Thursday, May 26, 2016

Feast Your eyes: Cast-iron salmon recipe from Ray's on the River

(c) Ray's Restaurants

Mmm, wild-caught sockeye salmon from the Copper River in Alaska… Have you ever had it? It is so tasty! And oh so different from the farm-raised Atlantic kind! 

And by different I mean better: It is high in Omega-3’s, which are good for our bodies for a range of reasons. It also doesn’t have any added coloring, so the texture and flavor are completely natural. The tricky part is that you can only get it during the summer, when the fish is in season. 

Ray’s on the River (and its sister properties, Ray’s in the City and Ray’s at Killer Creek) is one of the few restaurants in Atlanta that carries Copper River salmon, and it’s flown in fresh daily. That last part counts for a lot, and corporate executive chef Mike Fuller’s creativity makes it a must try. 

Fuller shared his recipe with us last year, which you can find here, but his genius creation for this season takes it up a notch: 

Cast-iron Copper River king salmon with local butter beans, Carolina gold rice and lemon aioli. 
(c) Ray's Restaurants

Ingredients
Aioli:
1/2 cup homemade or Duke’s mayonnaise
1 tsp finely chopped green garlic
Zest and juice of 1 Meyer lemon
1/2 tsp Tabasco
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Beans and Rice:
2 cups light chicken stock
1/2 smoked ham hock
1 cup freshly shucked butter beans (may substitute with field peas)
2 Tbsp butter, divided
2 cups cooked Carolina gold rice
Salt and pepper to taste

Salmon:
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 (7-oz) Copper River king salmon fillets, skin on, pin bones out
Salt and pepper to taste

Method
Aioli:
Whisk together mayonnaise, garlic, lemon zest and juice, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Set aside at room temperature if using immediately, otherwise refrigerate.

Beans and Rice:
Bring chicken stock to a boil with ham hock and simmer 10 minutes over medium heat. Drop in beans with 1 Tbsp butter, salt and pepper. Cook approximately 5 minutes over medium heat, or until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon into a sauté pan with 2 oz. of the pot liquor, remaining butter, cooked rice and salt and pepper to taste.

For Salmon:
Preheat cast-iron pan over high heat until very hot. Brush both sides of salmon with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place skin side down in hot skillet and weight with a plate to press into pan. Cook approximately 2 minutes, or until skin is crusty and golden brown. Turn and cook to desired temperature. We suggest medium-rare at Ray's.

For Plating:
Place a dollop of aioli just off center of serving bowl. Mound beans and rice opposite aioli. Top with salmon, crispy skin side up. Garnish with seasonal herbs or sprouts and lemon wedge seared in cast iron.