Foil-Packed Salmon, Steamed in Beer On a Bed of Seasonal Vegetables
On a recent trip, I found myself walking into a truck stop—one with a huge travel center attached to the mini-mart. Cruising the aisles, I found 12-volt heaven tucked between tortilla chips and CB radios! This is where I discovered cooking appliances that simply plug straight into the car’s cigarette lighter (12 volts): popcorn makers, skillets, pizza ovens, portable refrigerators, Crock-pots, and the holy grail, the 12 Volt Lunch Box Stove. This modified lunch box heats to 300°F | 149°C, is lightweight and simple to use—just plug it in and it gets hot. I decided to use this Lunch Box Stove to cook a multi-course meal, but instead of serving it at a table, why not use the car as my kitchen and make it a Pub Crawl, all at the same time!
Third stop:Russian River Brewing Company’s new brewery expansion in Santa Rosa. While there, the new 50-barrel brewery, bought from Dogfish Head, was being installed. My timing was appreciated as owners Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo hadn’t had a break all morning. “Damnation and Redemption are both really great beers to pair with seafood,” explains Vinnie Cilurzo. “This takes beer cuisine to a new level, cooking with Damnation out of the back of your car through a cigarette lighter. That’s cool!”
When designing this recipe, I wanted to showcase some of the flavors found in Russian River Brewing Co. Belgian Inspired Beers. The simple and elegant flavors of leeks and thyme combine with the Belgian yeast used to produce Damnation, to create a delicious and aromatic base for the salmon to steam in. Using a piece of aluminum foil, to make a foil-wrapped package, which holds the beer steam in, gently cooks the salmon from the low heat of the 12 Volt Lunch Box Stove. This is a great way to cook fish, using steady and low heat.
Fourth Stop: Stuffed Mushrooms With Lamb and Morels
Start by prepping the asparagus, carrots, bell peppers, and leeks. Combine and season with salt and pepper. Take the square of aluminum foil and place the mixed vegetables in the center, creating a rectangle the size of the salmon fillet. Take 1 tablespoon of butter and divide it into four pieces, spacing each piece equally over the vegetables. Place the thyme sprigs over the butter, then top with the salmon fillet.
Next, take the remaining tablespoons of butter and again divide by four and equally space each piece over the fillet. Fold the foil up the sides of the fish lengthwise, making the width no more than 4 1/2 inches long. Bring the two sides together and create a fold 1/2 inch thick, and continue to fold over till the top of the foil is just above the fish. Take one side of the package and fold the side up, helping to create a container that will hold the ale. Fold and seal as just directed. On the remaining open side, pour ale into package and seal. The length should not be more than 8 1/2 inches long. Be careful not to tear the aluminum foil, or the package will leak. The package may be prepared 24 hours in advance, omitting the ale until ready to cook.
Place salmon pouch into the portable 12 Volt Lunch Box Stove and lock the lid. Plug into the cigarette lighter and wait 50 minutes. Check to see if the fish has turned a soft pink color and the butter has melted. Depending on the thickness of the fillet, up to 10 minutes, more cooking may be needed.
To cook in a conventional oven, preheat to 350°F | 177°C and bake for 30 - 40 minutes. To serve, remove the foil package, open it carefully as the steam can cause burns, serve to your guests, and enjoy.