Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Green Tea Poached Salmon

I have to admit something here, something a little dark... I hate hot tea people.  Maybe "hate" is too strong of a word, if you and I were sitting on my back porch and you asked for a cup of herbal tea I wouldn't throw you out into the streets of the Chicago suburbs, in fact if you had some tea with you I would even make it for you.  I am sure the evening would turn out just fine, even if I were a bit distrustful.

However from a restaurant and even more so a catering perspective tea drinkers, especially herbal tea people are a lot of work.  Here is an example, when I was going through my divorce I would do some work with Chicago caterers most weekends for a little extra cash.  One weekend I was waiting tables at a wedding in the Field Museum... it was a dinner for 1500 people; yes 150 tables of 10 spread over the entire first floor complete a big T-Rex Skeleton in the middle.  There were a total of 85 people there as wait staff that night, I had just delivered a table full of food and was walking back to pick up another tray and a guy grabbed my elbow to stop me.

"Oh, Excuse me," he started, "could I get some herbal tea?  Maybe Chamomile or a Peppermint would be fine.  Oh, and bring me some raw sugar or honey for it and I can't use this half and half just bring me some milk, skim is best, 2% if you have to." 

Did he have any idea that there were about 1499 other people in the room waiting on dinner?  The guy still hadn't let go of my $30.00 tux jacket.

"Oh and this bread... well just find me some hard rolls or French bread, and some olive oil to dip it in, OK?"

I smiled at him and said I would take care of him immediately, then did the math, "85 waiters, more than half of us men about half of those with blond/light brown hair, every one of us in second hand tuxedos, I don't exactly stand out in fact I look exactly like 20 other people here tonight," I said "I will bring that right out for you sir"  I thought, "yeah, 15 minutes after Hell freezes over."

In my career in restaurants and catering my dealings with tea people has always been something like this one, maybe not as extreme but similar.  That being said when I decided to make Green Tea Poached Salmon I had some identity issues, "am I going to become a 'tea guy' now?" and "will I suddenly be too good for refined sugar? Maybe coffee poached salmon would be more appropriate... OK, maybe not"

The ingredients:
2 TBS Coarsely Chopped Fresh Ginger
3 Cloves Coarsely Chopped Garlic
small handful of Fresh Cilantro chopped
6 oz white wine
Salt and Pepper to taste
6 Green Tea Bags

Roasted Sesame Seeds
Salmon 1 fillet per person

Put the the first bunch of ingredients except the Tea Bags  into a saucepan with about 6 cups of water and simmer lightly for about half an hour maybe 45 minutes.  I wanted extra poaching liquid for the Couscous that I made and something else, upcoming post (maybe... if this one turns out) if you are just doing salmon cut it all in half.  After the poaching liquid had simmered for the half our I turned it off and added the teabags to steep for about 10 minutes.  Then I pulled the teabags out with a slotted spoon and brought it to a light simmer then added the salmon and poached for about 5 minutes.  

This is served over couscous made with some reserved poaching liquid and Chilean Mushrooms.  I splashed a little soy sauce on top and garnished with toasted sesame seeds. 
Oh and here is what the Easter Bunny brought!


  1. HEY BUDDY! I love hot tea! Herbal not so much.....

  2. Great story Bryan, I am hearing you in regards to those bloody tea drinkers, they are especially bad at functions (also have to admit I am a tea drinker BUT not when out, strictly alcohol when in a social setting so I hope we can still share a bevvy when I hit the shores of the lake!)

    Love the family shot by the way, you all look dashing!

  3. Love the chef togs! You guys look great!

  4. Brian, this looks and sounds wonderful. I love salmon and am always grateful for other ways in which to serve it. Your story made me smile. You ask about the kids and anchovies: mine were teens at the time, but I doubt that even when younger they would have objected as long as they weren't told they were there. The mind can play tricks with the tongue:-).

  5. Bryan, your herbal tea story made me laugh. There are always idiots who ask for something like that (and I know a few) at a gala event. It never fails. Glad you were able to hide out.

    Your salmon looks interesting! I don't cook with tea very often, although a lot of bloggers use green tea in everything! It's good for you!

    Cute photo!

  6. Beautiful piece of salmon. I've never had dinner that's green tea flvored. It sounds exciting!