Maybe it was the after- effects of a trip to Newcastle for a wedding that undermined Pete Bennett's cooking skills. Whatever the reason, it was a rueful email that touched down from Egmont Seafoods bemoaning the "balls up" with the sauce he'd cooked to go with this week's choice of the seared salmon.
"I decided on this dish for a couple of reasons," Bennett said.
"One was the combination of salmon and white chocolate which intrigued me. I had done the trusty old brown sugar or honey and salmon but never with chocolate."
"The other reason was because my doctor (bless her heart) reckoned she'd seldom examined someone with a cholesterol level that matched their shoe size."
But he erred there, too, with the mistaken belief that a high (9) reading was a good thing.
"I have six weeks to lower my cholesterol level naturally or I'm on the pill. I'm riding in a race at Taupo this weekend so that should help."
A healthy slab of salmon, loaded as it is with omega 3, was another reason that steered Bennett to that species.
Which brings us back to the white chocolate sauce. Bennett's wife, Karen, being an experienced nurse, looked at the recipe and wondered at her husband's half-baked attempt at healthy eating.
"She reckoned the sauce made the dish look like cholesterol city on a plate. But I won her around even if the sauce looked more like the melted cheese on toast you eat at midnight watching rugby on the telly with the boys.
"We both agreed the combination worked surprisingly well and was a dish to show off if you feel the need."
But the failure with the sauce bugged Bennett so he revisited the recipe.
"Geez, it was so obvious. I put three tablespoons of butter in the pan then three of the same of flour - but the flour should have been teaspoons. Must have been jetlag from the trip to Oz."
Being a perfectionist with the pots and pans Bennett rated the combination a nine out of 10, but marked his effort a seven.
"I could have been tougher but it actually tasted all right despite its look. The lemon sour really offset the chocolate sweet, which really balanced out the flavour and tastes."
It's OK, Pete. One blue a year is OK. You'd pass your NCEA in food technology.
FRESH SALMON WITH LEMON & WHITE CHOCOLATE SAUCE
3 Tbsp butter
3 tsp all-purpose flour
1 cup fish stock
6 tsp fresh lemon juice or 2 x lemons squeezed
60g white chocolate (eat the leftovers)
1 Tbsp fresh green peppercorns
2 Tbsp butter
1kg fillet of fresh Regal Salmon cut into 120-150g portions
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt three tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
When the butter has melted add the flour and mix well. Add fish stock, stirring constantly to incorporate and cook the flour. Let the sauce cook on low heat for approximately 15 minutes, stirring regularly.
Add lemon juice, white chocolate and peppercorns. Add salt to taste.
Melt two tablespoons butter in a non- stick pan over medium heat.
Cook the pieces of salmon for about five minutes per side until it has browned. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the salmon with rice, sauce and cooked asparagus or beans.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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