Wow, it’s been a while — my apologies!
Tonight, I made roasted salmon with a topping of chopped artichokes and parmesan cheese. It was inspired by a recipe in my local paper, though I made a number of modifications to fit our preferences (and the contents of my pantry!).
You’ll need fresh salmon fillet (1.25 pounds); 1 tablespoon olive oil; 3/4 cup of coarsely chopped marinated artichoke hearts (I got them from the fresh olive bar at my local Whole Foods); 2 tablespoons goat cheese crumbles; 3 tablespoons parmigiana-reggiano (or parmesan) cheese; 1 tablespoon capers; 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes; 1 tablespoon dried parsley leaves; and salt (table or sea salt) to taste.
First, move the top rack to the second-highest level and then pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees, Fahrenheit. (Note: my oven has a convection feature, so I chose that instead of regular baking, though either would be just fine.)
Cut the salmon fillet into four equally sized pieces, and place in a baking pan. (I always line mine with aluminum foil and then brush with olive oil.) As you can see, for this recipe, I placed the salmon fillets pretty closely together since the topping is very loose.
Place on the top rack of the oven and roast for 8 minutes. While the salmon is baking, coarsely chop the artichoke hearts, being sure to remove any tough outer leaves.
Put the chopped artichoke hearts into a bowl along with all the other ingredients.
Right about now, the salmon should have finished its 8 minutes of roasting. Remove from the oven, then pat the topping onto the fillets, being very careful not to touch the sides of the (hot!!) pan. If some of the topping spills over, that’s okay!
Place the pan back in the oven and roast for another 12 minutes, or until the salmon is at your desired level of doneness and the edges of the topping are beginning to crisp. Remove from heat and let cool just a minute or two — otherwise the salmon will fall apart when you try to lift it from the pan.
We served this tonight with Parmesan Risotto and with seasoned pan-roasted Brussels Sprouts.
And, because we adore Virginia wines, I chose a Virginia Cabernet Sauvignon from a Loudoun County vineyard, the Barns at Hamilton Station, to go with our dinner.
This particular Cab is a restrained New World-style red. By that I mean that it is a bit fruit-forward but not too much, but also not minerally or tannic (like many French Cabs) and with a medium- to medium-heavy feel. (Please see my Facebook wine blog for more tasting comments!).
Now, usually I wouldn’t serve a medium-bodied Cab with salmon because it would either overwhelm the main course or (in this case) be kind of a “meh” pairing. (I actually tried it with just the salmon alone. Definitely “meh.”) But given how assertive artichokes and the parmegiano-reggiano topping were, this combination was absolutely perfect. (I could also see serving the King Family Cab Franc with this, as it is somewhat similar in style.)
Now, artichokes are notoriously difficult to pair with wine, but using a red worked really well. Plus it was a great dinner on a very chilly and windy January evening here in northern Virginia.