Top Chef, Bitches

Drinking whilst cooking is definitely the way to go. In fact, for all future cooking endeavors, I refuse to lift a spatula without a mimosa firmly in hand. What’s that kids? You want mommy to make you pancakes for breakfast? Well, make a mommy a martini (extra dry, with a twist) and grab the griddle!

I kid, obviously. But seriously, you guys, the dinner I made tonight was Top Chef quality—and I think I owe it to the vodka soda I was a-swilling. And that I’m still a-swilling. That swilling is also the reason for my serious lack of pictures from tonight. Sorry, y’all!
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Last time my momma was in town (yet another shout out to Mama Ruthie!), we went out to one of my favorite restaurants and had a ridiculously indulgent meal. While there, I had a fillet of salmon resting on greens and roasted potatoes, coated in this crumbly, salty, crispy, bacon-cranberry crust. I said that night that I was determined to recreate the dish at home, hopefully making it a bit healthier in the process.
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Cut to tonight when I finally had time to actually cook beyond the reheating of leftovers. Now, I Googled like crazy to find a recipe for inspiration here, but I found nothing. So, with the liquid confidence of my buddy Abby Absolut, I went to work creating this thing from the ground up.
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I buy my salmon in giant fillets like this:

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It’s way less expensive and for most people, just as good as buying fresh. I defrosted the giant fillet overnight, then let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before portioning it out. Each smaller fillet is about 3-4 ounces.
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While the salmon came to room temp, I fried up some bacon. Try to resist the urge to gobble it all up straight from the pan. I mean, sneak a piece or two if you must, but…
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Once the bacon cooled, I crumbled it into my food processor along with the dried cranberries. A few quick pulses later, it was time to move on to searing the fish. I let each piece cook on each side for about 1 minute before pulling it from the pan. Then on went a quick coat of egg white, helping the cranberry-bacon mixture stick when I glomped it on. Yes, glomped. Back into the pan went the fish, skin side down. A few minutes later and dinner was served!

Oh! I almost forgot! I also made a pomegranate balsamic reduction. Remember? Top Chef? Oh yeah.

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The reduction is super simple: pom juice (I used reduced sugar juice), balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Whisk it all together, bring it to a rolling boil. Let it continue to boil until the mixture reduces to half. And then spoon that silky smooth glaze over your bacon and cranberry covered fish and go. Crazy.
Photo 7PS: for a real treat, make yourself a little garlicky cheesy bruschetta and dunk that mess in your leftover reduction. Worth the carbs, 100%.

Bacon-Cranberry Crusted Salmon with Pomegranate Balsamic Reduction

Makes 6 fillets

Ingredients

For salmon:
6  3-4 oz salmon fillets, skin on
8 pieces bacon
¼ C dried cranberries
1 egg white

For sauce:
16 oz pomegranate juice
½ C balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Directions

  • In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients for the sauce and whisk together. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and allow it to continue to cook until it reduces by half.
  • While the sauce reduces, fry up the bacon. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  • Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Spray pan with cooking spray.
  • Sear fish on each flesh side for about 1 minute.
  • Remove the fish from the pan and place skin-side down on a plate.
  • Meanwhile, crumble the bacon into the bowl of a food processor and add the dried cranberries. Pulse the mixture until it comes together.
  • Brush the egg white on to each fillet. Place a small amount of the bacon-cranberry mixture onto each piece, pressing down slightly.
  • Carefully place the fish back into the hot pan, skin-side down, and cook for 4-5 minutes or until fish bounces back ever so slightly when touched.
  • Remove the fish from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes.
  • Spoon the sauce onto the fish and eat up, babies!

2 thoughts on “Top Chef, Bitches

  1. That is freakin’ awesome!!! I frequently sip wine while cooking and I totally agree that it enhances my creative culinary juices. That salmon sounds amazing. I’m going to have to try it for myself.

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