Salmon & Aspargus Hash . $4.35

Sometimes I’m possessed by food jealousy – I think it might happen to a lot of people who are on a budget. They hear about a friend’s restaurant dinner, see a gorgeous meal in a magazine, or maybe they watch Tyler Florence…Darn you, Tyler! Darn you and your belly of fresh Atlantic salmon…

Salmon & Asparagus Hash with Poached Egg & Hollandaise Sauce
Salmon & Asparagus Hash with Poached Egg & Hollandaise Sauce

OK, Ms. Frau, I tell myself, take a deep breath…follow your Strategies. So maybe I can’t financially justify the meal that Tyler Florence made, but I can make a few compromises. Salmon can become a key note in the symphony of flavors instead of the main player. Potatoes are inexpensive, as are eggs, and I could used the more seasonal sale priced Asparagus instead of the very expensive (this time of year) Red Bell Peppers…

The result? Spectacular. Simple ingredients transformed. Sometimes the sum truly is more than it’s parts…

There are multiple steps to this recipe, so plan accordingly. Here’s a few suggestions to make this brunch easy. Links are below, to, for how tos.

  • Salmon can be served for a meal, a day or two before, and a portion set aside for this recipe. (This also follows my budgeting Strategy of using a main protein more than once – one meal will be more expensive, the other less so. The cost in then averaged – see more on this under Strategies, below.)
  • The eggs can be poached and held in water, or even under poached a bit the evening before and reheated for a quick moment in simmering water.
  • The potatoes for the hash should be precooked, anyway, so they can be done several days ahead, and why not serve potatoes in a meal earlier in the week and save a few for this recipe?
  • The asparagus could be sauteed with the hash, but I prefer to cook them in the microwave and add into the hash as they remain so beautiful that way – why not cook it the night before, plunge it into cold water, refrigerate and reheat in the hash? Even better, serve Asparagus the night before, leaving some aside for this recipe.
  • The hollandaise may be made a bit ahead and kept warm.

Salmon and Asparagus Hash with Poached Egg and Hollandaise, 4 servings

For the Salmon:

  • 5 to 8 ounces of Salmon (could be trimmings or frozen portions)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place salmon, skin-side down, as close together as possible. Drizzle salmon with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place into the oven and bake until just done, timing varied depending on how thick the salmon is, from a few minutes and up to 15 or 20 for a thick filet. Salmon should be just flaky, but holding together well – the point is to have visible chunks, not shreds in the hash. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest while you proceed.

For the Asparagus:

  • 1/2 bundle of Asparagus, about 6 to 8 ounces.

The asparagus may  be added directly to the hash, the tougher ends added with the potatoes and onion, the tops added just a few moments before the potatoes are done. Alternatively, them may be placed in the microwave and cooked according to these directions, sliced and added at the end with the Salmon.

For the Hash:

  • About 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 russet potatoes, boiled or baked, about 5 ounces each, cut into large dice, about 3/4 inch across
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 5 to 6 ounces of asparagus, a little less than half a bundle, cooked in microwave, sliced diagonally
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon dried tarragon
  • Fresh chives or the green part of a green onion, to taste, chopped with a few whole for garnish
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Add potatoes and onions, stirring now and then until browned. This is really a shallow – fry, and excess oil will be drained off. When nearly done, add the minced garlic and the tarragon, and cook for a moment longer. Tilt the skillet and remove excess oil. Add the chives or green onion, as much as desired, leave a few for garnish. Stir in the cayenne pepper.

(note: Asparagus may be cooked directly in the hash, the tough ends added at the same time as the potatoes, the tips added a few moments before done.)

Poached Eggs:

4 eggs and a little vinegar: See recipe for Poached Eggs in the Microwave.

For the Hollandaise:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 or 4 drops of hot sauce or a pinch of cayenne
  • 1 stick, 8 tablespoons of butter, melted and hot

See recipe for Hollandaise Sauce for full information on making this simple blender sauce.

Melt butter. In a blender, add egg yolks, mustard, lemon and hot sauce and blend on medium speed until yolks are lightened in color. Turn speed to high and slowly add butter until sauce is thickened.

You can place this in a thermos that has been warmed with hot water if you’d like to make it and set it aside while you’re poaching your eggs and sautéing your vegetables, or perhaps wrap it in a kitchen towel and keep it in a warm place.

To Put Together:

At the last minute, so potatoes don’t get soggy, gently fold in the asparagus mixture to the potatoes. Using 2 forks, flake the salmon, removing it in chunks from the skin, and fold into the potatoes. Place the salmon-potato hash on serving plates or serving platter and top with the eggs. Pour Hollandaise sauce over the eggs and garnish with chives or green onion. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Expect some left over Hollandaise – use it on the Asparagus you didn’t cook up.

RAW EGG WARNING: This recipe contains under cooked egg – Use caution in consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs due to the slight risk of Salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my Strategies – You’ll see them all explained on the upper left tab of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read below for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.

Strategies Applied, meal 1

  • Salmon: Really budget shop for your fish. My Salmon was bought for $4.99 a pound during Lent, but sometimes frozen fillets can be bought with a coupon. By taking the best of the Salmon, I was able to cut 4 small fillets and trim them to about 3 ounces and use the less desirable parts to make this meal. The piece of Salmon I was working with was about 1.2 pounds, the fillets came to 12 ounces and I had five ounces left over for hash. Cost, about $1.56.
  • Believe me, no one starves at my house, and I know I reveal just how cheap I am, but it is a strategy that works and allows me to eat “above budget.” I also serve plenty of healthy vegetables and sides. You might recognize this same strategy used in my Corned Beef Dinner post. This, basically, is how I saw my Grandmother cook back in the day, and my Mother. Sunday dinner was special, but then multiple spin offs came from it. There are no “I don’t like left overs” people at my house, and if there were, they’d be offered a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that they could get up from the table to make.
  • Olive Oil: I have a little strategy for buying olive oil – using coupons and sales to lower the price, so click on the link. I think it’s important to use olive oil as opposed to many others – the health benefits outweigh a bit more extra cost, and it can be had at a very reasonable price. I also like the fact that Olive oil contains no hidden trans fats like Canola or Vegetable oil. Cost for this recipe: 32 cents. I would have no problem putting the removed olive oil in a small cup and reusing it again, but that’s just me…and only if it were very soon.
  • Garlic:  I look for a price of about $2.99 a pound, or about 54 cents a head. Check the pricing of the bulk per pound as opposed to the packaged. I never really find it on sale, but I use so much, I pay attention and buy a bit more when I see the price is lower.  Cost, about 2 cents.
  • Onions: They keep well, so try to buy on sale. Aldi’s is a good place to find reasonably priced onions. Always less expensive in the fall/winter months, the pricing in my area runs from 33 to 66 cents a pound. Store them in a dark, cool place but not near potatoes. If you’ve bought too many onions, don’t let them go bad.Slice or dice them, saute and portion into ziplocs labeled “onions” and freeze. You’ve just saved yourself a step for next time you make a dish. If you have enough, consider making French Onion Soup. If you use half an onion, consider if you can sauté the rest and put it in a Ziploc in the freezer. If not store in the door where you’ll see it when you’re cooking next. Half an onion (at about 50 cents a pound) is 8 cents.
  • Potatoes: Potatoes are dirt cheap – look for a great sales price of $1.99 for 10 pounds in the fall and winter; regular sales price is $1.99 for five pounds in my area. Store in a cool dry area, not near your onions – I like to store in a loosely closed paper bag.Don’t know what to do with a large bag? Make what recipes you’d like to, then make Freezer Twice Baked Potatoes with the rest. I often pick out the smaller, misshaped potatoes for mashing and save the more regular sized ones for baking or other recipes. Cost for this recipe, at 26 cents a pound St. Patrick’s Day special: 26 cents.
  • Green Onion: I try to buy on sale for about 50 cents a bunch (usually during Holidays) then put the white tips in a jar of water in a sunny window to regrow. Kids love taking ownership of the project. I only need to replenish every few months. Cost is so minimal that I don’t even count it.
  • Asparagus: On sale in our area, very seldom for 99 cents a bunch, $1.99 a bunch is a good sales price. In the spring we’ll see it now and then for $1.49 a pound. I love asparagus and try to think of ways to use it when it’s in season and the prices are low. This is a vegetable I can’t deal with frozen. You’ll want to be aware of the size of the bunch – some stores portion it in 12 ounces and some 16 ounces.To remove tough ends, slide one out of the rubber band, and snap it, holding it at the ends – It will break in just the right place. Line that stalk up with the rest of the asparagus that is still banded cut through them all at once. The stalks take longer to cook than the ends, so sliding a band up to keep the tips together saves you a bit of time. I don’t waste the ends – they go in my morning smoothie or a stock. $1.89 on special, I used half a pound, 95 cents.
  • Eggs: Stock up on eggs when they’re inexpensive, normally during Holiday weeks. Low prices in my area range from free (often with other purchases) to anywhere from 50 to 88 cents. They last for weeks in the fridge – The date on the container is a ‘buy’ date, and you can expect them to last a good six weeks past that date. If you pick up two or three packages when they’re at their low, you’ll rarely need to pay full price.Refrigerate right away and never store in the door; eggs keep best in a colder part of the refrigerator, in their own box. (Then put your partially used vegetables in the door where you’ll see them and remember they need to be used ASAP – the half a bell pepper or onion, etc.)  In doubt about an egg? If it floats in water, discard, just to be on the safe side. Cost for 7 at 89 cents a dozen? about 52 cents.
  • Butter:  A bit of a splurge, cost and calorie wise – but for taste and health, I’d rather use real butter than trans fat laden margarine or oils. Yes – they do have trans fat, even if the label says they don’t. Harvard, for instance, says unequivocally: The key to a healthy diet is to substitute good fats for bad fats and to avoid trans fat.” While butter isn’t a healthy fat, many feel that trans fat is worse than saturated.Buy on deep specials, often around the holidays with store coupons. I shoot for $2.50 a pound and freeze, where it stays fine for months. Cost for this recipe: 1/2 cup, a stick, 63 cents.

Recipe originally made in 2011 for $5.01 – better shopping skills brought this in during March of 2014 for $4.35. Primarily, I learned better how to take advantage of the cyclic sales discussed in my 12 Strategies. The Salmon was bought during Lent, and I rarely pay full price for eggs, the Asparagus was in season and other vegetables were bought on deep sales and stored well.

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