Earlier this year I got racks of lamb lamb from the Annual Basque Picnic here in town. I had a great time gathering together with my brother and cousins to celebrate the culture of out ancestors, listening to the language and songs, smelling amazing food being grilled, watching folk dances and seeing lots of people of similar descent (we are French-Basque) enjoy the all-day festivities. In addition to my cousin’s birthday, the day was absolutely filled with awesome activities. I started by perusing the Etcheverry Basque Imports booth, buying some great folk music and Chorizos in an Iron Skillet; I was not at all surprised to find The Basque Kitchen, which I already owned, amongst their selection. They had all sorts of amazing stuff! There was an American Basque guide book and an intriguing book on myths and legends that I added to my list to read later.

Annual Basque Picnic

Several months ago (sorry for the delay) during one of my grocery store quests for fish, I found salmon on sale and bought three pounds of it. I decided to try something different and flipped open my new Basque cookbook to the fish section. I had never poached salmon before but the recipe looked pretty easy and tasty, especially with the garlic aioli. My husband is usually not a sauce-on-the-side kind of guy but loved the aioli. They also went well with the side of steamed asparagus.

Cold-Poached Salmon with Garlic Aioli
Adapted from Mary Ancho Davis’ “Cold Poached Salmon” recipe published in “Chorizos in an Iron Skillet
 You can of course eat the fish cold, as suggested, but we decided not to wait and ate ours still hot.ChorizosIronSkillet
Yield: 4-6 Servings

Cold-Poached Salmon
Ingredients

1 qt Filtered Water
1 Sweet Yellow Onion, peeled, quartered
3 Celery Stalks with leaves
2 tsp Sea Salt, any variety
1/2 tsp Peppercorns, fresh ground
Marjoram, 1 T fresh or 1 tsp dried
Tarragon, 1 T fresh or 1 tsp dried
Basil, 1 T fresh or 1 tsp dried
1 Dried Bay Leaf
3 lbs Salmon Steaks, rinsed, boned

Directions
Boil all of the herbs and spices in the water in a large pot for 20 minutes over medium-high heat.

Wrap the salmon in cheesecloth to prevent them from falling apart as they cook and carefully place in the boiling broth. Simmer 15 minutes or until the fish is firm. Carefully remove the fish from the broth. Untie cloth and unwrap the fish, being careful not to burn your fingers.

Chill the fish in a covered container for at least two hours.

Serve with garlic aioli.

Garlic Aioli
Adapted from Mary Ancho Davis’ “No Fail Ali-Oli” recipes published in “Chorizos in an Iron Skillet.” According to Ms. Ancho Davis, the sauce gets better with times as the flavors meld together, so if possible, make this sauce A day or two ahead.
Yields: 8 Servings

Ingredients
1 C Prepared Mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
4 – 6 Cloves Garlic, peeled, trimmed, minced*
1 T Cold-Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Lemon Juice, to taste
1/8 Sea Salt, any
Peppercorns, fresh ground, to taste (optional)

Directions
Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Adjust the flavors as necessary. Chill until ready to serve with the fish.

*Keep in mind that this is raw garlic. You can roast the garlic first if you like. If you choose to use a food processor to mix the ingredients, you do not need to mince the garlic.

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