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Joncarl’s Corner #1
by Joncarl Lachman
Magazine Issue: U.S. Vol. 5.3

Seared Salmon on Summer Risotto Cake
with Sautéed Spinach, Potato Chips and Fennel Four Ways

2 salmon filets, skin on (6 oz.)
2 cups Arborio rice
1 portobello mushroom, medium dice
1 Roma tomato, medium dice
1 cup lump crabmeat
1 cup fresh spinach
1 red skin potato, thinly sliced
3 fennel bulbs
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 T fennel seed
Salt/pepper to taste
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 small onion, medium dice
3 basil leaves, chiffonade

Fennel Confit/Oil
Over a low flame, large dice 2 fennel bulbs in one cup extra virgin olive oil approximately 15 minutes (don't allow fennel to brown). Season. When soft, remove fennel from oil, and puree in blender. Set puree and oil aside.

Summer Risotto
Medium dice one small onion, and sweat in 1/4 cup vegetable oil. Season. After 5 minutes add rice, coating completely with oil. Season again. After 2 minutes add wine. Continue to stir. When wine is absorbed, add stock in 4 oz. increments, stirring until liquid is absorbed and rice is al dente. Add tomato, crab, mushroom and basil. Season. Stir and cover.

Form mixture into a cake five inches in diameter, and fry in one tablespoon olive oil. Turn after three minutes. Allow both sides to brown nicely. Blot with paper towel.

Potato Chips
Heat 2 tablespoons oil. Thinly slice potato, and fry until golden brown. Remove to paper towel and lightly salt. Set aside.

Spinach
Heat 2 tablespoons fennel oil in a skillet. Sauté spinach until wilted. Season and set aside.

Roasted Fennel
Cut remaining fennel bulb into thin slices, and season. Toss with remaining olive oil (save 2 tablespoons). In a 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven, roast fennel until lightly browned (approximately 15 minutes). Remove from oven and set aside.

Salmon
Season filets with salt, pepper and ground fennel. In a hot skillet, pour remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place salmon in, skin down, and cook 3 minutes or until crisp. Turn and cook another 2 minutes. Remove and keep warm.

To Plate
Place risotto cake on plate and top with spinach. Place salmon, skin side up, atop spinach. Top with half the fennel confit, and drizzle with fennel oil. Place two potato chips in a "V" shape in the confit. Arrange roasted fennel, and lightly drizzle more oil around plate.

Mediterranean Spice Crusted Salmon

4 salmon filets (skinned)
2 T olive oil
2 T ground caraway seeds
1 T ground cumin
1 T Spanish paprika
1 t cayenne pepper
1 lemon, quartered
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine the caraway, cumin, paprika and cayenne in a bowl. Mix completely. Pour spice mixture onto a large plate.

Pat salmon dry with paper towel, and season with salt and pepper. Lay fish in spice mixture, coating one side only.

Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil. Once oil is hot, place salmon, spiced side down, in the pan. Cook approximately three minutes. A nice crust will develop. Turn salmon over, and bake another five minutes, or longer if you want it well done. Remove from pan and squeeze lemon juice on top.

Cream of Carrot Soup Flavored with Vanilla and Clove

1 1/2 lbs. carrots, peeled and large diced
5 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 T butter
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped or 1 T vanilla extract
5 whole cloves
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Over medium heat, melt butter in a pot. Add carrots and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until carrots are soft, stirring often to avoid sticking and burning. Add chicken stock and season again. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat a bit and simmer about 30 minutes, or until carrots are very soft.

In a food processor or blender, puree the soup. (If using a blender, cover the top with a kitchen towel for safety.) Return the soup to the pot and stir in cream. Add vanilla bean (or extract) and cloves. Simmer over a medium low heat 20 minutes. Remove vanilla bean and cloves, and taste soup for seasoning.

Serve garnished with a bit of ground clove or more fresh pepper.

Bananas in a Jack Daniels Sauce with Vanilla Ice Cream

3 T unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 t tangerine or orange zest
1/2 t cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch salt
4 ripe bananas, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup Jack Daniel's (or similar bourbon)
Vanilla ice cream

Over medium heat, melt butter in a saucepan. Once melted, stir in brown sugar, zest, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add salt and stir again. Next add bananas, cooking until soft. Be sure to shake pan so fruit doesn't stick or burn. Add Jack Daniel's and carefully flame. When flame goes out, bananas should be finished.

Place fruit on plate, cover with sauce, and top with a little ice cream. Garnish with fresh mint.

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