Monday, July 18, 2011

Repurposing Basil, Part II (Basil-infused Sockeye Salmon, Grilled Pattypan Squash & Roasted Beets)

A recent trip to Lexington to spend some quality dude time with my friend The Chad yielded a deliciously unexpected result. The Chad and his lovely wife participate in a Community Sponsored Agriculture program. If you’re unfamiliar, a CSA is a program in which you buy a “share” of the output of a local farm. Each week or two, members pick up a variety of fresh veggies. Like the proverbial Gump box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.

When I was there, The Chad had picked up his share as well as the share of some friends, as they were on vacation. As a result, he had vegetables in every nook and cranny of his kitchen. He so much as begged, “ me from this vegetal avalanche!” So I did.

Among other things, I ended up with a bunch of lovely looking beets and the first-ever pattypan squash I’d ever run across. A pattypan squash is a summer squash which looks like...well...a pan. It’s “flying saucer” shaped. It’s got a neutral flavor – like a very firm zucchini.

We were in the mood for some grilled stuff, so I simply sliced the pattypan in half, brushed both sides with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and garlic. The beets we sliced into rounds and put in a foil pack with olive oil, chopped garlic, salt, and pepper. There was some nice-looking sockeye salmon at the supermarket, so I snagged a couple of pieces and gave them the salt/pepper/olive oil treatment. I covered the tops of the filets with basil leaves.

Fired up the grill to medium-high and put the beet pack on there after a couple of minutes while the grill was heating up. After about 10 minutes, I killed the burners on one side of the grill. I’ve been cooking more and more fish over indirect heat. I’ve found that to be a much more forgiving cooking method. I put the fish over the now-off burners.

The squash went over direct heat. I grilled that for 6-7 minutes on a side. Everything finished at more or less the same time. When we dished it up, it looked like this:



The basil did infuse the fish with a nice, light herbal flavor – a good counterpoint to the smokiness from the grill and the earthiness of the vegetables. Quite a nice little dinner.


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