Salmon with lightly-fried Gluten-Free Falafel, Hummus/Tahini Sauce, Spinach, Pineapples and Rum-poached Dried Cherries
Falafel - Gluten-Free
2 cups dried chickpeas or canned (drain to dry)
1 shallot - finely diced
5 garlic cloves - smashed
1 Tbsp cumin seeds - toasted, then ground into powder (use herb grinder)
1 Tbsp coriander seeds - toasted, then ground into powder (use herb grinder)
1 Tbsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne/red pepper flakes
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cups of cilantro - leaves chopped
Sea salt - to taste
Liquid smoke - 2 tsp
If using dried, uncooked chickpeas, place all chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with water by 2 inches. Soak the beans for at least 18 hours (up to 24) - they will actually swell to three times the size. Drain and rinse. Place the beans in a food processor or Vitamix, then add the shallots, spices, lemon juice, liquid smoke, cilantro and salt. Pulse to a coarse grind (not smooth, but no whole chickpeas remaining). Taste and season further (may need to add more salt). Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator.
While the mixture is cooling, pout three inches of oil in a large, heavy pot, to 375 degrees F.
In order to make these gluten-free, purchase gluten-free Rice cereal. Place a few cups of cereal in a plastic bag and smash to a fine powder.
Roll the refrigerated falafel mixture into small balls - about ping-ping-sized (you may use a melon-baller or ice-cream scoop in order to ensure the balls are the same size). Roll in gluten-free smashed rice cereal, then carefully slip the balls into the hot oil - one at a time (be sure they do not stick to the bottom of the pan). Fry the little fritters, turning from time to time, until a dark golden brown crust forms. Remove the small falafel balls with a slotted spoon, then place on a paper towel in order to dry and absorb any excess oils.
Tahini Sauce - Gluten-Free
1/2 cup Tahini (sesame-seed paste)
1/2 cup 0% Greek Yogurt - plain
Juice of 1 lemon
3 garlic cloves
Pinch of paprika, cayenne pepper, turmeric, cumin and sea salt
If a smokey-flavor is desired, add a few teaspoons of liquid smoke
1 cup of cilantro leaves
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Optional - 1/4 cup roasted cashews
Simply combine all ingredients into a Vitamix/blender and pulse until a smooth puree. If you desire to have a slightly "nuttier" variation, then be sure to include the roasted cashews.
Spinach - quick saute in a nut oil (walnut/almond), and flavor with turmeric, smokey paprika, cajun seasoning and sea salt. Sprinkle with pine nuts when cooked.
Pineapple - leave as is... simply cut into bite-sized pieces
Dried Cherries - simply "rehydrate" with Bacardi 151-proof rum: be sure that the dried cherries are covered in rum and gently heat in a saucepan on the stovetop. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat - allow the cherries to absorb the rum (at least an hour).
Salmon - If the cut of fish is thin, you can simply sauté on the stove top, then serve. If it is a thick filet, then sauté on the stove top, then stick in a 400 degree oven to finish cooking-thru (ready when beginning to flake). Before sautéing, be sure to season both sides - a great combination includes: sea salt, lemon juice, dijon mustard, cayenne pepper, turmeric, dried shallots and a touch of liquid smoke. Drizzle with lemon juice before serving.
In terms of presentation - be creative! You have a plethora of ingredients to use: rather than leaving the salmon in a big filet, I cut it into three pieces - intention to make a "trail" of food on the plate. I first spooned a touch of the tahini sauce on the plate, then piled a few "nests" of spinach. A top of the spinach, I laid the salmon - spooning a touch of French whole-grain mustard on each piece of salmon. Strategically placed on the plate? Pineapple, rehydrated-cherry and lightly-fried falafel. A light sprinkle of turmeric added just a touch of color and artistic flare to the entire plate.
"The preparation of good food is merely another expression of art, one of the joys of civilized living." - Dione Lucas
Love y'all dearly!