Magazine article Sunset

Do You Know How You Mask a 2.5-Pound Salmon and Why? Let Our Chef Tell You

Magazine article Sunset

Do You Know How You Mask a 2.5-Pound Salmon and Why? Let Our Chef Tell You

Article excerpt

Do you know how you mask a 2-1/2-pound salmon and why? Let our chef tell you "who is that masked fish, and why is he disguised?" No need to worry. He hasn't come to steal your silver bullets or carry on some Venetian intrigue in carnival season; he's merely dressed up for a party.

MAsking a fish is usually done by slathering it with mayonnaise or aspic and then decorating it with a scaly armor of lemon or cucumber slices artfully overlapped. Cooks who are really into decoration may add an eye made from a slice of stuffed olive, or cobble up fins and tail from other vegetable oddments. The result is the piscatorial equivalent of the roast pheasant with its plumage.

Michael Courtney dresses his fish more plainly, using whipped eggs and cheese. His aim is not only to mask the fish but also to seal in the moisture and enrich the flavor--and he is right on target.

Salmon with Egg-Cheese Mask 1 salmon fillet, 2-1/2 to 2-3/4 pounds 3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice Freshly ground pepper 3 large eggs 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dry dill weed 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese Thin lemon slices Rinse fillet, pat dry, and lay skin side down in a greased 9- by 13-inch shallow casserole (rectangular or oval). Evenly pour lemon juice over fish and sprinkle lightly with pepper.

Bake salmon, uncovered, in a 400[deg.] oven until fish just begins to flake when prodded in thickest portion with a fork, but still looks slightly moist in center, 11 to 13 minutes.

While salmon is baking, beat eggs on high speed with an electric mixer until foamy and about doubled in volume. Beat in dill.

When fillet flakes, remove from oven and sprinkle top evenly with all the mozarella and 1/i cup of the parmesan. Spread beaten eggs over fish to cover completely.

Return to oven and bake until egg mixture begins to firm (it should look set when gently shaken), about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle egg evenly with the remaining parmesan cheese. Broil 2 inches from heat until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Cut into rectangles and serve with a wide spatula. Place lemon slices alongside fish. Serves 6 to 8.

Leo Thielke's German-Japanese kitchen has furnished these columns with many surprises. His latest starts off as an array of chopped vegetales apparently headed for transfiguration by stir-frying in a wok. At the last minute, though, they veer off to be mixed with a dressing that combines the elements of a vinaigrette and an Oriental marinade.

The result is Salad Oriental, with a hint of sultriness and mystery--insinuated by ginger and hot pepper seasoning. …

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