♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ -Today on "Cook's Country," I'm making the easiest slow-roasted salmon, Toni explores indigenous fishing traditions, Jack has everything you need to know about leavening agents, and Ashley is making a fun and festive clementine cake.
That's all right here on "Cook's Country."
♪♪ There's an old restaurant-kitchen saying that the best way to cook fish is to walk it through a hot kitchen.
And I think there might be a little bit of truth in that.
Fish, including salmon, which I'm making today, is exceptionally prone to overcooking, and nobody wants that because you're taking cuisine and turning it into cat food.
But I'm gonna show you an easy way to cook salmon.
Might actually be the easiest way you've ever cooked salmon.
We're slow roasting.
Now, I'm using a whole fillet here.
It's also going to give us a better chance of not overcooking the fish than using small fillets.
So this is a 2-1/2 pound fillet.
Now, this one's actually a little bit bigger than 2 1/2 pounds because it still has the belly attached, and I'm going to remove that in a minute.
But I do want to show you that there is no skin on here.
I've asked the fishmonger to remove the skin, but there are a couple of pinbones left.
Just run your finger right along the salmon and then use a good pair of pliers and grab those pinbones right there and just pull them out.
And this part is the belly, so it's very easy to remove.
You can actually save it for later.
Use it to make salmon cakes.
I'm just going to take a sharp knife and just cut right along this demarcation, this little white line here, because that's really where it starts to taper down and it can cook unevenly.
Just save that for later.
So let's make this easy and season this up.
We've got a little bit of brown sugar -- a tablespoon of packed brown sugar.
I'm going to mix that with a teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
I'm gonna sprinkle this all over the salmon.
Just get it evenly spread out there.
Flip this over and more on that second side.
There we go.
One last thing to do.
I've got a 13x9-inch baking dish.
This goes right into the dish, and that's it.
That is all the prep that's needed before this is cooked.
Now, we are going to slow-roast it as I said.
The oven is set to 250 degrees, and we're gonna let that stay in there until the internal temperature in the middle of the salmon reaches 125 degrees.
That's for farmed salmon.
We have instructions on our website for wild salmon.
And that's going to take between 55 to 60 minutes.
♪♪ -The indigenous people of Alaska have lived in relationship with salmon for 12,000 years, and salmon are more than just a food source for these communities.
Salmon are an integral part of the culture and viewed as non-human kin who must be treated with respect.
In the 18th century, European settlers disrupted many of these traditional salmon-fishing systems and brought with them a different view of human-animal relationships, one based on domination of humans over other species.
And those views continue to inform fishing policy and management in the region today.
Because of regulation, many traditional fishing practices have been criminalized.
In 2013, changes to those fishing regulations caused a drop in the number of salmon in the Kuskokwim River that were able to reproduce.
This led to the formation of the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, which advocates for traditional stewardship practices and indigenous access to fishing rights.
These traditional indigenous practices are part of a wider effort to restore the natural balance in our food systems.
♪♪ -The salmon just has a few more minutes in the oven.
Perfect amount of time to make a very quick sauce, so we're making a chive, olive oil, lemon sauce.
And I just need 2 tablespoons of minced chives.
That looks great.
Now, we've got some lemon.
I want to use both the juice and the zest, so I'm gonna start by zesting the lemon, just using a rasp grater to get the most outer part of the lemon zest.
This is where a lot of those beautiful oils are.
I'm gonna measure it all at the end here.
And I'm gonna juice this lemon.
I need a tablespoon and a half.
So we're going to add all of this to 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil.
So again, I need a tablespoon and a half of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
I need a couple of teaspoons of lemon zest and then a couple of tablespoons of fresh chives.
There we go.
Add a little bit of salt.
This is 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt.
I'll mix this together with my fork.
We also have some great flavor variations for the sauce.
We've got a dill and garlic and then a parsley and cayenne sauce, and you can find those on our website.
So I'm just going to set that aside while I go get the salmon.
Now, you can see that the salmon has shrunk just a little bit, but not too much, and that's, again, because we slow-roasted it, but I need to check the temperature.
We're looking for about 125.
I'm gonna put it right in the middle here.
We went over just a little bit -- 126 -- but that's okay.
The slow roasting is perfect for this.
It's not going to overcook.
The slower you cook the salmon, the less carryover cooking on the other side.
So this is only going to rise in temperature just a little bit.
We're gonna let this rest right in the pan, and I'm going to pour the sauce right over the salmon.
Then as this rests, some of that sauce is going to start being absorbed by the salmon and then we'll be ready to eat in five minutes.
It's time to eat the salmon.
Now, this is such a beautiful salmon, it would be a shame not to platter it for guests.
So I'm gonna show you how easy it is to portion this.
Just take a spatula here, and I like to cut it right down this kind of center fault line.
And then we can portion it.
Now, you can portion this into six portions, eight portions.
I like six.
Now, to get this onto our platter, I'm just going to use a spoon and that spatula.
Oh, the salmon is so tender, so juicy.
So there's a little bit of sauce left in the bottom.
I'm going to spoon that sauce all over the salmon.
[ Sighs ] Now I just need a big fork to eat the whole thing.
That looks stunning.
It is so supple and silky, very moist.
Definitely not overcooked.
I love everything about this.
It's really well-seasoned.
It's got a little bit of that sugar.
It just adds a little depth of seasoning there.
And, of course, the sauce that I poured over it at the end, really, really bright.
Now, wasn't that easy?
To make this beautiful salmon at home, sprinkle the fish with a mixture of brown sugar, salt, and pepper, roast it in a low, 250-degree oven, and then pour a bright lemon sauce over the fish before serving.
So from "Cook's Country," silky, tender, and tasty, slow-roasted salmon with chives and lemon.
You better get your piece first.
♪♪ -I love my cookies.
I love my cakes and I love my breads, which means I depend upon the leavening agents here on the table.
Now, we've got slow yeast, which is building flavor and rise over time, and the fast guys -- the chemical leaveners -- baking soda and baking powder.
Let's start there.
Now, baking soda is simply sodium bicarbonate.
It works quickly when it's combined with an acid.
So with lemon juice, with brown sugar, sour cream, buttermilk, and let me show you how it works.
I've got a little bit of baking soda here, and I've got a bowl of lemon juice.
Carbon dioxide -- the bubbles that make a cake rise.
Now, I'm gonna take the same ingredient.
This is also baking soda, and I'm gonna add it to water.
And you notice there are no bubbles here.
And so this would not work.
The difference between baking soda and baking powder is the powder has got the baking soda in it, plus a dry acid.
So it's sodium bicarbonate plus a dry acid, which means it works without any acid in the recipe, so you can use it in any cookie or any cake.
I've got another bowl here, and this one's got baking powder.
And I've got some water here.
I'm gonna stir that in, and you're gonna notice it's a little slower-acting than, of course, the baking soda is with that lemon juice, which really gets going.
But you're gonna get some bubbles here over time.
It's gonna take a little bit of time to get going.
One of the things that's going on here is this is a double-acting baking powder.
And so it happens both when you combine it with liquid as well as when you heat it.
And so double-acting baking powder is more reliable than the old-fashioned single-acting because you get two chances at a rise.
Another thing to know about baking powder -- This is our winner from Argo.
It doesn't have any aluminum compounds.
We found some brands with aluminum gave a little bit of an off flavor to biscuits in particular, very simple baked goods.
Now, you may be wondering, "Okay, if baking powder is baking soda plus a dry acid, why do some recipes call for powder and soda?"
And that's because the soda also promotes browning.
So a lot of cookie recipes, if you want crispy, brown edges, the soda is doing that and the powder's in there to give you the lift in the cookie.
So those are the chemical leaveners.
Now move down, and we've got our yeast.
In the test kitchen, we use instant, rapid-rise, fast-acting yeast because you can add it directly to doughs.
You don't need to proof it.
The old-fashioned -- This is what my grandmother would use was active dry yeast, and it still works.
The big difference here is you need to soak it in a little bit of warm water to activate the yeast.
It's also less potent, so you really can't use it one for one.
You need 25% more yeast.
So we love our cakes.
We love our cookies.
We love our breads, which means we love our leaveners.
♪♪ -Clementine cake is having a moment and rightly so.
It is a beautiful cake.
It's super tender, and it's full of clementine flavor.
Let's start with the almonds.
I have 2 1/4 cups of sliced, blanched almonds, and I'm gonna add them to the rimmed baking sheet here because I want to start by toasting them.
And doing it first is gonna give them time to cool down before it's time to add them to the rest of the cake.
So I'm gonna toast the almonds in a 325-degree oven for seven minutes.
Okay, so now let's get to the star of the show -- our clementines.
I have 9 ounces of whole clementines, which I've gone ahead and took the stem part off of the fruit.
And we're gonna use the whole clementine.
But I have to cook them first, because if I don't, a lot of the juice that's in the clementine turns bitter.
I'm gonna microwave them, which will help to extract a lot of that bitter juice.
Just gonna microwave the clementines covered for three minutes.
The almonds are nice and cool, and I just wanted to show you what they look like.
They're a beautiful light tan.
We need to make some almond flour.
I'm gonna process it in this food processor.
I am gonna be using a little bit of all-purpose flour.
This is 1 cup.
I'm gonna add that right into the food processor and some baking powder.
This is 1 1/4 teaspoons.
Again, for the lift.
And a little bit of salt, just 1/4 teaspoon.
And we're gonna process this until finely ground, which will take about 30 seconds.
Okay, we are there.
I believe these are nice and finely ground.
Let me get a good check here.
Yeah, they look great.
Our homemade almond flour.
We'll just transfer this to a bowl because now we're gonna process the clementines.
And again, we microwaved those clementines for about three minutes, and I went ahead and drained the liquid that was released.
So just add them directly into the food processor.
We're putting whole clementines in.
It's not a mistake.
We're gonna process the clementines for about one minute.
Go in there every once in a while and just use your rubber spatula just to give it a good stir to make sure everything gets incorporated and pureed nicely.
Oh, my goodness.
This is what I'm talking about.
The peel, the interior, the whole clementine.
This is some liquid sunshine right here.
Okay, so I'm gonna leave this just here in the food processor bowl.
But now I'm gonna move on down to the stand mixer.
It's time to move on to the batter.
So we're gonna start with some butter.
We have 10 tablespoons of unsalted butter, which has been cut into 10 pieces and softened.
I'm just gonna add that directly into the mixer, and we've got a paddle attachment.
And then here we've got 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar, and I'm gonna beat this until pale and fluffy for about three minutes on medium-high speed.
Looks pretty pale and fluffy to me.
Now it's time to add our eggs.
We have a good amount of eggs for this recipe -- five eggs -- which we're gonna add one at a time with the mixer running.
Now I'm gonna add the clementine puree from earlier.
And then I'm just going to mix this until incorporated.
And now I'm gonna add our almond mixture in three additions with the mixer running on low speed.
Might get a little messy.
Just do the best you can.
What I like to do is just keep an eye on it.
And once I see that it's mixed well enough, then I'll add my second addition.
Now, you want to go in there and just scrape down the sides of the bowl every once in a while just to make sure everything's getting mixed properly.
Let that run for just a little bit longer.
We are done.
There is a little bit of the batter that is still at the bottom.
You just want to go and give a couple stirs by hand just to make sure everything gets incorporated.
And we are almost ready for the oven.
So we are gonna bake our clementine cake in a 9-inch springform pan.
So I went ahead and greased the pan and then I lined it with some parchment paper and greased it again, so I will transfer the batter to our prepared pan.
So you want to smooth the top.
Time to put the cake in the oven, and it's still heated at 325 degrees.
The rack is still in the middle position, and we're gonna bake the cake for 55 minutes to about an hour.
♪♪ This looks and smells unbelievable.
Let's make sure it's cooked.
Just want to make sure that the toothpick comes out clean.
The cake needs to cool completely, so I'm gonna leave this here for two hours.
And now we are gonna candy some clementines.
First, let's bring some water to a simmer.
I have 1 cup of water in this small saucepan, and I'm just gonna add 1 cup of sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of salt.
I just want to stir this together until the sugar is dissolved and let this cook for about one minute.
While that comes up to a simmer -- I'm gonna keep my eye on that -- let's talk about, once again, the clementines.
We're gonna put the clementines on top of the cake.
So you want to find clementines at the grocery store that are even in size, if possible.
You're gonna take 8 ounces right now that are stemmed, and you want to start by rounding off the edges.
Because what we're gonna do now is we're gonna slice these clementines into 1/4-inch-thick slices and try if you can to cut them as evenly as possible.
I'm using the tip of a sharp chef's knife, quarter of an inch.
We're gonna pick the eight prettiest slices at the end.
Alright, we're coming up to a simmer.
Just gonna use a whisk and go into my saucepan.
Just give it a little stir just to make sure the sugar is nice and incorporated.
Okay, we're at a simmer here.
I'm gonna add the slices into the pan.
Everybody in the pool.
You're gonna have more than you need.
And just go ahead.
Give it a stir just to make sure all the slices are nice and submerged.
So I'm gonna let the clementine slices cook in here while they're at a nice simmer for six minutes.
♪♪ It's been six minutes.
Our clementine slices look nice and tender.
So I am going to transfer them now to this rimmed baking sheet that I went ahead and lined with a triple layer of paper towels.
And this is very important because this is going to help absorb any extra moisture that these slices are gonna be hanging onto.
I'm gonna let these cool for 30 minutes on this sheet, and I'm gonna flip them halfway through.
♪♪ Let's make a glaze for our clementine cake.
We've got 2 cups of confectioners' sugar, 1/8 teaspoon of salt.
And then I have a couple tablespoons of water here, 2 1/2 tablespoons.
I'm gonna whisk this together.
You want the consistency to be like thick craft glue.
And before you give up, make sure you get all the sugar in there first before you start adding any more water.
So I'm gonna add a little bit more water to this, and you only want to add a half a teaspoon at a time because it can get a little thin pretty quickly, so you can always add more, but you can't take away.
That is exactly the texture I'm looking for.
You can drag a trail down the center of the bowl just like that.
I'm gonna leave this here for one second, and let's move on down to our clementine cake.
It was resting on a wire rack for two hours.
It's completely cool.
I want to grab my paring knife, and I'm just going to run it between the pan and the cake just to make sure nothing is stuck.
Just gonna release it from the pan.
Doesn't it look good?
So I have a couple offset spatulas.
If you don't have an offset spatula, you can use a nice slicing knife if you have one at home.
And what I'm gonna do is I'm just going to help kind of loosen the parchment paper from the bottom of the pan.
So this did have the parchment.
Remember, it was nice and greased, so it's super easy to take off at this point.
Even if this was just for my two boys, I still would put this cake on a cake stand because once you see how beautiful this is...
Here we go.
It is glazing time.
You can start in the center, and the idea is that the glaze is gonna go in the center.
It's gonna run all over the cake.
And if it falls down the sides, that is okay.
I'm gonna grab the base of the cake stand.
I'm gonna use the back of a rubber spatula.
You can also use the back of an offset spatula, too.
And just rotate the cake stand and carefully push the glaze from the center out while you're rotating the cake stand and carefully push the glaze to the side.
Now, depending on the consistency of your glaze, you might see some of the glaze run off immediately, but this one seems to want to kind of hang out on top.
I'm okay with that.
Okay, well, I am happy with this.
I'm gonna let this sit for one hour until it is set.
The glaze has set.
Our candied clementine slices are ready to go.
So you want to go ahead and pick eight of your favorite slices.
You're gonna put them northeast, southwest.
Now place the next four slices in between the ones we've already placed.
Each slice is gonna have one of these slices in it.
This is my clementine cake.
Okay, I'm going in for a slice.
I'm gonna go into the center of the cake.
Would you look at that?
I'm pretty excited about this.
Okay, I need to take a bite.
First of all, the height.
I mean, this is a cake.
You know, it's a substantial cake.
Do you ever just want to hug something?
This is absolutely amazing.
So much clementine flavor.
It is sweet, but it's not too sweet.
These candied clementine slices take this cake to a professional level.
If you serve this at your house, you're gonna be the talk of the town in a good way.
It certainly doesn't get any tastier or more beautiful than this.
The keys to making a perfect clementine cake are to start by microwaving whole clementines.
Add a little all-purpose flour to some toasted, blanched almonds.
And finally, candy your own clementines.
From "Cook's Country," the world's best clementine cake.