A few months ago I was so pumped to finally buy Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 1. Something happened shortly after and I didn’t really make any other recipes.  I mean, I always MEANT to open up the book when doing my menu planning but other dishes got in the way.  I was doing some menu planning the other day and decided that I wanted to make salmon but wanted to try a new method.  I thought to myself, why not see what Julia would have to say.  There weren’t a ton of recipes for salmon but there was this delicious sounding recipe for Salmon Gratin.

I’m a sucker for a gratin.  You can make most things taste pretty delicious by cooking them in cream and topping them with cheese.  True story.  How one could turn fish into a gratin had never occurred to me but I was pretty happy that it was an option. This recipe had me at hello.  I mean butter, milk/cream, wine and cheese? Sign me up folks!

This could definitely be a weeknight meal for most.  Before I started cooking I threw some fingerling potatoes in the oven.  While the gratin was in the oven I steamed some broccoli.  It took about 45 minutes to get the complete meal on the table.  Not bad. The steps in between were easy too and none of the ingredients are hard to find and chances are you have them on hand.  The only thing I had to buy was the Swiss cheese.

The results were pretty delicious. As in, I could eat this every week delicious.    I’m not sure what consistency Julia was aiming for but mine was a bit firmer than a stew.  There was no slicing, you had to scoop it out.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  The flavours were simple but worked well together.  I opted to use white wine (riesling) over Vermouth and the flavour worked really well with the dish.  Next time I would probably stick the dish under the broiler for a minute or so for a nice cheesy crust on top.

For more on this recipe check out the Julie/Julia Project entry for this recipe.

Salmon Gratin

* 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
* 3 tablespoons butter
* 3 tablespoons flour
* 1 cup boiling milk, cream or half-and-half
* 1/4 cup dry white wine (optional) or vermouth (optional)
* juice, from salmon can (if any)
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 pinch pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1 1/2 cups canned salmon or cooked salmon
* 1/4 cup grated swiss cheese
* 1 tablespoon butter
* mushroom, sauteed in their own juice (optional) or lemon juice (optional)

1. Cook onion in butter over low heat about 5 min or so – do not brown. Add flour, cook 2 minutes without coloring.
2. Off heat, beat in boiling milk, wine (if using), salmon juice (if using), and seasoning. Boil several minutes to thicken. Thin to medium consistency with 4-6 T. additional milk. Taste for seasoning. Fold salmon (and mushrooms, if using) into sauce, check seasoning.
3. Spread in 8” shallow baking dish or cooked pastry shell. Sprinkle on the cheese.
4. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes, or til top is nicely browned.
5. Note: You can also add extra ingredients such as peas, diced hard boiled eggs, etc. to the casserole.

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