I might have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating that Hay Day Country Market Cookbook is one of my favorite cookbooks. There are no fancy pictures or glossy pages in this book, but this book contains recipes that I return to again and again for a unique taste. Kona-Crusted Beef with Sweet Onion Jam? Awesome! Wild Mushroom, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Lasagne? One of my favorite vegetarian main courses!
Another go-to dish is the Potato-Crusted Salmon in Fresh Avocado “Mayonnaise.” The first time I made this, I was petrified that the shredded potato was going to fall off the salmon while frying. Or that I wasn’t going to be able to flip the whole thing without demolishing the rather delicate balance the fish and potato were attempting to achieve. Somehow though, everything worked out perfectly.
Since then, I have had minor incidents and anxieties. Namely, some potato shreds falling off and needing to be put back on top of the fish mid-cooking, or worries that the salmon wasn’t going to be perfectly cooked without burning the potatoes, etc.
Over the years, I’ve evolved an “it-doesn’t-have-to-be-completely-homemade” attitude towards this dish. I’m not advocating that we all ascribe to Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade philosophy, but we also don’t all have Food Network TV shows on cooking. Why set our bars that much higher and insist on slaving over every detail? Maybe I’m looking at that wide middle ground between Sandra Lee and Thomas Keller…?
Let’s start with this Potato-Crusted Salmon dish. Cooking the same dish a few times means that I have some decided opinions about what I do and do not like about this particular recipe. I love the combination of flavors, the crusty bits of potatoes, and the aesthetics of the dish. On the other hand—even aside from the slight trickiness of piling the shredded potatoes on the salmon and browning both vegetable and the fish—I’ve always wished that I could have BOTH sides of the salmon browned and crispy. (I could also use for both sides of the potatoes to be browned, but that’s not as big a deal.) Moreover, wouldn’t it be nice if I could keep the skin on the salmon so that I could have crispy and salty salmon skin? Yum!
So, this is what I do, and I am providing step-by-step pictures so that you can follow along.
Avocado sauce on bottom
You can skip making the Avocado “Mayonnaise” by using pre-made guacamole. Either way, spread a goodly amount (about ¼ cup) of the guacamole or the Avocado Mayonnaise on the bottom of the dinner plate.
You can use shredded potatoes to make hash browns, or you can cheat by frying up potato pancakes/latkes (like I did). Place on top of the avocado sauce.
Pan sear salmon separately
Salt and pepper both sides of skin-on salmon pieces (about 6 oz each), throw them skin-side down in a hot and generously olive-oiled (cast iron) skillet. Cook for a few minutes (3-4) to get the skin crispy, and then flip and cook another 2-3 minutes. Place on top of the potatoes.
Now judge for yourself how fast, easy, yummy, and impressive this salmon dish is.
Happy July 4th Holiday! Maybe next week's post will have something on what Will and I were able to put together for the 4th!