Monday, November 30, 2009

Sasha's Kitchen: Napa Valley Salmon

About a year ago, my husband and I took a wonderful two week trip to California. We started in San Francisco, and travelled to Sausalito, Sonoma County, Napa Valley, Fresno and Yosemite National Park. This was as much a culinary adventure as it was an immersion in beautiful natural surroundings. We went to Napa and Sonoma during crush, the wine harvest, which was an amazing experience in and of itself. Although we did not make it to the world-famous French Laundry, we did eat at some of the best restaurants I've ever been to using wonderful local California produce. In addition, we visited 10 wineries, which were as remarkable for their wines as for their natural beauty and abundance of fresh organic vegetables and fruits.

Many of these wineries have websites that showcase both their wines and foods that pair nicely with the wines. In addition, many even have recipes that they suggest for with the wines. Three wineries that we visited which have great recipes on their websites are Cakebread Cellars (Napa), St. Francis Vineyards (Sonoma) and Round Pond Estate (Napa), which also produces delicious olive oils that I use in my cooking.

The recipe I made tonight can be found on the Cakebread Cellars website, and pairs nicely, in my opinion, with either a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. Cakebread's Reserve Chardonnay is heavenly and personally one of my favorite wines we tasted on that trip.

The recipe is very simple, fresh, and herbal and incorporates the fresh flavor of cucumbers:

The recipe is found on Cakebread Cellar's website (

However, here's how I make it, with my own variations:

2 cucumbers - diced
1 tsp salt (the original recipe suggests 2, but I always prefer to cook with less salt)
2 T rice vinegar (their recipe suggests using 1 T but I prefer more)
1 tsp horseradish
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1 T dill, diced
1 T chives, diced
1 tsp tarragon
1 tsp thyme (my addition, instead of the parsley)
1 tomato diced

I mix this and then put on top of 2 pieces of cooked salmon

In addition, I like to add a bit of fresh lemon or lemon juice when serving. I absolutely love the creamy flavor of the creme fraiche with the freshness of the cucumbers, the herbal medley and the tartness of the lemon.

Enjoy with a glass of white wine.

Subjects from upcoming posts by me to look forward to: Apple and blueberry pies, rainbow cookies, dinner souffles, ice cream, and southwestern chicken.

Salmon on Foodista


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