Here is the moment of truth. I did not always enjoy cooking. In fact, cooking was the last thing on my mind until I was in my early 20s. I had no interest in hanging around the kitchen as a child or as a teenager. I was in journalism school and I was much more interested in chasing fire trucks (and the firefighters) rather than looking through the cook books in our house. My mom, who raised us on homemade meals, was getting a little worried about my lack of interest in being a domestic goddess. I mean, how was I going to snatch a husband if I cannot make scrambled eggs? And yes, the situation really was that hopeless! But then one Christmas morning the Miracle happened (notice the capital "M")! I woke up and was determined to make a contribution to our Christmas table. I decided to make salmon, bacon and gouda gratin. This was the dish that changed my life. What started out as an attempt to put all the nagging to rest, turned into an obsession. Soon enough I had a kitchen of my own and all I wanted to do was cook. There was something new on the menu every single day and sometimes even multiple dishes. Some of them were great successes and some of them were disasters big enough to set off my fire alarms and even call the firefighters. All in the name of my great, blossoming love affair with food.
Over the years I mastered the Salmon, Bacon and Gouda Gratin and it still is one of my favourite dishes. Tender salmon poached in white wine, topped with sizzling bacon and stringy cheese that forms a luscious brown crust. Breaking it with a fork is a decadent event on its own. Almost like breaking the hard surface of Crème Brule in order to get to the creamy custard. Your salmon absorbs the delicate flavours of wine, dill and lemon, staying flaky and moist. The smoky and sweet essence of bacon gives the salmon that glorious tasty edge without overpowering it and still letting it be the star ingredient. I like serving it in the baking dish, garnished with some dill and the side of Basmati rice. If you want to go another mile for the ultimate flavour, add some saffron to your rice. It is the world's most expensive spice but it will add a great deal of exotic, mysterious notes of flavour to your creation. Try it at home. This may be the new chapter of your culinary adventures. It certainly was the beginning of mine.
5 salmon fillets,
juice of 1 lemon,
2 tbsp. butter,
100 ml. of white wine,
15 slices of bacon,
1 cup of Gouda cheese,
1 cup of bread crumbs,
Preheat your oven to 375F. Grease your baking dish and arrange your salmon fillets in it. Drizzle with some lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper and add some wine.
In a skillet fry the bacon till crispy. Washing the bacon with cold water prior to cooking it helps to reduce the shrinkage. Once bacon is fried, let it sit on a paper tower for few minutes and then layer it on the top of your fish.
In a separate bowl mix your cheese and your breadcrumbs and layer the mixture on the top of your fish and bacon.
Cut butter into small pieces and sprinkle over the contents of your baking dish.
Bake for 20 min then switch to broil for another minute.