Now that my child wants to spend her late afternoons trying to spring all of my sharp kitchen tools from the child-proofed drawer in which they now reside, I need to keep all four of my eyes (the real ones + the ones that opened in the back of my head the minute I became a mother to the sneakiest dog on the planet) on her and not on my butcher’s block.
It was a nice run, but I knew the whole ‘my kid is entertained just watching me peel carrots from the comfort of her bouncy seat’ phase would end someday. And it did end, like, 7 months ago. It’s just taken me this long to accept it. Now she tries to climb into the garbage can to have a party with said carrot peels, with the sneaky hound close on her heels. What a pair, those two.
Don’t get me wrong, I love this phase. She dances to the theme of SportCenter, she shows strangers
my her belly button, and she thinks a roll of toilet paper is the world’s coolest toy. I get to read as many Dr. Seuss books as I want, which, after Fine Cooking, is my favorite choice of literature. Every night is a bastion of uninterrupted sleep. I get to buy dresses with tutu skirts. (For her, not me.) But we are now in the stage of vigilance, which means that if your child is on the couch and you get distracted for a nanosecond (Bradley Cooper interview on TV- don’t judge), there will be a thud, followed by crying, followed by horrible feelings of parental inadequacy.
Then you just bust out a brand new roll of toilet paper and all is right with the world once more. Parental confidence reinstated.
The moral of the story is that I can’t be whisking a delicate roux when the babe is running between testing the strength of the baby gate and pantsing me. Those meals are for weekends when there’s backup, aka Dad, for the pantsing.
But Olive Oil Poached Salmon? Restaurant-quality dish you can make in a snap, even while being pantsed. Don’t ask me how I know this.
Making this dish was the first time I had ever poached anything in olive oil, and it. is. awesome. The fish cooks slowly and gently, and what you end up with is the silkiest, most tender salmon you have ever tasted. I don’t think it’s even possible to overcook it, and overcooking salmon is an unfortunate skill of mine. LOVE LOVE LOVE the Indian spices, too. The only downside is that you use about 1 litre of olive oil that you can’t really use for anything else, so it’s a bit of a splurge to buy a whole bottle of olive oil for one dish. But it’s totally worth the splurge, I promise!
Just because there are days you don’t have the time and attention to devote to a complex meal, there is no excuse to not make something amazing. This is that something.
- 1 large garlic clove
- Kosher salt
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp cayenne
- 4-6 cups extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 (1-inch-thick) skinless salmon filets
- Peel and smash the garlic clove and a pinch of salt to a paste by mincing and then mashing it with the side of a chef's knife. Combine the garlic, garam masala, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and 1 tsp salt in a small bowl. Add just enough of the oil to turn the spice mixture into a smooth paste, 1-2 tsp. Rub the spice paste all over the salmon filets and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 225 degrees F.
- Pour a little over an inch of oil into a straight-sided saute pan (or enough oil to cover the salmon filets completely if your filets are not 1 inch thick). Heat the oil over low heat until the oil reaches 120 degrees F, about 2-3 minutes. Put the salmon filets in the oil in a single layer and immediately transfer the pan to the oven. Poach until a few small whitish droplets rise to the surface of the filet, about 25 minutes. Transfer salmon to a wire rack to drain for a few minutes. Serve warm.