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Not As Good As Pork Cracklins

misadventures in cooking

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spice-Rubbed Salmon with Honey-Glazed Fennel

Last fall, I received an email from Fine Cooking Magazine, wondering if I would be willing to test a baguette recipe. Oh boy, would I! I am a novice bread baker with lots to learn, so I quickly hit "reply" and said yes. I got a rapid response thanking me for my interest, but they already had a tester. Very disappointing.

Then in December, I got another chance. My absolute perfect ideal of a dinner is a nice piece of fish with a salad, and Fine Cooking was offering me the opportunity to test a recipe for Sear-Roasted Fish! I hit "reply" so fast it would make your head spin. And it worked! I was in! They told me to expect my recipe in the middle of January and that I would have a week to prepare it and fill out a survey form.

I went straight to my favorite fishmonger at Central Market. He was as excited as I was and even gave me his home phone number so that I could call him when I knew exactly what I needed. At that point, I just needed to sit tight.

Finally, mid January rolled around and Fine Cooking gave me warning that they would Fed-Ex the recipe to me. I expected a type-written sheet of paper with one recipe, but what I received was the actual color layout of the entire article. The article included three recipes, and they requested that I test the one next to a little box that would have a quote from a reader. The little box had gobbledygook typed in it, awaiting my feedback.

My test recipe was "Sear-Roasted Haddock or Cod with Horseradish Aioli and Lemon Zest Breadcrumbs". I promptly called Mario to talk about haddock and cod. He warned me that there were storms in the northeast affecting their shipments of both, but that if I would come in on Friday, that would be my best bet. That was fine, actually, because it gave me a couple of days to study the article.

I thought I should read all three recipes, for hints and tips that would make mine successful. As I did, I noticed something that didn't seem quite right. I emailed my contact person at Fine Cooking, wondering if I should ask questions or if I should do the best I could and then fill out the survey. She said to please ask it now... if there is something that was unclear in the story/recipe they wanted to know so that they can change it. After I asked my question, she replied "Amy, what a good catch! Thanks for taking this so seriously..." and went on to tell me that they took that sentence out of the article because it was confusing. THIS IS WHY I LOVE FINE COOKING MAGAZINE!

Friday arrived and I went to Central Market. Of course, they had no cod or haddock. I decided to make one of the other recipes as practice, and cross my fingers that they would get cod or haddock before I needed to return my survey form. Of course, I could have gone to Whole Foods or even some other market, but I'm partial to my fishmonger :)

I'm also partial to fennel and I love the detail that Fine Cooking tends to include in their recipes. For example: "It will look like there’s not much room, but you will be able to squeeze this amount of fennel around the fillets." Because my exact thought was "hmmm, are you sure this is going to fit?" And fit it did. The glazed fennel along with some julienned Granny Smith apple set off the richness of the salmon perfectly.

Spice-Rubbed & Sear-Roasted Salmon with Honey-Glazed Fennel
Fine Cooking 92, pp. 49

Stay tuned for THE test recipe.


At 3/13/2008 3:46 PM, Anonymous Julia said...

Gah! I don't have Fine Cooking 92. Is it out yet? I want to know what happened! :)

We should take a trip together to CM, so I can meet your fishmonger! I'm skeered to make fish, but I really, really want to learn.

At 3/13/2008 3:48 PM, Blogger Amy said...

I haven't received my copy yet, but apparently it's out because folks on the Fine Cooking message board are talking about it.

At 3/13/2008 4:03 PM, Blogger Jess said...

i'm so excited to see this post ;) can't wait to see the next one!

At 3/13/2008 4:44 PM, Blogger Karen said...

Yippee! And congrats on making that catch -- you should be strutting around proudly for a month after that. :-)

At 3/13/2008 5:39 PM, Blogger Sheri said...

How fun! I can't wait to try it!

And you are so NOT a novice breadbaker. :)

At 3/15/2008 6:54 PM, Blogger Toni said...

Oh you lucky girl!! How fun that you got to test a recipe. I can't wait to try it. Both the salmon and the cod recipes look great!


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