That's a really fancy way of attempting to say: salmon grilled on a cedar plank with glazed turnips, carrots, onions and potatoes. I'm sure some one is bound to correct my Franglais, but I couldn't quite figure how to say 'cedar smoked barbecued salmon' in French without the title being a mile long. Technically, in France, when a dish is described as à la nivernaise it means that you're sure to find carrots and onions. I've thrown in some turnips (navets) and potatoes for heartiness.
This dish is low-cal, high taste, little preparation, and packs a lot of energy. If you signed up for my Chef's Challenge, it will fuel your next work-out! It's raining here in Paris, so I'm afraid my stats aren't so great (excuses, excuses). Cooking the salmon on a cedar plank adds smokiness and dries the outside flesh leaving the inside moist. I brushed a little olive oil over the top for magpie appeal and added a sprinkle of fleur de sel, but that's it!
For the vegetables, it's a one pot dish that can cook while the salmon is grilling. It's best to use baby vegetables and trim the tops of the baby turnips and carrots leaving 1/2" of the stem for that almost-country look. The veggies are simmered in a water, wine, and fresh herb combination. When they're done cooking, the veggies are separated and the liquid reduced. Swirl in some butter – et voilà! – you've got a very tasty glaze to pour over the vegetables. The cooking liquid becomes a tasty broth while simmering all those root vegetables and the flavor concentrates after reduction. It's subtle but tastes fancy!
PS. I'm cooking at a Chateau in Lyon this week, I'll be back next week hopefully with some neat pics and stories about "roughing" it in the paysanne.
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Cèdre Saumon Grillée avec Navets à la Nivernaise
4 filets of wild salmon, size depends on hunger and price. I figure about 7oz each
1 cedar plank, soaked in water for at least 20 minutes
1 bunch baby carrots peeled and stems trimmed to 1/2"
1 bunch baby turnips, stems trimmed to 1/2"
8 small yellow pototatoes like Yukon Gold, halved
12 small pearl onions peeled
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 cups water (or enough to almost cover veggies)
1 Tablespoon sugar
3 springs of fresh thyme
2 Tablespoons of butter
1. Trim and peel veggies as instructed. Place them in a medium wide-based pot on the stove top and cover with the herbs, water, wine, and sugar. When ready to grill the salmon, put the lid on the veggies and simmer gently until done. About 12-15 minutes.
2. Once veggies are cooked (but not mushy) remove them to a serving dish and keep warm. Bring liquid to a boil and reduce it to 1/4 cup. Take liquid off heat and swirl in butter while it's still hot. Pour over vegetables and serve. Season veggies with a sprinkle of fleur de sel and pepper.
3. For cedar smoked salmon, follow the instructions of your cedar plank. Normally this means soaking the plank for at least 20 minutes ahead of time so it doesn't catch on fire! Arrange the fish on the soaked plank and grill over a covered gas or charcoal grill until a cooking thermometer reads 125-130˚F. I like my salmon raw but warm in the middle so it remains moist. Brush with olive oil when finished and serve alongside veggies
Tricks of the trade
1. Don't over season the vegetables while cooking because the liquid will concentrate when it's reduced and so will the salt! It's better to season at the end.
2. Swirling in the butter into the liquid off direct heat insures that it won't boil and separate.
3. If baby vegetables aren't available use adult ones and trim them to size