Thursday, August 13, 2009

Salmon with Korma Sauce

My wife loves salmon, and over the course of the coming year, you're going to see a lot of it. I'm not as big a fan of salmon, but I'll eat it, particularly smothered in korma sauce.

BTW, I love these photos. I think they are some of my best yet... so enjoy!!

Salmon with Korma Sauce

The Food

A few years ago when we didn't have any Indian restaurants here in town we would make special trips out of town just for a taste of Lamb Korma, Tandoori Chicken, Baigan Bharta or a Mango Lassi. Then, unexpectedly, I found out that I would be attending a class in Yuba City every Tuesday - a town with an Indian restaurant - that's how our Indian food Tuesdays began.

During the break period of each class I'd pull the restaurant menu out of my purse and call in an order. Once I'd picked up the food I had an hour drive home with the incredible aroma of keema naan, curry, samosas and tandoori filling up my car. I had a hard time not digging into the food as I drove. Once home, we would rip into the various take-out boxes and bags and gorge ourselves. Finishing the class was bittersweet- no more Tuesday night Indian food runs. I had to find a new way to provide our Indian food fix. Home cooking became the answer.

Salmon Korma isn't strictly Indian but I like the flavors of the mild baked salmon and varied vegetables with the thick slightly sweet and tangy Korma sauce. I also make this dish with chicken or lamb - whatever we have on hand. I rubbed the salmon with a mix of garam masala, turmeric, red pepper and ground coriander and sprinkled some EVOO over the top before baking. The veggies were stir fried and the rice was flavored with crushed coriander,and pink and green peppercorns. In all honesty I don't make my own Korma sauce but I usually jazz it up a little by adding more ginger, a fresh bay leaf or more coriander, etc. and sometimes I let the meat and veggies simmer a while in the sauce. A dollop of Greek yogurt can be added at plating or added to the simmering sauce towards the end of cooking. Naan is a good accompaniment to the Korma dish. (Trader Joes sells a decent packaged naan, we've found that the Masala Tandoori Naan has the most flavor.)

The Photography

For this shoot I really wanted to try something different; something that would set off the food. The big thing these days is high key images of food on white plates on white table cloths, flooded with light. It makes the food seem to float in the air. That's great, and I'm a fan of that style.

But for this shoot I decided to go the opposite direction, with a black plate on a black background with silver utensils. I thought the darkness would effectively isolate the food as the center of interest, and I was right.

I loved every single shot from this shoot, and had a very difficult time selecting the best photos.

I loved the reflections that the plate gave, and the velvety feel of the dark plate and cloth.

Salmon with Korma Sauce

I could have shot this all day, but it was cold enough as it was by the time I got to eat it.

Salmon with Korma Sauce

Isn't that a beautiful plate? Unfortunately, Jhan cracked it while washing it after dinner, and we had to throw it out! But I will be actively trying to replace it, so hopefully, we'll see more shots like this as we go on.

The Lighting

Salmon with Korma Sauce Lighting
This was my first shoot with my new 40x60 inch reflector. I put the Vivitar 285 and the Canon 430EX behind the large reflector and pointed the 580Ex at the wall behind the plate. This is darn good general lighting and works well for low key lighting like this as well as high key lighting (as we'll see in a few posts).

Lessons Learned
  1. High key lighting isn't the only way to go.
  2. Black plates and backgrounds can really accentuate the food
  3. Plate reflections can be important
  4. You need to be very careful washing the dishes

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