Thursday, November 8, 2012

Post-Election Depression?

Last weekend, I was listening to NPR about how passionate both sides were for Romney and Obama. One story was about a man who apparently makes excellent bbq and was resolute for Romney. Upon learning that his brother-in-law was voting for Obama, the man declared that if Obama won his brother-in-law could still come over to his house and eat whatever his wife made, but would NOT be allowed to eat his fabulous bbq for the duration of Obama's term! Ha! Ha!

Being a native Texan, I'm naturally inclined to not wanting the government controlling every aspect of my life, so I'm disappointed. Plus, the economy sucks! So to help deal with my shock and melancholy, I made a perfect anti-depression dinner: "Camembert Salmon with Leeks." Salmon, loaded with omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to combat depression as well as being good for your heart and blood pressure, and leeks, containing flavonoids that help prevent the breakdown of serotonin and dopamine, two key brain chemicals responsible for happiness. This outstanding dish really did make me feel better and the Pinot Noir didn't hurt either! 

(Even my picture looks sad....)

Camembert Salmon with Leeks

Serves 4

For the Leeks
6 leeks
canola oil
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Salmon
4 salmon fillets (about 1/4-1/2 lb each), with skin
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon canola oil (also good for depression)

For the Camembert Sauce
8 oz Camembert
1/2 cup cream (or more if needed)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cider vinegar, or more to taste

For the Sauteed Leeks
Slice 5 of the leeks into rings and wash in bowl of warm water, allowing the grit to sink to the bottom of the bowl. (For more, see Techniques.) Melt the butter in a large skillet and gently saute the leeks until tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

For the Fried Leeks (optional, but is delicious!)
Cut the remaining leek into very thin slices, wash, drain, and separate with your fingers. Heat about 1 1/2" of canola oil in a saucepan over high heat. When the oil is very hot and a test leek slice sizzles immediately upon entering the oil, begin to deep-fry the thin leeks in batches until they're crisp and golden, about 30 seconds. Remove the batches with a slotted spoon or tongs and drain on paper towels. Season with salt. Set aside.

For the Camembert Sauce
Unwrap the cheese, remove the rind (or your sauce will be lumpy), and cut into large pieces. Place with the cream in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally, to melt. When smooth, season with salt and pepper. Taste, then add the vinegar. If you'd like it slightly more acidic, add a bit more vinegar.

For the Salmon
Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over high heat until the skin of the salmon touched to it sizzles immediately. Cook the salmon skin side down until done to your liking, about 6-8 minutes. (This technique, known as "unilateral," is common in France, and keeps the salmon slightly rare and very moist inside. If you don't want to try it, just flip the salmon over halfway, and cook until done to your liking.)

Plating the Dish
Rewarm the sauteed leeks and sauce, if needed. Divide the sauteed leeks evenly among 4 plates, forming a circle, leaving the center of the plates clear for the salmon. Lay a salmon fillet in the center of each plate. Spoon around the sauce and garnish with the fried leeks. Serve immediately. Yum!

Recipe adapted from French Food at Home, by Laura Calder.

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