Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Smoked Salmon Omelet

My daughter and I spent a splendid week in Grand Marais, Minnesota the last week of June. It was amazing. There's something special about Grand Marais in that it combines the northwoods with the seaside. Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world, but for all practical purposes it feels like the ocean minus the salt. The fresh fish is second to none. I argue that there isn't a better tasting fish and chips anywhere than the kind made with Lake Superior herring.  Yes, herring. Not pickled. Trust me. It's amazing deep fried AND smoked. Dockside Fish Market does it best. They have incredible fish and chips, made with the morning's catch as well as a great variety of soup and chowder. Each day is something different. My daughter wanted to eat soup there every day. So we did. Cheddar Vegetable with Smoked Salmon, Corn and Trout Chowder, I could go on. I hope to make some equally wonderful soups this winter but may have to get the smoked fish shipped from up north. Their brown sugar brine smoked bluefin herring, lake trout, whitefish and salmon are fabulous. But I am not here to sell you on the smoked fish, the soup, or the town, though I highly recommend a visit there if you have never been. We took in as much fish as we dared to eat and then brought home a good variety of smoked goodies to enjoy at home. We had lake trout and three kinds of salmon: coho, king, and sockeye. This recipe uses sockeye, but you could use your favorite smoked salmon and it would be great. It was a nice way to use the last little bit of salmon in a way that really let the flavor shine.

Smoked Salmon Omelet
Serves 1
1 t. olive oil
3 eggs 
splash of water 
1/2 tsp Redmond Real Salt's Organic Season Salt
1/4 c. smoked salmon, broken into small pieces and checked for bones
1/4 c. steamed broccoli
2 slices havarti cheese (muenster or provolone would substitute nicely)
1/4 tsp. dill weed

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over medium high heat. Beat the eggs with just a splash of water and add season salt. When oil is just heated, add the eggs and let them set a little on the edges, which only takes a few seconds. Using a spatula, 'break' the center and 'scramble' the eggs gently so the uncooked egg can move beneath the ones that are beginning to set. When the edges are cooked and the center is still soft, add your toppings. I put toppings on the half closest to me, so when I slide the omelet on the plate, I use the pan edge to flip the 'empty' half on top of the 'full' half. I make omelets folded in half, they are a bit easier to make than rolled ones. Personal preference. sprinkle with a bit of dill and serve hot.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Kale and Sausage Soup

It's the season for fresh garden kale in Minnesota. Sure, you can buy it in the store year-round, but nothing beats the tenderness and mild flavor of kale grown in a Midwestern garden in June when the nights are still a bit cool and the bugs haven't ravaged the greens looking for moisture. August kale can be a little bitter so late June kale is ideal, in my opinion. July will do okay too, at least until it gets hot out. 
This week we had some unusually cool days. July 1st was downright cold. We had just spent a week in Grand Marais where the temps didn't break 70, at all. It's fine weather for the great soup options they have in town featuring locally caught Lake Superior fish. We had soup or chowder EVERY DAY and we loved it. I came home hungry for more soup so I was thrilled to have some soup weather! A friend shared some excess kale so I cooked up this tasty recipe with what I had on hand. It was great. My 9 year old devoured the leftovers for lunch and her afternoon snack. A winner in my book. Hope you enjoy it; it's so easy!
Kale and Sausage Soup
2 T. olive oil
2/3 cup onion, diced
2 T. garlic, minced
1lb. sausage, I used regular Jimmy Dean
5 cups chicken broth
5 cups water
4 cups kale, chopped
3/4 cup mini pasta like acini de pepe (frog eyes) or pastarina (stars)
2 cans cannellini beans (white kidney) drained 
1 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

In a 6 quart pot, heat oil over medium heat. When oil is hot, add onion and sausage. Sauté until sausage is browned and onion is translucent. Add garlic and heat slightly. Add broth, water, and kale. Bring to a boil. Stir in pasta. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook about 20 minutes. Add beans, stir in until just heated. Season with pepper and pepper flakes as desired. Serve with warm bread.