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Ask a Foodie: Can I Use a Bouillon Cube Instead of Court-Bouillon?


Q: Can I use a bouillon cube in a recipe that calls for something called court-bouillon?

— A.B.

Bouillon cubes

Bouillon cubes

A: Court-bouillon is “a flavorful, aromatic liquid used for poaching fish and shellfish,” according to About.com. “The simplest court bouillon consists of nothing but salted water, and some traditional recipes call for a mixture of half salted water, half milk.”

Does that sound like a bouillon cube? Yes and no.

A bouillon cube, of course, is salty. If you read the ingredients, salt is generally the most common ingredient in the cubes. But there’s also a lot of bold flavor to most, which means they could swamp the flavors of your seafood.

Sure, you could water down that cube, but what are you left with? Not much.

So, do yourself and your family a favor and make your own court-bouillon. Most recipes are simple in the extreme, such as the following for Poached Salmon in Court-Bouillon, which comes from “The Mediterranean Slow Cooker” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $22) by Michele Scicolone. That’s right, it cooks itself in your crock pot.

“Poached salmon steaks have many uses,” Scicolone writes. “Serve them plain with some of the cooking broth, or chill them for seafood salad. My favorite way to serve this salmon, either hot or chilled, is with tzatziki, citronette (recipe follows) or pesto.”

Poached Salmon in Court-Bouillon

1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
6 whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 large fresh flat-leaf parsley sprig
Salt
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 cups water
6 salmon steaks, at least 1-inch thick
Freshly ground pepper

mediterranean slow cookerIn a large slow cooker, combine the onion, carrot, celery, peppercorns, bay leaf, parsley, a pinch of salt, the vinegar and the water. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours.

Sprinkle the salmon steaks with salt and pepper to taste and place then in the cooker.

Spoon some of the liquid over the top. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes, or until done to taste. (To test for doneness, make a small cut in the thickest part. The fish should appear slightly translucent.)

Remove the salmon steaks with a slotted spatula. Serve them hot or slightly chilled.

Makes 6 servings.

From “The Mediterranean Slow Cooker” by Michele Scicolone

Herb and Tomato Citronette

Citronette is the French word for a dressing or sauce made with lemon,” Scicolone writes in “The Mediterranean Slow Cooker.” “This version has chopped parsley and tomato, too. You can also use it to dress salad or steamed vegetables.”

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 small tomato, seeded and chopped (about 1/2 cup)

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, shallot, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Let stand at room temperature for up to 30 minutes. Just before serving, whisk again and add the chopped tomato. Correct the seasonings and serve.

Makes 1 1/2 cups.

From “The Mediterranean Slow Cooker” by Michele Scicolone

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Ask a Foodie: Low-carb Salmon Ideas?


Enjoy two low-carbohydrate ways to prepare salmon fillets.

Q. The doctor just put me on a strict low-carb diet, and he told me to eat more fish. Any ideas? I like salmon.

— William G.

A. It’s easy to cut carbohydrates down in many savory dishes without losing flavor (desserts are another matter).  One place to look for low-carb ideas is cookbooks that cater to diabetics. That’s where the two salmon recipes below originated. They are from the new “The Diabetes Seafood Cookbook” by Barbara Seelig-Brown (American Diabetes Association, $18.95). But beware: Not all of the recipes are low-carb, so read the nutritional analysis before cooking.

The two recipes were chosen from an entire chapter on salmon because they are made in two different ways. One is grilled, the other is poached. That way, you can vary your method and still keep your carb count low.

Grilled Salmon and Asparagus

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Juice of 2 lemons
1 pound thick salmon fillet, skinless, cut into 4 portions
2 teaspoons salt-free lemon pepper seasoning
2 pounds thin asparagus, ends broken off and placed in a bowl of water

Place olive oil in a small sauté pan. Add garlic and heat until garlic becomes fragrant, about 2 mintues. Add basil and turn heat off. Whisk in lemon juice. Set aside.

Sprinkle salmon with lemon pepper seasoning. Set aside.

Preheat grill pan for a few minutes. Drain asparagus and place on grill pan. Cover and roast asparagus for 3 minutes, shaking occasionally. Remove cover. Brush salmon with lemon garlic bath. Place ont he grill pan. cook first side until a nice crust forms. Turn and cook second side. if you want your salmon well done, the lid can be placed on the grill pan.

Place asparagus on a serving plate. Top with salmon. Drizzle with lemon garlic bath. Additional lemon garlic bath can be stored for future use.

Makes 4 servings.

Approximate nutritional value per serving: 300 calories, 17 g fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 80 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrate, 3 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugars, 29 g protein.

From “The Diabetes Seafood Cookbook” by Barbara Seelig-Brown

Lemony Poached Salmon with a Fennel, Onion and Olive Salad

1 pound salmon fillet, skin removed, cut into 4 portions
Juice of 1 lemon
Water to cover salmon

Salad:
1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel tops
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pitted olives
1/2 cup sliced cucumber
4 cups red leaf lettuce, washed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 lemon, sliced for garnish

Dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon capers

Prepare pan for poaching. Place salmon in pan. Add lemon juice and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until it flakes with a fork.

Place fennel tops, onion, olives, cucumber and lettuce in a large bowl.

Whisk together lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Add capers. pour half of the dressing over the salad greens. Toss. Save the rest of the dressing to use with another salad.

Place salad on plate and top with salmon. Garnish with lemon slices.

Makes 4 servings.

Approximate nutritional value per serving: 230 calories, 12 g fat, 50 mg cholesterol, 310 mg sodium, 6 g carbohydrate, 2 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugar, 25 protein.

From “The Diabetes Seafood Cookbook” by Barbara Seelig-Brown

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