Friday, September 18, 2009

Juggling Apples, Maple Syrup and Canine Pepper

A Royal Foodie Joust is on over at the Foodie Blogroll and in this monthly event, participants must come up with a dish that uses three ingredients selected by the previous month's winning Jouster. Natasha the Four-Star Foodie won the last Joust and selected apples, maple syrup and cayenne pepper as the featured ingredient trio. That set my blogger heart aglow as I love all three equally.

Years ago I had a friend who took some cooking classes from an instructor who would refer to cayenne pepper as canine pepper, and the substitute name has stuck in my mind ever since. A special pepper just for dogs! Or maybe that's what postal carriers should carry on their belts. I have since seen cayenne pepper spelled as cheyenne pepper on some cooking websites and that cracks me up too.

In a family with various dietary needs and tastes, it is not always easy for the Crispy Cook to come up with something we all really enjoy, but everyone cleans the plate when I cook up my teriyaki roast salmon. I thought it would be a delicious twist to substitute maple syrup as the sweetener in that recipe, but it took some pondering and some experimentation to incorporate apples and canine pepper into the dish.

There are a lot of apple salsa recipes out in the blogoverse, but they are not all created equally. I think the apple and green pepper combo just tastes swampy, and it was after dicing half a bag of Macintosh apples and swapping in a variety of different edibles, I came up with a crunchy, cool and spicy salsa that is a nice counterpoint with the richness of the roasted fish. The kids scraped their salsa off their portions, but the adult diners thought it rather a nice contrast of tastes.

Salmon was a bit dear at the supermarket, so I used its fishy cousin, Steelhead Trout, for my recipe and it was terrific. The meat is the same pink color and firm texture as the salmon and roasted up nicely.

Teriyaki Trout with Snappy Apple Salsa

1 (2 lb.) fillet steelhead trout, washed and patted dry
1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tbsp. soy sauce (make sure it's gluten-free)
1 Tbsp. gingerroot, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tbsp. dark maple syrup

2 apples, unpeeled, cored and diced
1 small bulb fennel, trimmed and diced (makes 1/2 cup)
2 Tbsp. lime juice
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt

Pour olive oil in large baking dish. Place trout fillet on top, skin side down.

Make marinade of garlic, soy sauce, ginger and maple syrup. Pour over fish in baking dish and cover and refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

When ready to roast your fish, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place baking dish on top rack in oven and roast 35 minutes or until trout flakes easily.

Meanwhile, mix up your apple salsa. Toss apple and fennel with lime juice to coat and prevent them from browning. Add cayenne and salt to taste, but start with just a pinch of each, as it is easy to overwhelm the delicate apple and fennel flavors.

When fish is done, top with a dollop of salsa. We enjoyed our salmon over a bed of clear sweet potato noodles dressed with homemade pesto and it was a lovely dinner all around. The sweet potato noodles were a new gluten-free find at Albany's Asian Market and they have a springy texture and cool blue-green tint.

To see what other cooks are whipping up in their kitchens with apples, maple syrup and cayenne pepper, be sure to visit the Royal Foodie Joust before October 1st. Happy Jousting!


JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

This sounds awesome, and I love your salsa. I know how good fennel is with fish, and I can imagine it is wonderful with apples too! Great entry! Thanks so much for participating, it is great to have you back in the games!

Joan Nova said...

You're too funny. And clever. Nice marrying of the 3 ingredients.

Kim said...

I also love all three of those ingredients equally. Nice pairings!

Esme said...

R-I have a giveaway for a cookbook I think you will enjoy.

ARLENE said...

A beautiful dish and I'll be rooting for you to win, Rachel.

Karine said...

Interesting way to cook with trout! Thanks for sharing:)

FoodJunkie said...

I have never tried fish with apples, but I guess it will work. Kids are picky eaters most of the times, but growing up in a gourmet environment will definitely have an impact on their tastes!

Jennifer said...

What a beautiful combination of those ingredients!!! I look forward to trying this!

Debinhawaii said...

A great RFJ entry. I just voted for you!