July is Stephanie from OrangeSpoken's turn to pick the Gutsy Cooks' menus. I missed her first recipe--an heirloom Spanish crepe recipe--which sounded great, so I was determined not to miss the second.
I was kind of the opposite of "gutsy" this week, though. I didn't have a cedar plank, so I just grilled the salmon. I thought I'd buy a plank if I ran into one, but I must have been moving in the wrong circles, since I never came even close. As I started to write this, though, I thought, "I bet I could have ordered one on Amazon!" Sure enough, amazon.com has about a kazillion different cedar planks, and I could easily have ordered one. But I didn't. And at least I didn't burn my house down with a dry cedar plank in the grill.
Everything else, I made mostly according to Hoyle.
I had high hopes for the zucchini fritters--I liked all the ingredients; they looked easy to make; and isn't everything better fried? But these fritters aren't really fried; they're sauteed in a tablespoon of butter (for which I substituted olive oil). Aren't "fritters" by definition deep-fried? But honestly, I wouldn't have bothered making them if I'd had to deep-fry them, so just as well. I think they would have been good if they'd been served immediately. But I put them in the oven while I grilled the salmon. (In my defense, the recipe instructs you to keep them warm while you make the next batch, and the salmon took only about 6 minutes to grill.) But the fritters had definitely lost their crisp pizzazz by the time I came inside with the salmon. They were okay, but they no longer had their reason for being.
It was the salmon rub that I was really disappointed with. It had an interesting combination of ingredients, but it turned out to be too sweet for my taste, and the celery seed tasted bitter, unpleasant, and weird. I finally scraped off as much of the rub as I could to make the salmon edible. Without the celery seed, I think it would have been pretty good, although still a little too sweet.
The fritters are served with a "tzatziki," although I thought tzatziki always had cucumbers in it. And, according to Wikipedia, it does. And I guess if I felt so strongly about it, I could have added cucumbers, but apparently I missed that when I was making out my grocery list. Even without the cucumbers, the tzatziki was tangy and refreshing, with its fresh mint and onion--I added chives too. But next time I'd put the cucumber back in tzatziki.
Jim: "I give the white sauce [tzatziki] a 9, the salmon an 8 or 8 1/2, and the zucchini things a 7 1/2 or 8." Apparently he wasn't bothered by the lack of cucumbers. Or the celery seed.
Me: "I'd give the whole meal a 4, mostly because the celery seeds made the salmon nearly inedible for me. I think you could play around with the rub (or, easier, just buy a good one). I'd like to try the fritters again, but I'd eat them immediately and not try to hold them. I'd put cucumber in the tzatziki, although it definitely wasn't awful without it."