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Salmone con il Gorgonzola con Ortaggi in Carpione (Salmon with Gorgonzola and Vegetables in ‘Carpione’)

March 25, 2011

Plain and simple, I’ve been lagging on this post.  The main reason is because I can’t say I feel especially thrilled with this dish–exciting as it was to steam salmon in cabbage leaves, a new technique  to me.  I’m not sure what the cabbage leaves accomplish (eases the steam upon the fish instead of blasting it?), but it sure looked good.  The salmon, Queen Charlotte Coho, was a wonderful treat.  I bought it at a new sustainably-caught seafood shop in our neighbourhood.  I’ve decided we need more fish in our diet.  Omega-3’s and all.

Okay, the real reason I’m a bit sour about this meal is that I undercooked the salmon at first and had to put it back in the oven after I’d already plated the rice (umm…no, not Italian) and vegetables.  I’m trying to learn to go easier on myself (putting fish back in the oven is really no big deal, right?), and the fact is I just need more practice preparing fish.  Besides, as much as I like to imagine myself in a restaurant kitchen preparing meals for–and winning over–the toughest food critics, this is home cooking.  Really, we’re just a bunch of gushing foodies.  At home who cares if you have to break the filet apart to make sure it’s done?

Then there’s the fact that the only thing especially Italian about salmon is the adoption of the eat-local, eat-seasonal principle that guides Italian cooking at its best.  And in Vancouver, salmon is gloriously local.  As far as I can tell, for all the fish and seafood Italy can call local, salmon is not in the mix.  Unless it’s farmed.  Nevertheless, I found salmon recipes in both La Cucina Italiana and on the ItalianMade site (maintained by the Italian Trade Commission).  So without further ado, here it is: Salmone con il Gorgonzola (compliments of ItalianMade) con Ortaggi in Carpione (compliments of La Cucina Italiana).

Carpione is essentially a red wine vinegar marinade.  We’ll take another run at it this summer with zucchini when our garden is–say a prayer–bursting forth with good gifts.  In March, carrot, celery, leek and fennel go into the pot with a little cheese-clothed bundle of bay leaf and peppercorns, sugar, water and vinegar.  The end result is tender-crisp sweet and sour vegetables, a bright contrast to the rich flavours of the Gorgonzola-smothered salmon.

After steaming the salmon, I baked it with the cheese and herbs, long enough for the cheese to melt.  Which is to say, long enough for it to be underdone.  Back in it went.  I hovered over the oven willing the pink filets to cook faster.  Did I mention Joshua has to work Friday nights?  No fun.  A delayed dinner means rushed eating, which is close to the top of my list of unpleasant things, right behind a dish sponge that has been used to wash the garlic press.  Stinky, stinky!  Okay, maybe rushed eating isn’t that bad, but certainly it is not how you want to partake of a meal like this:

In the end, I must say I prefer salmon prepared in ways typical to the regions in whose waters it dwells.  Soy sauce and brown sugar, for example.  Or maple-glazed.  That said, no one had trouble finishing their meal.  Gushing foodies that we are.

The recipe:

Salmone con il Gorgonzola (Salmon with Gorgonzola and Aromatic Herbs)

(From ItalianMade)

Serves four:

4 salmon filets

4 large cabbage leaves

5 oz. Gorgonzola cheese

fresh thyme

sage                (I used dried herbs, and didn’t manage to get my hands on chervil).


salt and pepper

Salt and pepper the salmon filets, wrap them in the cabbage leaves and steam them. (This is where I went wrong–I should have steamed longer.  Steam until they are done; the oven time is just to melt the cheese.) Remove from the steamer and place them on a baking dish. Mince the fresh herbs and sprinkle over each piece of salmon. Then add the crumbled Gorgonzola cheese. Bake in a 350F oven for ten minutes or until the Gorgonzola has melted.

Ortaggi in carpione (Vegetables in carpione)

(adapted from La Cucina Italiana)

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 small fennel bulb, cut into 1/8-inch-thick matchsticks

1 large carrot, cut into 1/8-inch-thick matchsticks

1 small leek, white and light green parts only, cut into 1/8-inch-thick matchsticks

1 celery rib, cut into 1/8-inch-thick matchsticks

Fine sea salt

1/4  teaspoon sugar

1/2  cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4  cup red wine vinegar

1/4  cup dry white wine

Wrap bay leaves and peppercorns in cheesecloth; secure with kitchen string.

In a medium saucepan, combine bay leaf bundle, fennel, carrot, leek, celery, salt and sugar; add 1 1/2cups water, 1/2 cup oil, vinegar and wine. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand while fish is prepared to allow vegetables to absorb flavor of liquid.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Brenda permalink
    December 5, 2011 8:14 am

    Can I ask you why you didn’t prepare the salmon as the recipe called for in la cucina mag?

    • December 5, 2011 3:34 pm

      Hi Brenda–
      Well, it’s been a while, but as I recall, I had both Gorgonzola and cabbage on hand; that’s why I tried the ItalianMade recipe. Or maybe I just wanted to try a different method of preparing salmon…I don’t remember for sure. In any case, I’d probably try the La Cucina Magazine recipe next time instead.
      Thanks for reading–

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