates didn’t really care about good food. If I wanted to eat well I was going to have to cook it myself. The deal was, I would shop and cook and they would clean up the kitchen and the apartment in exchange. What a deal!
We lived above a fish market in Portland Oregon, and every Friday a truckload of oysters would be dumped in our driveway. One of the first things I learned was how to cook oysters, purloined (I must confess) from the driveway below our apartment, which I felt compensated us for the powerful odors we had to live with Friday night and Saturday morning.
Here’s another fish recipe. Fish is expensive but it’s also good for you. One of the less expensive cuts is salmon. Wild salmon is more expensive and flavorful than farmed salmon, which is surrounded by controversy. From what I’ve read, like most things, you can farm fish sustainably without chemical and pesticides or you can farm it irresponsibly. The trick is trusting your fishmonger to tell you where the fish is really coming from.
Salmon is great simply grilled or broiled with a flavorful glaze or marinade, but here’s a Persian recipe that is fast and easy that even the kids will love.
Sautéed salmon with garlic and orange juice
This recipe is adapted from the terrific cookbook called new Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies, written by Najmieh Batmanglij.
Ingredients for sautéed salmon with garlic and orange juice
- 1 ½ pounds of salmon.
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 15 to 20 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water. If you don’t want to use saffron use 1 tablespoon turmeric.
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ cups orange juice
- ½ cup fish dock or water will do in a pinch.
Preparation of sautéed salmon with garlic and orange juice
Get the butcher to take the skin off the salmon or do it yourself.
Cut the salmon into cubes and inch or two on each side and put them in bowl. Of course the salmon pieces will not be uniform, don’t worry about that.
Put the salmon in a bowl and mix thoroughly with the flour and salt.
Sauté the fish and the garlic in the olive oil over a hot flame in a nonstick pan.. This is one of the few places where I use nonstick pans. It would be nice if the pieces browned a bit, but don’t leave them too long or they will overcook.
Add the saffron water and the orange juice and adjust the salt and pepper as it cooks.
It’s nice to serve this with Indian saffron rice.