Friday, February 19, 2010

Love: A Special Meal

I like to have a special meal on Valentine's Day.  Usually, we don't go out to eat to celebrate Valentine's Day.  It's just not very romantic to deal with the crowds.  In fact, there have been several years we've had other couples join us at our house on Valentine's Day for International Potluck.  That's been fun: everyone saves money and still gets to enjoy fabulous food.

Anyway, this year Valentine's Day was on Sunday, and Sunday is always really crazy for us.  I decided to prepare our special meal on the day after Valentine's Day.  (I like to get as much mileage out of every holiday as I possibly can.  My children appreciate this about me.)

I happened to have some salmon fillets and shrimp in the freezer that needed to be used.  So I went a little crazy with the seafood.  It was so good.  So very, very, melt-in-your-mouth and scream for more good.  If I do say so, myself.

Before I show you what was on the menu, I have to tell you this:  I wasn't going for a crowd pleaser when I came up with this entree.  I was planning on pleasing my husband (who loves seafood) and tossing out a few PB&J delicacies for the children if they turned up their noses.  No PB&J was served that night, because no noses were turned up.  In fact, the children ate their food, asked for second helpings, and asked if there were any leftovers the next day!!!!!!!!!  That never, ever, happens at our house.  Unless I serve ice cream for dinner.

But I didn't serve them ice cream that night.  I served them......
Salmon Stuffed with Shrimp and Brie
accompanied by Sauteed Green Beans and Roasted Red Peppers

Not only did the children and the Bionic Man love it, it was easy to make, too!  I looked at several recipes and came up with my own.  I wasn't sure how it would work, and I'm not the Pioneer Woman,  so I can't provide an illustration for every step.  Sorry.  But trust me, it is easy.  If you love seafood and yummy fattening stuff, you'll love this.

To make this recipe, you will need:
8 salmon fillets
6 oz. cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp (variation: 3 oz. shrimp, 3 oz. crab--you can use canned!)
2 tablespoons mayonaise
2 teaspoons artisan/gourmet mustard (I used the Walla Wall Sweet Onion mustard my husband brought home from a business trip, but I'm sure Grey Poupon would work, too!  If it is very spicy, don't use this much.)
4-5 oz. brie cheese
1/2 - 3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1 bunch scallions
3 tablespoons butter, divided
salt & pepper (I prefer fresh ground sea salt and peppercorns)
dillweed (fresh or dry)
Hollandaise Sauce (recipe below)
A good knife

Step 1:  If you are using frozen salmon and shrimp (like I did), make sure that yours are completely thawed.  You want to use fillets that are at least 1-1/2 inches thick.  I purchase my frozen seafood at Sam's Club or Aldi.  If you are lucky enough to use fresh seafood, you can skip this step.
Step 2:   Put the 6 oz. of shrimp and/or crab into your food processor or use your knife to cut it into fine pieces.  
Step 3:  Once the shrimp is chopped up, dump it into a mixing bowl and add the mustard and mayo, salt and pepper to taste, and 1/2 teaspoon dillweed.  
Step 4:  Cut the brie cheese into small pieces and add to the shrimp mixture.  If you don't use brie, you could try substituting another soft cheese.  Just remember, brie doesn't melt as quickly as other cheeses, so the consistency of your stuffing may be a little different.  Try cream cheese or swiss cheese and let me know how it works!
Step 5: Lightly sautee the scallions in 1 Tablespoon of the butter.  Once they have softened slightly, add the breadcrumbs to the frying pan and toss them around a little until they are just lightly toasted.  This will happen very quickly--don't walk away from those breadcrumbs or they will burn!
Step 6: Remove the breadcrumbs from the stove to cool for a minute while you cut the salmon fillets.  Use a good knife to slice the salmon on three sides, so that you can open it like a book.  I believe this is called butterflying by people who know how to cook, but I'm still learning, so I won't call it that.  You can be preheating the oven to 375 degrees while you are working on this step.  
Step 7: Add half the breadcrumb/scallion mixture to the shrimp mixture and mix it well.  If the stuffing seems too dry, feel free to add a little more mayo.
Step 8:  Line a large baking dish with foil and spray it with non-stick cooking spray.  Open each fillet and place a generous scoop of stuffing inside.  Close them up and place the fillets in the  baking dish.  (It is okay if the stuffing looks like it is going to pop out of the fillets.)
Step 9: Top the fillets with the remaining breadcrumb/scallion mixture.  Take the remaining butter, cut it into small pieces, and put a small piece of butter onto each fillet.
Step 10:  Place the stuffed salmon, uncovered, into a 375 degree oven.  Cook the salmon until it will flake with a fork, about 15-20 minutes.  (This is longer than you would normally cook salmon for, because of the stuffing.)  Check the salmon at about 10 minutes, because you never ever want to overcook fish!
Step 11: Garnish each fillet with hollandaise sauce and a sprinkle of dillweed.

Hollandaise sauce is so yummy and I have found a no-fail method to make it.  You have to try this sauce on asparagus, sometime.  It is carnal food bliss.

To make hollandaise sauce, you will need:
1/2 cup butter
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
dash of white pepper
A blender

Step 1:  approximately 5 minutes before the salmon is finished, place the butter in a microwave-safe dish and melt it in the microwave.  
Step 2: put egg yolks, water, lemon juice, and pepper in the blender.  Blend on high.
Step 3:  while the blender is on, carefully pour in the melted butter.  Continue to blend for about a minute.  

That's it!  You have a perfect hollandaise sauce.  Drizzle it over your stuffed salmon and relish the savory tang it adds.  If you need to keep it warm, pour it into a small glass bowl, put some hot water into another, larger, glass bowl, and float the bowl of  hollandaise sauce in the hot water.  That worked for me. 

And one last recipe.....

Melt-in Your Mouth Green Beans
1 package frozen whole green beans 
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste

Put the beans and butter into a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Add seasonings before beans are fully cooked.  Add toasted almonds or pecans, green onions, or chopped roasted red peppers for additional texture and flavor.  Beans are finished when they are fork-tender.

Enjoy a special meal at your house sometime soon!

I've linked this post to V.O.T.W. at Design-Aholic.


  1. That looks unbelievably fabulous and tasty! I will have try this! (Though, with a slight variation since my husband is allergic to shrimp.)

  2. WOW!!! Good for you! smiles.

  3. Beautiful! What a wonderful meal. Way better than a restaurant!

    Thanks for linking this up. I love it!