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Cooking Slow

Cooking Slow
Recipes for Slowing Down and Cooking More
by Andrew Schloss
Chronicle Books, 2013

It may seem counter-intuitive, but cooking slowly can actually be less time-consuming than actively frying or grilling or even baking. A roast or casserole can be prepped in a few minutes in the morning, allowed to slow-cook for hours, and then served up for dinner in seconds with little fuss. 
Cooking Slow

Because there are many cookbooks with recipes for slow cooker appliances, this one emphasizes other methods of slow cooking like stovetop or oven baking, simmering, grilling and roasting as well as cooking with sous vide machines recently manufactured for home kitchens.

"The biggest difference between slow cooking in a slow cooker and any other piece of cooking equipment is water," author Andrew Schloss points out. "There is much less evaporation from a slow cooker than there is from a saucepan or a skillet simmering on a stove top.

"This closed moisture system ensures that the heat in the cooker remains constant and the ingredients stay moist, one of the great advantages of cooking in a slow cooker. But it is not faultless and can be challenging to get perfect results, as preserving moisture inhibits flavors from concentrating."

The chapters in this cookbook, consequently, are divided by slow cooking method: roasting, baking, simmering, steaming, grilling, frying, slow cookers, and sous vide. There's also a chapter on slow cooked desserts and some introductory advice on equipment.

Illustrated with full-page color photographs of completed dishes by Alan Benson,
this collection of 94 recipes will appeal to cooks at all skill levels. 
Recipe: Salmon with Spiced Red Lentils and Bacon

This is a heady, aromatic, elegant one-pot meal. A rainbow of spices elevates this homey dish to a sure thing for a splash at a dinner party—and stirring them together may be the most labor-intensive part of the simple slow-cooking method.


For the spice rub
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1 1/2 pounds/680g farm-raised salmon fillet, in 1 large piece about
1 1/2 inch/4 cm thick, skin removed
2 bacon strips
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup/180g red lentils
1/2 cup/120 ml canned diced tomatoes, with juice
2 cups/480 ml good-quality low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1. To make the spice rub: In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients.

2. Rub 2 teaspoons of the mixture into the flesh of the salmon fillet; set aside for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°F/95°C.

3. In a large cast-iron skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp and the bottom of the pan is coated with the rendered fat, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain, then cut into small pieces.

photo © 2013 Alan Benson

4. Put the skillet over high heat. When the fat is hot, gently put the salmon in the pan, pinker-side down. (One side of a salmon fillet will be bright pink and the other side will have a strip of dark flesh running down the center. The bright pink side is the one you want to brown.) Sear until nicely browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Using two large spatulas, carefully transfer the salmon to a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, browned-side up.

5. Add the onion to the fat in the pan and sauté over medium-high heat until translucent, about two minutes. Add the garlic and the remaining spice blend and stir until aromatic, about 20 seconds. Stir in the lentils, tomatoes with their juice, and broth and simmer for 10 minutes.

6. Using the foil as a kind of large spatula, carefully slide the salmon onto the lentils. Cover the skillet with a lid or a clean sheet of heavy foil and bake until the thickest part of the fish flakes to gentle pressure and the lentils are tender, about 1 hour.

7. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and slip onto a large platter or serve directly from the pan.

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