What'cha Cookin' Challenge recipe: Saintsational Salmon



Posted on October 27, 2011 at 5:00 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 14 at 12:24 PM

Eddie Esposito / What'cha Cookin' Challenge winner

This is a great dish for a special occasion, sharing your kitchen cooking with friends, or just to challenge yourself. Have all of your things organized and planned ahead, and you can pull this off and be a top chef in your own house!

Watch Eddie Esposito's entry video.

See Behind-the-Scenes photos on the WWL TV Morning Show Facebook page.


Step 1: Poached Eggs

6 Fresh, Extra Large or Jumbo Eggs


Fill a medium bowl with ice and water and set aside.

Heat a pot of water until simmering.

When it is simmering add two tablespoons of white or rice vinegar and stir.

One at a time, crack the eggs into a cup.

Stir the pot of water to create a swirl and pour the egg from the cup into the center of the swirling water. (if you drop the egg in the water from above, the white will spread out and it won’t work. Swirling the water also makes sure the white surrounds the egg yolk.)

Let the eggs poach for about 90 seconds.

Take a slotted spoon and remove the egg from the water and place in the ice.

Do as many eggs as you have servings. Let them sit until you are ready but be sure to keep them very cold.


Step 2: Risotto

8 cups mushroom broth or light seafood stock

olive oil

1 onion, diced

4 fresh garlic cloves, minced, divided

2 pounds fresh Portobello, Shitake and Oyster Mushrooms. Substitute any good quality, fresh earthy variety

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon truffle oil (optional)

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, cleaned and reconstituted in stock or broth

2 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated

3 tablespoons chipoltle puree

Fresh flat parsley, for garnish


Heat the mushroom broth or seafood stock in a medium saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add 1/2 onion and 2 cloves garlic, cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the fresh mushrooms, herbs and butter. Saute for 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned, season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle in truffle oil then add the dried porcini mushrooms which were reconstituted in 1cup of seafood stock or mushroom broth. Season again with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Saute 1 minute then remove from heat and set aside.

Coat a saucepan with remaining 2 tablespoons of oil.

Saute the remaining 1/2 onion and garlic clove.

Add the rice and stir quickly until it is wellcoated and opaque, 1 minute.

Stir in wine and cook until it is nearly all evaporated.

To the rice, add 1 cup of the simmering broth and cook, stirring, until the rice has absorbed the liquid.

Add the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time. Continue to cook and stir, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more. The risotto should be slightly firm and creamy, (at this stage begin step 3) not mushy.

Transfer the mushrooms to the rice mixture.

Stir in the Parmesan cheese and cook briefly until melted.

Add 1 teaspoon of chipoltle puree, stir and taste. It should be nicely spiced with a hint of smokiness. You can add a little more if needed but be careful, when you begin to taste it stop. It gets warmer after a while.

Top with a drizzle of truffle oil and chopped parsley before serving.

Note: If you have a good mushroom broth, you can eliminate the dried mushroom step.


Step 3: Salmon and Crunchy Salmon Skin

6 Salmon Filets, 6-7 oz each cut from a single large piece of fish, reserve the skin





Heat a small fryer with oil to 350 degrees.

Season each piece of fish with the 3 spices and set aside.

Slice the Salmon skin across its width into strips about ¼ inch wide (don’t get too picky!).

Drop the strips into the fryer and fry until crisp, about 3 minutes.

Drain on paper towels, salt and pepper, and set aside. You can do this several hours ahead.

As the risotto nears completion, al dente in texture, heat some olive oil and a tablespoon of butter in a skillet until it just begins to smoke.

Place the salmon steaks in the pan and reduce the heat a touch to medium high.

When the salmon is nice and brown on one side flip it and continue to cook until medium rare or your desired temperature.

Let rest and quickly move to step 4.


Step 4: Deep Fried - Poached Eggs

1 cup Cracker meal or bread crumbs

1 cup crumbed parmesan cheese

½ cup panko



2 fresh eggs for egg wash


Preheat the fryer to 350 degrees. (Will still be hot from doing the salmon skin.)

Carefully remove the poached eggs from the ice, place on a paper towel to drain.

In a bowl combine the meal, Parmesan crumbles and panko. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a separate bowl whisk the two fresh eggs and make the egg wash.

Take each poached egg and carefully coat in the crumb mixture, remove and dip in the eggs and then back to recoat with the crumb mixture. Be gentle and don’t break the eggs.

Transfer the battered eggs to the fryer, leaving plenty of space between the eggs, and fry until brown and crunchy, about 45 seconds to one minute tops. Don’t leave in too long or the egg will cook through. They will brown quickly.


Step 5: Serving Instructions

On a serving plate, spoon some of the risotto, top with the sautéed salmon, place the crunchy egg on the top of the fish, drizzle with some of the crunchy salmon skin, garnish with a little chopped parsley and you have Saintsational Salmon!