We don’t go out to eat a lot, especially since we stopped eating grains. People give you strange looks when you request “no bread, please”, or order Chinese food without the rice. “Without the rice?” Incredulously, “Are you sure, no rice?” It seems beyond comprehension. However, last weekend we were out doing errands and decided to stop in at Shorty’s Pizza, which might seem to be misguided for people that don’t eat bread. Shorty’s offers a lot more than wood-fired pizzas (which are delicious). They have small plates with interesting combinations, such as spaghetti squash salad with aged ricotta and walnuts. They have large plates of garlicky mussels or blackened sirloin with romaine and bleu cheese. Check out their menu at the link if you’re in the Decatur or Tucker, Georgia area!
Also on Shorty’s menu is cedar-planked salmon which is normally served with potatoes roasted in their wood oven. Potatoes – another thing I’m trying to avoid! I substituted roasted peppers, off their pizza toppings menu, and was just thrilled with the combination. The sweetness and creamy softness of the peppers complemented the salmon’s delicate flavor….so, I had to try it at home!
Roasting peppers is not difficult, but it is a bit smelly, for lack of a better descriptor. Use of a good ventilation hood is recommended, or even better, roast them outside on the grill. You can roast and slice the peppers ahead of time, and keep them in olive oil in the refrigerator until ready to use (for at least a week).
- 2 red bell peppers
- bunch of asparagus
- 2 pieces of salmon
- extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Salmon rub, optional [My favorites: Dizzy Pig's Raging River Rub or Tom Douglas "Rub With Love" Salmon Rub]
Wash the peppers and dry thoroughly. Turn on the hood if you’re roasting on the stove top! (If you don’t have a gas range, you can also put them under the broiler in the oven, or use a grill outdoors.)
Using tongs, place the pepper over the flames (or under the broiler). Turn frequently, until the entire pepper is charred. Place the blackened peppers in a small paper bag (watch out that there are no embers on the peppers!) and roll the top of the bag closed. This will allow the inside of the peppers to continue to cook. Put the bag aside (I recommend outside) and allow the peppers to cool. [If you don't have a bag, you could wrap them in paper towels and place in a glass bowl to cool.]
When cool enough to handle, peel the charred skin from the peppers with your fingers. It may help to use some running water to get the skin off, but be careful not to get the peppers too wet or you’ll dilute their flavor. It’s okay if there’s some charred skin left here and there on the pepper.
Slice the peppers open, remove the stem, and scrap out the seeds and white ribs. Dry the peppers with paper towels, then slice into thin strips. Place in a bowl with a little olive oil. Set aside, or refrigerate if you’re saving the peppers for another day.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Prepare the asparagus for roasting by snapping off the tough ends; use a peeler if necessary to take off other tough parts. Put the asparagus in a shallow roasting pan, toss with a little olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Line another roasting pan with foil; lightly oil or spray the foil with non-stick spray. Place the salmon on the foil and spray with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, or your favorite salmon rub. Put the salmon and the asparagus in the oven and roast until each is done to your liking (around 11-14 minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon and the size of the asparagus). Shake the pan of asparagus about halfway through cooking.
In the meantime, heat the roasted pepper strips in a small pan and keep warm. Plate the salmon with the asparagus and roasted peppers, then enjoy!
It’s Friday, right? Let’s get funky up in here then!
First off, one of the greatest pairings ever…BB King and Bobby “Blue” Bland with Together for the First Time Live, one of the best bits of live blues you’ll ever hear. “It’s My Own Fault”, “Three O’Clock Blues” and more, just a stone classic.
What? Still not funky enough? Well, then you need Best of Wilson Pickett. He wasn’t called “Wicked” Wilson Pickett for nothing…”Mustang Sally”, “In The Midnight Hour”, “634-5789″ and more should get ya moving…if not, have your heart checked. Essential soul!