Recipe of the Month: Spicy Smoked Salmon with Wasabi Dipping Sauce

June 30, 2013

Salmon Photo

Spicy Smoked Salmon with Wasabi Dipping Sauce

Varietal: Pinot Gris

Serves 12 as an appetizer, 6 to 8 as an entrée

By curing a side of salmon overnight in a marinade brimming with freshly ground spices and a touch of liquid smoke, then cooking the fish in a low oven, the pink flesh becomes meltingly tender and flavorful, with a taste similar to smoked salmon. Best of all, you don’t even need a stovetop or outdoor smoker! And while some people consider it difficult to pair wines with smoked seafood, the spices in this dish make that task a bit easier. The intriguing combination of warm spices, including star anise, allspice, cinnamon, and coriander, cries out for an aromatic wine with lots of fruit. I’d opt for Pinot Gris, the irrepressibly food-friendly wine from Oregon. Medium-bodied, dry, and lightly acidic, Pinot Gris pairs perfectly with so many preparations of fish, shellfish, poultry, and pork. Look for citrus, honey, and spice notes on the nose and in the mouth, and serve it slightly chilled. This recipe is tried and true, having appeared in both editions of the Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook. Leftovers (if there are any!) would be a lovely addition to a summer picnic basket.

1 tablespoon Salmon Spice Mix (Recipe follows)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon mirin

1 tablespoon sake

1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon canola oil or sesame oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon liquid smoke

Pinch of salt

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

1 side of salmon, filleted and boned, with skin (about 2 1/2 pounds)

Freshly ground white pepper

Wasabi Dipping Sauce (Recipe follows)

Place Salmon Spice Mix, soy sauce, mirin, sake, rice vinegar, canola oil, maple syrup, liquid smoke, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes in a small nonreactive bowl with a lid and mix until well blended.

Place a piece of plastic wrap lengthwise on a baking sheet, allowing 8 inches of extra wrap at each end to cover the salmon. Place salmon on the plastic wrap, skin side down. Spoon half the marinade over salmon and rub into the flesh. Turn the salmon over and cover completely with plastic wrap. Place the salmon and leftover marinade in the refrigerator overnight.

One hour before cooking, remove the salmon and the remaining marinade from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature. Ten minutes before cooking, preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Place a rack large enough to hold the fish on a baking sheet and spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray.

When the oven is hot, place the salmon on the rack, skin side down. Pour half of the remaining marinade onto the salmon, patting in gently.

Place the baking sheet on the top rack of the oven and roast the salmon for 15 minutes. Remove salmon from the oven and cover with the remaining marinade. Return salmon to the oven for 30 to 45 minutes more, or until opaque throughout and golden brown in color.

To serve, remove the skin (if desired), and place the fish on a serving platter. Sprinkle lightly with white pepper and pass the Wasabi Dipping Sauce at the table.

Salmon Spice Mix

1 whole star anise

1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds

4 whole allspice berries

1 (3-inch) stick cinnamon, broken into several pieces

Place all of the ingredients in a spice mill or small, clean electric coffee grinder and process until very finely ground. Pour the spices into a small nonreactive bowl or jar with a lid, cover and set aside.

Wasabi Dipping Sauce

Makes about 1/4 cup

1 tablespoon wasabi powder

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons honey mustard

Stir together all of the ingredients in a small nonreactive bowl. Allow to sit at room temperature at least 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend, or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Recipe reprinted with permission from the “Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook,” gift edition and e-edition, by Braiden Rex-Johnson, copyright 2005 and 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

My Summer Vacation: Best Dishes Lisbon to London

June 24, 2013


Shrimp cocktail on the seabourn quest

In May, we enjoyed 18 days out of the office taking a Lisbon to London cruise aboard the Seabourn Sojourn. Here are a few of my favorite dishes we discovered along the way, beginning with this Shrimp Cocktail from the Sojourn’s Restaurant 1 (main) dining room. Gorgeous presentation on Rosenthal china.

Fried soft-shelled crabs on the seabourn quest

Also aboard the Sojourn, Soft-shelled Crab, better than my mother used to make (sorry, Mom!).

Tofu chow mein on the seabourn quest

A vegetarian entrée aboard the Sojourn–Tofu with Chow Mein–light and full of interesting Asian spices.

Asturian bean and meat stew

During our first port call, in Gijon, Spain, we tried the traditional Asturian bean and meat stew offered to us for lunch at a traditional Sidre (hard- cider) factory.

Raw oysters on the half shell in bordeaux

Fresh oysters at Le Noailles, a restaurant we chose for our one dinner in Bordeaux (a beautiful city where we enjoyed an overnight port call).

Sole meuniere in bordeaux

Sole Meuniére at Le Noailles, our dinner restaurant in Bordeaux. One of the best (if not THE BEST) version of this dish we’ve ever had.

Steamed artichoke in bordeaux

The giant “artichoke salad” I ordered at Le Noailles in Bordeaux. Big as your head! Served with traditional aïoli sauce.

Bouillabaisse aboard seabourn quest ship

Back aboard the Sojourn, I dove into this beautiful Bouillabaisse, made from the local fish we bought during our Market Tour with Seabourn chef Martin.

Three-minute boiled egg aboard seabourn quest ship

A gorgeous three-minute egg I enjoyed aboard the Sojourn during a sunny morning in Bordeaux. Look at that gorgeous saffron-colored yolk!

Fruit plate aboard seabourn quest ship

My fruit salad made a colorful photographic study when taken with my favorite Hipstamatic iPhone4 app.

Giant meringues in St. Malo


Giant meringues in a bakery window in St. Malo, France–the “Buccaneer City!”

Fresh seafood display in St. Malo

Gorgeous seafood displays at a restaurant in St. Malo.

Fresh lobster in Guernsey

Grilled lobster and boiled potatoes (local specialties) in Guernsey, England.

Macaron ice-cream sandwiches in Rouen, France

Macaron “ice-cream sandwiches” in Rouen, France.

French fries in Bruges, Belgium

Frites with mayonnaise, our well-deserved lunch after a busy day of sightseeing in Bruges, Belgium.

Steamed mussels in London, England

Back on shore during our three days in London post-cruise, we enjoyed steamed mussels at Wright Brothers, a well-known seafood restaurant in London.

Spinach soufflé at Langans Brasserie, London, England

The beautiful Spinach Soufflé I enjoyed during our last dinner of the 18-day trip. . .at Langan’s Brasserie, partly owned by actor Michael Caine, in the Mayfair section of London.


Pike Place Market Farmers Market Opens June 21 on Pike Place!

June 17, 2013

Braiden Rex-Johnson signing the "Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook"

It’s a place that, for the past 23 years, has been near and dear to my heart, so much so I’ve written half a dozen books on the subject: the Pike Place Market.

Pike Place Market Summer Sundays

And on June 21, Pike Place Market’s annual farmers market opens on Pike Place, continuing a tradition begun in August 1907, when farmers gathered in the newly founded public marketplace to sell fresh produce to Seattle citizens from the back of their wagons. Today, Washington farmers continue to sell at the Market year-round, 362 days a year.

During the bountiful growing season, the Market operates a designated farmers market on the street of Pike Place, Friday through Sunday, though farmers are also at the Market both inside the Main Arcade and outside on Pike Place on other days of the week.

In addition to the farmers market on Pike Place, the Market also operates three weekly Express farmers markets at City Hall Plaza, in South Lake Union at 410 Terry Ave North, and (new this year), Occidental Park in Pioneer Square.

“The farmers participating in the Market’s year-round farm program and summer farmers markets play an essential role in the health of the Market community and the greater Downtown neighborhood,” said Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority Executive Director Ben Franz-Knight. “These farmers provide Seattle residents the option to buy fresh, abundant and in-season produce in a variety of locations, days and hours, helping to build healthier lives.”

“We are excited for the Express Market to come to Pioneer Square,” said Leslie Smith, Executive Director of the Alliance for Pioneer Square. “The option to buy fresh, local produce and flowers over the summer is a perfect complement to all of the exciting changes taking place in the neighborhood.”

Pike Place Market Farmers Market Schedule

Farmers Market on Pike Place

June 21 – September 29

Friday-Sunday, 9 am – 5 pm

Beginning June 21, farmers sell their produce on the street of Pike Place. On Sundays, certain blocks of Pike Place are closed to vehicle traffic, creating a pedestrian thoroughfare for farmers market shoppers.

Express Markets

City Hall Plaza

June 18-October 29

Tuesdays, 10 am-2 pm

600 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

Occidental Park, Pioneer Square

June 19-October 30

Wednesdays, 10 am-2 pm

S Main St & Occidental Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

South Lake Union

June 20-October 31

Thursdays, 10 am-2 pm

410 Terry Ave. North, Seattle, WA 98109

Chef Demos at the Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market Chefs on the Cobblestones Schedule

Starting June 23

Sundays, 12 pm & 2 pm, at the intersection of Pike Place and Stewart St.

Here is the complete schedule.

Strawberry Season in Full Swing

June 10, 2013

Biringer Farm girl in field with berries

It’s that time of year again. . .when strawberries are on the vine and just about ready for the picking!

According to Dianna and Mike Biringer, owners of Biringer Farm in Arlington, Wash., “Strawberries are very independent and can be sneaky! Some blooms are hiding under the vines, which keeps everyone guessing when they are going to turn into those sweet, red and juicy strawberries. However, the crop should be ready close to a normal timeline of mid-June.”

With that in mind, the fun begins this weekend with the annual Biringer Farm Strawberry Harvest Fest, Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Bring family and friends for berry fun activities: pony rides, giant strawberry ride, kites, animals, face paint, giant strawberry and castle maze inflatables, pennies in the hay, kiddy slides, interactive strawberry story time, ride the jolly trolley, and pluck strawberries right from the vines.

Biringer Farms pennies in the hay game photo

Enjoy a picnic on the covered wagon next to the old historic barn, fresh strawberry shortcake, kettle corn, and more. Special guests on Saturday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. are Voices of the Village, a musical performance group of individuals with disabilities.

Mark your calendars for the Biringer Farm annual Raspberry Fest & Jam Contest–Saturday, July 20, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pick your own berries, then enter the Jam Contest with your own creative strawberry/raspberry jam mix.

Festival admission is free, with reasonably priced food and drink. And tour groups can book a visit online and experience farm life.

Farm Market Goodies include pre-picked strawberries, sliced and sugared strawberries ready to eat and freeze, local honey, gourmet packaged shortcakes, and cold drinks.

Biringer Farms strawberry box photo

Throughout the season, Biringer Farms offer not only sweet and juicy strawberries, but luscious raspberries, tayberries, blackberries, and blackcaps.

Check the Biringer Farm website for updates during harvest season or call the Customer Information Line: 425-259-0255.

Biringer Farm Satellite Berry Barns will be at different locations for those that are unable to visit the farm. The Biringer family will also bring choice berries to the Shoreline, Arlington, and new Everett Mall Farmers Market at the Everett Mall.

Biringer Farm is a proud sponsor of The Marysville Strawberry Festival and members of The Red Rooster Route Family Farms.

Northwest Wining and Dining Drinks Seattle!

June 3, 2013

A.J. Rathbun Drink Seattle iphone app

A.J. Rathbun, our good buddy and prolific author, whom we’ve written about not one time, but twice for The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest magazine, has done it again.

But this time instead of another book (among which he has written “Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz,” the award-winning “Good Spirits,” and a host of others), this time A.J. has come up with his own app: Drink Seattle: A Spirited Journey Through Seattle Bars and Cocktails with A.J. Rathbun.

The Drink Seattle app costs just $1.99 in the iPhone App Store, with an Android version coming soon.

In the app, A.J. Rathbun, awarding-winning author of a host of cocktail and home-entertaining books, recommends over 50 of the best bars, cocktails, distilleries, and cocktail supply shops in and around Seattle.

And whether you’re visiting Seattle or already live here, if you like a good drink, you need this app. With the ever-jovial and witty A.J. as your guide, you won’t miss a lounge, bar, distillery, or dive that’s worth sitting down and sipping within.

This bubbly whirl gives you a great drink in nearly every neighborhood, specific cocktail picks for each place and a host of insights on individual bar personalities.

Each recommended establishment features a detailed review, notes on what to order, and great photos and tips for having the best experience you can.

As you’d expect, the app has a lot of bells and whistles–GPS, one-touch dialing, and turn-by-turn directions – and vital info like business hours, websites, etc. And, awesomely, the app is updated frequently so you stay abreast of all the latest changes in the Seattle cocktail scene.

A.J. knows from whence he writes, since he pens the monthly Bar Hop column for Seattle Magazine and a weekly blog for them on spirits, cocktails, and bars, as well as authoring his own tipsy blog Spiked Punch. He’s a frequent guest on the Everyday Food program (Martha Stewart Living/Sirius satellite radio), and a contributor to culinary and entertainment magazines such as Every Day with Rachael Ray, The Food Network Magazine, Real Simple, Wine Enthusiast, and many others.

For even more from A.J., you can follow him on Twitter.