Sunday, April 1, 2007

Salmon Patties with Balsamic Chili Glaze

1 medium sized dried Pasilla Chilli
2 TB Dark Brown Sugar
1 Shallot
1 TB Lemon Juice
Balsamic Vinegar (The quality will affect the taste. I use a BV that I purchased at Trader Joe’s)
Powdered Cloves

Soak chili in about 2 cups of boiling water for about 10 minutes. Remove skin, it’s okay if a little skin remains

Dice chili and shallot. Melt butter in pan. For flavor I spray fat free butter spray as well.

Sautee shallot and chili until a dark brown but not burned. Add a couple of dashes of sea salt and ground black pepper.

Add sugar and continue to sauté. Add crushed chipotle cube. Deglaze with balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Start with ½ cup of the balsamic and add more to taste. Add a pinch or two of the cloves. Add grilled patties and make sure the patties are covered in the glaze.

This week I promised myself I would try to eat all of the food in my fridge before I went grocery shopping again in search of ingredients for my new experiment. I buy salmon patties from Trader Joe’s occasionally. Somehow, between the store and my trip home they lose their appeal. Today I went to my local wine / gourmet food store in search of a buttery chardonnay. My favorite chard so far is made by Toasted Head (produced the same company that makes R.H. Phillips). I love it because it is very buttery with a hint of sweetness. Supposedly, California chards are known for their buttery flavor.

“Toasting, or bousinage, is a traditional method coopers use to influence the impact of wood barrel aging on the quality of wine. Most wines fermented in oak barrels benefit from the firing of barrel staves to some degree. Toasted Head takes its name from the process of toasting the barrelheads in addition to the staves. This is what gives Toasted Head wines their unique vanilla and oak flavors.” – Vincor USA Website

So as I browsed the overpriced gourmet food selection, I came upon a Chipotle Balsamic Glaze. The price was $8 and since I am also trying to budget for a potential road trip later on this week, I did not purchase the glaze. I decided it couldn’t be too hard to recreate the sauce and I knew I had chilis from a enchilada kick I was on a couple of months ago, and I always have balsamic vinegar.

I went home and browsed a couple of glaze recipes on Epicurious and I felt confident that I could recreate this glaze at home. In my research I discovered that professional chefs use a demi-glace to create the complex sauces in their restaurants. The only way people have been able to get their hands on this “liquid gold” in the past is to either make it in their own or beg a chef for a cup or two. I considered making it at home, but the recipe is quite complicated (I would have to find veal fat and beef bones – No thank you!) However, there is a company that sells this product online, and I may look into purchasing that soon.

Back to the patties:

I overcooked the patties in my broiler but let me say it was OFF THE HOOK! I love how there was a hint of spicy with a tangy sweet. I ought to bottle this – I surprised myself. You can find the chili, cloves, and bouillon at a local bodega (Spanish Grocery Store). I ate the patty on a whole-wheat bun with dark leafy greens and a side salad with raspberry walnut vinaigrette, multi-grain croutons, dried raspberries, dried cranberries, and candied walnuts. I topped my meal off with a nice crisp and buttery 2004 Sonoma County Healdsburg Ranches Chardonnay produced by Belvedere Vineyards and Winery.