I know, this is a cooking blog! But, here's my admission, I'm a gamer. And I need some inspiration and some fun. SO! I'm going to be trying out creating some recipes that recreate those found in the World of Warcraft online game. There are, if my count is right, 102 cooking recipes in the WoW universe. And I want to try and do them all. And yes, I'm a horrible blogger so this is also my way of making sure I spend some time on this. I'm also going to be attempting to showcase some different techniques and less commonly used items while I do this. But I promise you, nothing is beyond your skill in the kitchen when you have a good guide along.
First up! Lets start easy shall we, Baked Salmon.
I've decided I want to use a technique called, Salt Baking. Literally, the fish will be encased in a layer of coarse Salt. Don't leave now, I promise we're not going to turn that beautiful salmon into a salt lick for Mr. Bigglesworth
The WoW recipe:one Raw Whitescale Salmon, and soothing spices.
Crimson Coat Chef Recipe:
1 Whole Wild Salmon, 8lbs is the average for what you'll get in store and will easily feed 6-10people. Scaled and cleaned.
10-12lbs of coarse Kosher Salt
5-7 egg whites, possibility more
1/2 cup of cold water
Crimson Coat Chef's Soothing Spices:
1tsp fresh ground pepper
1tsp whole coriander
1tsp whole fennel seed
1tps whole cumin
1 star anise
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp onion powder
You will need, a baking sheet or roasting pan long enough to accommodate the size of your fish.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees
Rinse and completely dry your salmon.
Grind all the spices for the Soothing Spices, together until they are a powder and use to season the cavity of the salmon.
Whisk together the egg whites and 1/2 cup cold water and combine it with the salt in a large bowl. Work the mixture with your hands to distribute the water and egg whites in the salt. The salt mixture should hold together like wet sand when you compress it in your hand. If it doesn't add another egg white and mix that in until it does.
Place a layer about 1/2 inch thick of salt in the bottom of your pan. Lay the Fish on it's side on top of this. Now use the rest of your salt to cover the fish entirely.
Place the whole salt covered fish into the oven and bake for 40-60 minutes. To test if the fish is cooked, poke a metal skewer or kitchen fork through the salt and into the fish where the fish is the thickest. Pull the skewer out: If the skewer is warm to the touch, then the salmon is cooked. Also you could use an instant read thermometer poke it into the thickest part of the fish and you're looking for a temp of 125degrees. Transfer pan to a wire rack, and let rest until cool enough to handle, this will also allow for carry over cooking of your salmon to bring it to the 131-145 ranges without over cooking.
This is the fun part and I don't shy away from doing it at the table, I use a large wooden cutting board that's beautiful enough to look good at the table. Place your fish on this and at the table, have some fun cracking open that salt layer!
As you peal the salt layer away, most of the skin will likely come with it. If it doesn't just use a fork to gently remove the skin.
Okay, so you've cooked up a beautiful baked salmon. The presentation is stunning and not one often seen. Now is not the time to do like your WoW character, sit on your tush and shovel food in your mouth. I promise you that serving up a whole fish, isn't that difficult.
Fish have a two-dimensional bone structure, and certain fish (red snapper, trout) lift off the bone more easily than others after cooking. Use a knife and fork, or a spatula, to lift the flesh in sections from the flat bone.
Once that's done, do not flip the fish over. It's said to be bad luck. Instead, lift the backbone to reveal the bottom fillet.
Tiny bones, pin bones, may still be playing hide and seek, so be diligent. If you do get a bone in the mouth, pay attention to bone removal etiquette: Using your thumb and forefinger, remove the offending splinter discreetly.