I’ve been itching to try my new sous vide machine with fish. Worried that a delicate white fish might fall apart too much, I went with some salmon fillets for the first attempt. They came out beautifully, and the cooking process is foolproof! I just love creamy sides with my salmon, so I made some horseradish mashed potatoes and a swiss chard gratin.

Sous Vide Salmon

The salmon couldn’t have been easier. I just had to pick a cooking temperature for the sous vide machine, let it sit in the water bath for about 20 minutes, and then sear it over a super high heat to get it a little crispy.

The hardest part was trying to figure out which temperature to use. I was cooking for my mom and she likes her salmon a lot more done than I do. I usually like medium-rare and she tends to go for medium-well, so we compromised at 140°F for medium.

I got a couple of beautiful salmon fillets from Courthouse Seafood. My mom requested that I make the salmon a little spicy, so I seasoned them with some Tony’s creole seasoning. I went light on the seasoning though because these beauties don’t need much!

After seasoning, I vacuum sealed them in my Foodsaver.

One of the fillets got a little crooked. Oops.

This is how they looked after about 20 minutes at 140°F.

They didn’t look very appetizing before I seared them, but they were incredibly moist. I had to be careful because they were falling apart!

The searing cooked them a little further than I would have liked. My mom even agreed that she could have had it less cooked through. Next time I’m going to try cooking them to 126°F for medium-rare. Still, not bad for a first try!

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

I made a pretty basic mashed potato with yukon golds and made a last minute decision to kick them up with a little horseradish. I started by peeling the potatoes and cutting them in quarters. Then, I put them in a pot with cold water and lots of salt and brought them to a boil.

When they were cooked, I drained them and put them back into the pot so that any water still left would evaporate. This was always my dad’s trick, and he made the best mashed potatoes.

I always use either a food mill or potato ricer to make my mashed potatoes. It makes them perfectly creamy without overworking them to the point of getting gluey.

After passing them through the food mill, I added some whole milk, a pat of butter, and a couple tablespoons of prepared horseradish. The horseradish surprisingly wasn’t overpowering; it just gave them a little hint of flavor in the background. It was a great compliment to the salmon.

Swiss Chard Gratin

This recipe is originally from Alice Water’s The Art of Simple Food that I found on Serious Eats. I never want to eat swiss chard in any other way again! This recipe is so good and surprisingly not that heavy. The greens are mixed with a light bechamel sauce before being baked with buttery breadcrumbs. This is one of those dishes where the main ingredient (the swiss chard in this case) come out tasting like a better version of itself.

3 bunches chard, washed and stemmed (save the stems)
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (to make these, I buy a loaf of white bread and use this recipe)
5 Tbsp. butter
1 large onion, diced
4 tsp. flour
1 cup milk
Freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

I actually only used one bunch of swiss chard so the pictures reflect me making 1/3 of this recipe.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to boil. Thinly slice the reserved chard stems. The original recipe calls for only half of the chard stems, but I used them all. Why waste?

Add the chard stems to the water and cook for 2 minutes. Add the leaves and continue cooking until tender, about 3-4 minutes longer.

Drain and allow to cool, then gently squeeze out the excess liquid and coarsely chop.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and toss the breadcrumbs, then spread them out on a small baking sheet. Toast, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat, then add the onion. Sweat until translucent, 5-7 minutes.

Stir in the chard and a couple pinches of salt. Cook for 3 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour over the chard and stir well to coat.

Add the milk and nutmeg and bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes as the mixture thickens. The chard should be just moist, but not overly wet, or else the gratin won’t brown properly. Taste and season with salt.

Butter a baking dish and spread the chard mixture evenly in the dish. Dot with the remaining butter (I just realized I missed this step) and top with the breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 degrees until golden and bubbling, 20-30 minutes.

The extra butter on top probably would have improved the browning, but I guess I made the dish a little lighter. It was still delicious!

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