Somehow the other night I inadvertently made an all pink dinner. Sometimes the only things you have in your fridge are salmon, beets and Meyer lemons. Forget lettuce or carrots. But after last weeks’ all brown dinner, which is a frequent specialty, fluorescent pink looks great on the plate. This would be a great meal for Valentine’s day.
I loosely based this meal on Peruvian cuisine. I went to Peru in 2005, alone. I'm not sure how well advised it is to travel solo in South America as a 21 year old girl, but I’m still alive. I spent the afternoons wandering around Cusco conversing with a textile shop owner, and wandered around Machu Picchu with a wicked cold, warding off death as I admired the beautiful stone structures.
My pisco sour sauce derives from the tangy sweetness of a pisco sour cocktail, reduced with red onion and a splash of salt, for a southern hemispheric take on sweet and sour sauce. Between Peru and Chile, pisco, a distilled grape liquor, abounds. Family gatherings and fancier restaurants offered a pisco sour, a cocktail frapped with egg white, sugar, lemon juice and pisco. After living in Chile for a year, I tried pisco mixed with just about everything, a piscola or pisco and coke was my favorite.
I poached the salmon in olive oil, resulting in a delicious, delicate fish. It is a treat because it requires about a cup of oil per fish fillet. The oil cooks the fish at a low temperature allowing the fish to retain every drop of moisture without overcooking it. I accompanied the fish with beets and quinoa which absorbs aberrant olive oil and sauce.
Pisco sour sauce
1/2 small red onion thinly sliced
1 tbsp butter
Juice and zest of 2 Meyer lemons
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup pisco
Olive oil poached salmon
1 cup oil per fillet of salmon
Wild salmon fillets
For the sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and sweat the onions, about 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and zest, sugar, pisco and salt and reduce until thick, about 20-30 minutes. The texture should be similar to syrup.
For the salmon. Over low heat in saucepot large enough to fit the fish, add the oil and heat until warm to touch. You do not want to boil the oil or overheat it, just simply warm it. Add the salmon. Allow to cook 15-25 minutes until the surface of the entire fish appears white. Remove the salmon and the excess oil.