Kyle Mendenhall is the appraised chef behind one of Colorado’s most sensational restaurants, The Kitchen. Coincidentally, when I visited Denver last winter (my birth town), two of my best friends Michael & Rachael knew exactly where to take me for dinner. The Kitchen is a pioneer in farm-to-table, but takes the notion of fresh, home-grown food a step further with it’s innovative dishes and nostalgic family meal feel. My evening around the sturdy wood tables continues to ring in my mind with sweet melody, from the generous pours of fruity paired wines to the sauce that glazed my lamb way back when. I’m absolutely delighted to have Kyle share The Kitchen’s famous Poached Sockeye Salmon Salad for #5days5ways, particularly because this chef is setting new standards for seafood in a landlocked state. Another fun fact, like me, Kyle was a committed oboe player for a fair chunk of his life … eventually transferring his passion for classical music into orchestrations on the plate! Without further a-do, words from the chef!
Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon (BBSS) is important to The Kitchen & Next Door because it is wild, domestic, a direct relationship with the fishermen, scaleable and of course, tasty!
We do not have a problem with the salmon being frozen. It actually allows for easier storage, preparation and retains the high quality freshness of the day it was caught. We have done taste tests side by side with fresh salmon and the end result is that it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between the two, especially when the fish is poached. This is one reason we like to use it in this application.
The Kitchen Community is all about knowing that incredible people like Christopher Nicholson are directly impacted by us when we use the fish they hand catch: community through food. Although Christopher is in Alaska (and we are in land-locked Colorado), we are confident that our purchasing helps support him and Bristol Bay.
Through our Relationship with Sea to Table we, as a company, are able to purchase all the salmon we need to support our restaurants for an entire year (about 15,000 pounds this year!). This means that both price and quality are unchanged.
I am personally “hooked” on BBSS. I have had the incredible opportunity to see first hand what these fishermen and women do to catch this fish. They are real people, working hard, loving what they do and proud to share it with Chefs who care.
- Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon - 4 (4-ounce) portions
- Poaching Liquid:
- Water - 1 gallon
- Yellow onion - 1, cut in half
- Celery - 2 stalks
- Bay leaves - 2
- Tarragon - 3 sprigs
- Lemon - 1
- White wine - 1
- Star anise - 4
- Black peppercorn (whole) - 1 tablespoon
- Champagne vinegar - 1/2 cup
- Spicy greens (arugula, mizuna, mustard greens0 - 1/2 pound
- Cucumbers - 2, peeled, seeded and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette
- Sherry vinegar - 1/2 cup
- Extra virgin olive oil - 1/4 cup
- Thyme, fresh - 1 sprig
- Shallot (brunoise) - 1
- Salt - To taste
- Chive Aioli:
- Mayonnaise - 1/2 cup
- Garlic - 1 tablespoon, minced
- Chives - 1 tablespoon, chopped
- Lemon juice - 1 tablespoon
- Salt - To taste
- Begin with making the shallot sherry vinaigrette. Combine the brunoise shallot and sherry vinegar in a small bowl with a pinch of salt, let stand for 10 mins. Add the fresh thyme to the bowl and slowly add the olive oil while stirring (it does not need to be emulsified). Set the dressing aside.
- Next, combine all the ingredients for the poaching liquid in a medium shallow pot and bring to a boil. Once the poaching liquid is boiling turn the heat down to a low simmer. Add the Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon portions to the liquid and poach for about 5 mins (or until the salmon reaches 120 degrees). Remove salmon and place on tray to cool with a spoonful of the shallot sherry vinaigrette over each piece (make sure to stir the vinaigrette first).
- In a small bowl combine all the ingredients of the chive aioli together and mix by hand with a spoon. Taste the aioli for salt and add as needed.
- To assemble your salad, mix the spicy greens and sliced cucumbers together in a large bowl with 4 tablespoons of the shallot sherry vinaigrette (you may add more as you like). Plate the mixed greens on a large platter or divide them up evenly on four plates. Placed the poached salmon over the greens and add one spoonful of the aioli on top of each piece. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil over each piece of salmon.