kosher kitchen

Cheering our red, white and blue: Let’s cook!


It’s not too early to think about the Fourth of July, that red, white and blue holiday that celebrates the birth of our country. I love America, I love July 4th, and I still believe that this is the greatest country on earth where we are blessed with innumerable freedoms that we often take for granted.

We are also blessed with an incredible food supply so plentiful that we throw out enough edible food each year to feed a small country! Not the best of our actions, but still, it speaks to the availability of the best of the best.

Salmon has long been associated with the Fourth of July. In times gone by, when salmon were so plentiful in our rivers that they would practically jump into the boats, the annual salmon run coincided with the national holiday. In fact, in New England, the traditional July 4th meal was salmon and peas! The new crop of peas was ready for harvest at the exact same time as the salmon were running. A perfect food cycle which meant plentiful feasts for people who relied on their food when Mother Nature provided it.

Today, many people celebrate the 4th with salmon, but most prefer barbecue and grilling and the kinds of foods found at the beach! Here are some of the quickest and easiest salmon dishes I make on a regular basis.

Enjoy this holiday that that unites us all in celebrating our country’s independence.

Salmon and Sugar Snap Peas (Pareve)

1/2 stick melted butter or 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 salmon fillets or steaks, about 5 to 8 oz. each

1 lb. sugar snap peas

1/4 to 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 to 2 tsp. dark brown sugar

OPTIONAL: Fresh pea tendrils for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, or heat a grill to medium hot. 

Melt the butter in a small bowl and add the smoked paprika and pepper and mix well. 

Brush the salmon with the butter mixture, and sprinkle half the brown sugar and half the salt on top. Press in gently with a spoon or your finger. Place on a fish pan for the grill or in a pan for the oven. Cook until done to your liking, basting one more time with the butter oil mixture. 

While the salmon is cooking, heat a skillet and add 2 tsp. olive oil. Add the snow peas and cook until charred in some places, moving the peas around often. Do not overcook these, as you want to preserve the crunchy texture. 

Sprinkle with any spices or herbs you like. Everything spice is delicious — I think just a pinch of sea salt is the best. I love the simplicity of these all alone as they are so sweet and crunchy. Garnish with some fresh pea tendrils.

You can add some jasmine or other fragrant rice to this. A quick and delicious Fourth of July dinner. Serves 4.

Salmon Dinner in One Pan (Pareve)

2 lbs. Yellow Gold Creamer (tiny) potatoes, cut in half

Juice of one lemon

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp. pareve chicken bouillon (1/2 tsp. low-sodium pareve bouillon and 2 Tbsp. hot water)

4 salmon fillets, 5 to 8 oz. each

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pinch red pepper flakes

1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar, divided

1 lb. asparagus, trimmed, or broccoli florets cut into small pieces

1 cup fresh or frozen baby peas

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Add a second sheet to 1/3 of the pan, making a “wall” of foil to form a separation. Set aside.

Place the cut potatoes in a bowl and add the bouillon, lemon juice and olive oil. Toss to coat. Pour into the small section of the pan you created and move the potatoes into a single layer. Place in the oven and cook until they begin to turn golden. 

Meanwhile, brush the salmon with olive oil and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Add a few red pepper flakes to the tops and sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar or a drizzle of honey. 

Toss the veggies, except the peas, with the olive oil and set aside.

Remove the pan from the oven and place the fish on the larger side of the pan, leaving room for the veggies. Add the veggies and place back in the oven. Sprinkle the peas over the veggies and potatoes. Cook until the fish is barely opaque in the center, or a thermometer reaches 145 degrees* at the center of the thickest part of the piece. Serves 4. 

*The FDA suggests that salmon be cooked to 145 degrees to ensure that there are no parasites in the fish. 

Grilled Salmon with Almonds and Brown Butter (Dairy)

4 salmon fillets

1 stick butter

1 cup sliced almonds

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray or brush with extra virgin olive oil. Set aside. 

Sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper and place in a prepared dish. Place in the oven.

While the salmon is cooking, heat a skillet and add the butter. Cook over medium-low heat until the solids in the butter begin to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir often and do not let the butter burn; you want a beautiful golden color and the butter should smell slightly nutty. Once the butter is brown, add the sliced almonds and cook until the almonds are barely golden.

When the fish is cooked, place on a plate and, using a slotted spoon, place some nuts on top of each piece of fish. Drizzle a little bit of the butter over each piece. Serves 4. 

Salmon with Pasta, Peas and Creamy Vodka Sauce (Dairy)

This is a company worthy-dish — a once a year splurge for the Fourth. You can add fresh peas to this for a traditional Fourth of July meal!

1 to 1-1/2 lbs. linguini or penne, fresh if possible

4 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 shallots, finely minced

1 small onion, finely minced

4 oz. smoked salmon

12 to 16 oz. fresh salmon, cut into bite-sized pieces

2-1/4 cups heavy cream, divided

1 small can crushed tomatoes (8 to 15 oz.)

1/3 cup vodka

3 Tbsp. fresh chives, finely minced

Heat a large pot of water to boiling.

While the water is heating, place the butter and olive oil in a large skillet and, when the butter is melted, add the shallots and onion. Cook until translucent. Add the smoked salmon and the fresh salmon and cook until cooked through, stirring often but gently.

Add the crushed tomatoes and vodka, and cook until some of the liquid evaporates, about 4 to 6 minutes. 

Slowly pour in cream, stirring constantly. Mix well, but gently. Stir constantly while the cream heats. Do not boil, just bring to a gentle simmer. 

Once the water comes to a boil, add 2 tsp. of salt and stir. Add the linguine and cook until al dente. Drain and place in a large serving bowl. 

Once the sauce is heated through, pour over the linguini, toss and garnish with the chives. Serves 4 to 6. 

Teriyaki Sauce for Grilled Salmon (Pareve)

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

2 Tbsp. honey

1 to 2 tsp., grated fresh ginger

1 to 2 Tbsp. Mirin (sweet rice wine vinegar)

1/4 cup Tamari sauce

1/4 cup Canola oil

2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/2 tsp. sesame oil

1/4 cup water mixed with 3 tsp. cornstarch.

1/4 cup green onions thinly sliced.

Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. The sauce will thicken as it cooks. Taste and adjust flavors as needed. Makes about 1 cup.

Brush on salmon fillets as they grill, roast, broil, or are pan-fried. Garnish with the green onions. Delicious!

Honey Mustard Glaze for Salmon

or Chicken (Pareve)

1/3 cup Dijon style mustard

1/3 cup whole grain brown mustard

1/3 to 1/2 cup honey

2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar

2 Tbsp. Canola oil

2 Tbsp. Tamari Sauce

2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely minced 

1 Tbsp. finely grated onion

Mix all ingredients, taste and adjust ingredients to your liking, and brush on salmon several times as it grills, bakes, broils or is pan-fried.