I recently made my first journey to Seattle to attend MozCon. Being a first timer at the conference, I was thrilled at the opportunity it provided to learn more about SEO and I have to say, it certainly didn’t fail to impress. In fact, it was amazing.
Apart from all the information, knowledge and education I gleaned, what really struck me was the incredible community atmosphere in the place. I met some really interesting and engaging SEO people from across the globe.
A discussion at the bar with Justin Taylor from Graphitas led to the inspiration behind this blog post, and as a food blogger it was with great interest to learn that he and the Graphitas team had been on a healthy eating kick since the start of the year.
An idea was hatching… I said to Justin “Why don’t I create a healthy Seattle/MozCon themed recipe for you guys at Graphitas?”
“That would be great, would you also be able to do a vegetarian version, as one of the team doesn’t eat meat?” was Justin’s reply.
I was delighted to oblige and so, here is my taste of Seattle – Gra”fit”as, I look forward to your verdict!
What do you think of when Seattle comes to mind? I think coffee, salmon, wine and cherries. I wasn’t feeling adventurous enough to pair salmon and coffee so… I thought, what can I put together with salmon, that will taste great, and I haven’t seen before? I wanted to create something that would be local to Washington and healthy. Then the cherry and salmon combination came to mind. Bear with me, it might sound a little out there, but it really works.
Although it is not in the traditional way, the “compote” is light and complimentary, with the tartness of the cherries and the zing of the ginger you get a great deal of flavor without any added sugar.
This is my salmon and the delightful fellow Jake who helped me at Pike’s Place Fish Market. He was super friendly, helpful and a pleasure to talk to . If you are ever in the area stop in and ask him to help you pick out the perfect pesce. After helping me select the perfect catch, Jake explained the best option for getting the salmon home to Florida, which packing was best, how long it would last, etc. They even delivered the package to the hotel and had it kept in the freezer until I was ready to head to the airport.
I really liked their emphasis on sustainably caught fish and seafood. I try my best to find the most ethically conscious food and meat possible, so that was a big plus for me.
After picking out my salmon, I took a few minutes to meander through the market and see what they had. I really wish I had taken a stroll down there sooner! The vendors had some beautiful produce, and although I wish I could have taken some with me, I was happy enough to just “window shop” and people watch.
The salmon was packed in with a 24 hour ice pack and came sealed in an airtight package. I was a bit concerned about flying across the country with fresh fish, but it made it through wonderfully, and was ready to be portioned.
1 1/2 lbs Salmon
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Grated Ginger
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Champagne Vinegar
1 Cup Chopped Cherries
1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Grated Ginger
1 Tablespoon Butter
3 Heads Baby Bok Choy
5oz. Package Baby Spinach
1 Package Baby Bella Mushrooms
Salt & Pepper
Bunch of Asparagus
Cast Iron Grill Pan
Preheat oven to 350
Mix the Dijon mustard, honey, olive oil, champagne vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of the grated ginger until well blended. I always use a microplane to grate the ginger because it yields a finer texture. You can always use a box grater if you don’t have one. Be sure to add the ginger lightly as it can overpower the other flavors. If you want more, add more but make sure you taste along the way.
Place the four salmon portions on a baking sheet lined with foil and coated with a light spritz of olive oil. Sprinkle garlic salt and pepper on the salmon then coat with the mustard mixture. Place in preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes depending on how well done you like your salmon.
While the salmon is cooking, make the cherry topping. I thought I had a cherry pitter on hand, but couldn’t find it- luckily, it was easy enough to do it by hand. After pitting, chop the cherries into 1/4″ (ish) sized pieces. Over medium/medium-high heat in a large skillet, melt 1- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter ( I use Organic Valley Pasture Butter) and toss in the cherries and 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger. Saute for 5 minutes or so, then splash in a bit of the champagne vinegar, a couple of teaspoons. Let the cherries caramelize for a few more minutes and remove from heat when the edges are golden brown. Set the compote aside.
To accompany the salmon, I wanted to pair it with something light and healthy so I thought the crunch of the baby bok choy would compliment the sauteed spinach and the earthiness of the baby bella mushrooms. I wanted a well rounded meal that avoided carbs and packed a nutritional punch.
I start by cooking the mushrooms. In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt a tablespoon of butter and place sliced mushrooms in the pan. Be sure not to crowd the mushrooms. Saute until browned, remove from pan and set aside.
Wash and dry the baby bok choy and cut of the bottom. Place in a skillet over medium high heat with a light coat of extra virgin olive oil. Cook for about 8 minutes then toss in the spinach and return the mushrooms to the pan.
(If you can’t find baby bok choy, you can always use the standard. Just remove the leafy portion, chop and set aside. Chop the white of the bok choy into 1/2″ pieces and saute, when they are nearly done and have golden edges, toss in the leafy portion.)
I also threw in some grilled asparagus for good, green measure!
This meal would also be delicious with Mashed Cauliflower.
When the salmon is done, remove from the oven and separate from the skin (which I always leave on while cooking, they say that’s where all the Omegas are). Plate each piece and spoon 1/4 of the compote on top.
Serve veggies or whatever other side dish you choose, pour a glass of vino and enjoy!
If you want to pair the meal with wine, I would go with something like Chateau St. Michelle Pinot Gris. I love the light, crisp, citrusy flavor that compliments the cherries so well. And, bonus! it is a Columbia Valley, Washington winery.
My take-away from MozCon was immense. The amount of information, networking, fun, camaraderie and education is unrivaled. See you next year, Seattle!