|Salmon marinated in Pomegranate Molasses|
Jul 14th, 2004
Thanks Allison, that gives me hope that maybe one day I'll get that crockpot out of the box.
In other news, I'm gradually working my way through my fear of buying and cooking fish. I bought a whole fish yesterday. Now granted, I had the fish guy fillet the fish and wrap it all up in butcher paper, so really there was no difference once I got home from just buying a bunch of fillets. But it's the principle of the thing. For some reason I find fish counters horribly intimidating. And I was able to actually order a whole fish (fresh Sockeye Salmon for $3.99 a pound!), pick out which one I wanted, ask for it to be filleted, and somewhat knowledgeably reject the collar and backbone (they're for if you want to make fish stock). All without crying, looking embarrassed, or falling back on claims of incompetence in order to get the fish guy to make the decisions. Success! And I managed to hack up the salmon into meal-sized portions, so now there are 3 little happy packages of salmon in the freezer.
The 4th package was turned into Pomegranate Molasses Marinated Salmon and eaten with corn on the cob and an asian-ish cabbage, snap pea, and cucumber salad. The Sockeye salmon is truly a gorgeous color, not dull and pink, but a bright, reddish, raw hue. I think part of my historical aversion to salmon stems from the countless dull pink fish, roasted whole with the ubiquitous lemon and onion slices that were featured in every large barbeque I attended as a child growing up in Oregon. They just tasted and looked bland. And fishy. Yuck.
The Pomegranate Molasses was the fruit of a recent trip down to The Souk, a mid-eastern grocery importer located in the Pike Place Market. It's a tiny, dim little store with a tangy incense-like smell and shelves piled deep with interesting bottles. I could have stayed there quite happily for some time, but the boys were with me, so I grabbed what I was looking for, Pomegranate Molasses and rose water, and left. I'll definitely go back. The rose water is for a future attempt at making mamouls, the date stuffed cookies that I fell in love with at Caprice. Layla, the co-owner and chef at the Lebanese-French cafe I waitressed at in Redlands, made the best desserts, and I've never again had a mamoul like she made. So I've gathered a half dozen or so recipes and when I'm feeling ambitious I'll attempt to recreate the magic mamoul.
For now though, pomegranate molasses salmon could not be easier. Mix 1/3 cup pomegranate molasses, 1/3 cup honey, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce in a ziplock freezer bag. Either cut up your fish for kebabs, or slide in the whole fillet as I did. Seal the bag and squoosh the fish around until it is all covered with the marinade and store in the fridge for at least an hour. Then either thread the fish onto moistened bamboo skewers for the grill, or put the contents of the freezer bag in an appropriate sized baking dish sprayed with oil and bake in a 450F oven until its done.
The pomegranate molasses has a tangy sweet-sour taste that's a little odd all on it's own, but is great mixed with the honey and soy and cooked till the fish caramelizes a bit on the edges. When I opened the oven to check on the salmon, Jim called out from the other room, wanting to know what smelled like blueberry muffins. I served my fillets over a bed of baby arugula with minced green onions on top, and the contrast of the green and salmon colors was beautiful. I liked it, Ian liked it, Jim allowed that it was moist and not fishy, and Jay ate corn for dinner.