Thursday, February 7, 2013

Cooking With The Ones You Love

Spending time with my husband in the kitchen has been a little less frequent these days due to our opposite work schedules.  However, yesterday was a treat to have him home on my day off.  We were finally able to cook a meal together and actually enjoy it without rushing off somewhere.  Cooking together hasn't always been enjoyable.  We have had to learn to accept each others methods and techniques, especially when it came to chopping, cooking fish and seasoning certain foods. Despite our differences I have to say our love for food will always remain the same.  Creating together in the kitchen has brought us closer together and has kept our relationship strong.  It has taught us to be accepting, open and encouraging of one another.  But to be clear I think I have to start at the beginning where my love for food, cooking and entertaining began, my parents.

I have many memories of my parents cooking together in the kitchen.  Whether it was just a weeknight dinner before taking my sister and I to dance class or one of their huge backyard parties they often threw during the summer months, they did it together and always (well mostly always) with finesse.  Just like Greg and I, my parents too have had and still do have their fair share of differences in the kitchen.  My Dad is constantly changing his recipes.  He is always creating something new and more interesting by adding new flavors or completely deleting something from his original recipe.  My Mom on the other hand keeps it traditional.  Her recipes mostly remain the same, never disappointing her guests.  

As much as I would love to share one of their amazing recipes I can't.  They are family secrets and if you want a taste you'll have to stop by their place for dinner.  In the meantime, Greg and I want to share one of my favorite dishes that he created.  His Maple-Bacon Salmon with Baby Broccoli is the perfect sweet and savory dish to start off this month of cooking with the ones you love.

Maple-Bacon Salmon with Baby Broccoli

2 6-8 ounce salmon fillets
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 strips bacon, sliced into small pieces
1 tablespoon maple syrup
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 baby broccoli
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large shallot, sliced
2 tablespoons dry sherry
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the salmon by seasoning it with salt and pepper.  Next rub the brown sugar into the salmon fillets.  Sprinkle the cinnamon on top and set aside.

In a small pan cook the chopped bacon over medium-high heat until crisp.  Drain the grease and set aside.  

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Carefully place the prepared salmon fillets in the pan.  Cook for 5-7 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid.  Cook covered for another 10-12 minutes until done in the center.  Turn off the heat and let it rest in the pan for about 5 minutes.

While the salmon is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan.  Add the garlic and shallots and cook until the garlic has browned a bit.  Add the baby broccoli and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring to combine.  Add the dry sherry and stir to absorb the liquid.  Cover with a lid and cook for another 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  The baby Broccoli should be slightly al dente.

Lastly, add the maple syrup to the small pan of cooked bacon. Cook on medium heat until combined and hot, about 2 minutes.  Place the maple-bacon on top of the salmon fillets and serve immediately with the baby broccoli.  Serves 2.