December 26, 2008

Spice Crusted Salmon & Root Vegetable Chips

Thanks to the dense fog that is preventing me from driving into town to see my friends, I'm able to post for the second time today.  For dinner tonight we had salmon with a spice & hazelnut crust and root vegetable chips with a horseradish dip.

My mom came up with this delicious spice mix.  It was about 2 tablespoons each of coriander, fennel, and mustard seed.  She started out by toasting them all for 10 minutes or so.

And then she crushed them.  A food processor would probably do the job, too.  Once they were crushed she threw in about a half cup of toasted, coarsely ground hazelnuts.  There was plenty of this mixture to coat two big pieces of salmon, so you could make a much smaller batch or store a bunch of it for another day.  It would be good on chicken, pork or any other fish, too.

While my mom was making the spice mixture, I made a horseradish dip for the chips.  I used between 1-1/2 and 2 tablespoons of prepared horseradish, about 3/4 cup sour cream, a couple tablespoons of white wine vinegar, and salt & pepper.  You can add more or less sour cream & vinegar to get to the level of spiciness that you prefer.  You could easily substitute plain yogurt or creme fraiche or any combination of them for the sour cream.  

For the chips you can use whatever root vegetables you have on hand.  We used potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and beets.  Start out by peeling everything but the potatoes.  Or if you have some strange aversion to potato skins, go ahead and peel those, too.  If you have a mandoline, this is a great way to put it to use.  Otherwise you can make more rustic chips and slice the chips by hand.  Be very careful when using a mandoline or you can end up with a little bit of a mess and a little less of your index finger.

Just kidding.  That's the post-beet mandoline.  I hope that didn't just spoil your appetite.  

Once all the veggies are sliced, toss them in a big bowl with olive oil to coat and salt & pepper.  You can also add any spices you'd like.  Sometimes I add dill.  Sometimes rosemary.  Tonight we added a little malt vinegar, but it turned out that we didn't add enough to taste it when they came out of the oven.

Here are the sliced beets.  Are they lovely?

Here's another picture of them with bad lighting.  I kind of liked the picture, though.  It looks like two big eyes.  Or tie dye.  

Bake the chips at 400-450 until they're browned or done to your liking.  Check them every 5 minutes or so to stir them, flip them, and/or season them.  

Moving right along, here is our wonderful salmon.  Before coating them with the crust mixture my mom brushed it with a very thin coat of olive oil.  Once coated, it was just baked alongside the chips.  

Here's the salmon when it came out of the oven.

And here is everything ready to eat.  It was all really, really good.  The crust was a great alternative to the usual lemon & dill preparation I do with salmon.  The chips were awesome as well.  I love horseradish, and the dip worked well with both the chips (especially the beet ones) and the salmon.  

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