Dish from top-rated cookbook wins raves

June 02, 1996|By Cathy Thomas | Cathy Thomas,ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Call me crazy, but holing up for several days with more than 1,200 food professionals is my idea of a really good time. And that's what I did recently at the International Association of Culinary Professionals' 18th annual conference in Philadelphia. Morning, noon and night we chatted about food -- cooking trends, tastes and techniques.

And about cookbooks. "From the Earth to the Table: John Ash's Wine Country Cuisine" by John Ash with Sid Goldstein (Dutton, $29.95) was named best cookbook of 1995. Ash, founder of John Ash & Co., an award-winning restaurant north of Santa Rosa, Calif., is currently culinary director of the Fetzer Vineyards' Wine Center at Valley Oaks. His book offers high-flavor, innovative recipes for everything from first course to dessert.

The recipe below was adapted from "From the Earth to the Table." Other firm-fleshed fish can be substituted for the salmon. It's the fruit-juice-based vinaigrette scented with smoky chipotle chilies that's the star. It tastes great on pasta, grilled veggies or chicken. Heck, it's even good slathered on fat-free cottage cheese or a simple crust of bread.

Ash suggests serving a Gewurztraminer or gamay Beaujolais with the salmon.

The vinaigrette and the salsa can be made in advance and refrigerated. And they're low in fat.

Grilled salmon with black-bean salsa and chipotle-tangerine vinaigrette

Makes 6 servings

FOR SALSA:

1 1/2 cups canned black beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup minced red bell pepper

1/4 cup minced yellow bell pepper

1/2 cup minced red onion

2 teaspoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeno chili (use less if you don't like spicy food; you can always add more later)

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup seeded and diced plum tomatoes

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 1/2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar

3 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

FOR SALMON:

6 (5-ounce) salmon fillets, cut 3/4 inch thick, skin on and scales removed

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

vinaigrette (recipe follows)

garnish: assorted baby lettuce and sprigs of fresh cilantro

Prepare black-bean salsa. Combine all salsa ingredients and refrigerate at least 2 hours before using. Before serving taste and add salt or pepper as needed.

Prepare chipotle-tangerine vinaigrette (recipe follows).

TTC Prepare a charcoal fire or heat a broiler and arrange oven rack 6-8 inches below the broiler element.

Remove any bones from salmon; small pin bones can be removed easily with needle-nosed pliers. Season with salt and pepper; rub lightly with olive oil. Grill salmon quickly until it is just done, approximately 3-4 minutes per side (making sure the skin is crisp).

Advance preparation: Salsa can be stored in refrigerator up to 3 days. Vinaigrette can be stored in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Presentation: Serve salmon on 1/2 cup salsa and drizzle with vinaigrette, reserving any extra for another use. Garnish with cilantro sprigs or assorted baby lettuce (drizzle vinaigrette on the lettuce if desired).

Per serving: 330 calories, 18 grams fat, 2.6 grams saturated fat, 78 milligrams cholesterol, 237 milligrams sodium, 49 percent calories from fat

Chipotle-tangerine vinaigrette

Yields 2 cups

1 1/4 cups fresh tangerine or orange juice

1 teaspoon minced chipotle in adobo (see cook's notes)

1/3 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons grated tangerine or orange zest

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon sherry vinegar (see cook's notes)

2 teaspoons honey or to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon ground cumin

salt to taste

Cook's notes: Chipotle chilies are ripe jalapenos that have been dried and smoked. They are available canned as chipotle in adobo -- stewed with tomato, garlic, vinegar and spices and sold in Latino markets and some supermarkets with large Latino specialty sections.

If you don't have sherry vinegar, you can use rice vinegar.

John Ash suggests that if you like you also can include the following optional ingredients: 1/2 teaspoon tamarind concentrate (available at Asian markets) and 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder.

In a small saucepan, over moderate heat, cook tangerine juice until reduced to about 3/4 cup. Cool.

In blender, combine the juice with the remaining ingredients. Blend on high speed until smooth. Add salt to taste.

You probably will only use about 1-1 1/2 cups. Leftover vinaigrette can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Per 2 cups: 831 calories, 73 grams fat, 9.8 grams saturated fat, no cholesterol, 562 milligrams sodium, 79 percent calories from fat.)

Pub Date: 6/02/96

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