Posts Tagged ‘Salmon’

3rd October
written by Loren

Lest I get a reputation on this site as someone who only cooks jazzed up bar food on game days, I thought this recipe would be a nice change of pace. This meal came about, like some of my best creations, on a complete whim. I was walking through the grocery store with a very specific shopping list, and ignoring it entirely as I bought whatever looked good. I got to the seafood counter and saw Wild Coho salmon for $11/lb. Normally I would think this was far too much to spend on part of a meal except for special occasions, but I had just been looking at the Alaskan Copper River salmon for $22/lb so at the time this seemed quite the bargain.

When it comes to salmon, I have never found a marinade that I particularly liked so my standard choice is to put a bit of a spice crust on it. In this case I put drizzled some olive oil over both sides of each filet (I bought a 1 lb section of fish and halved it), then sprinkled the flesh side with fresh cracked black pepper, kosher salt and Penzey’s Northwood seasoning. If you don’t currently own this spice, go buy it right now. Not only is it delicious, but it goes with anything from poultry to beef to potatoes or green beans. I would say it’s tied with Cavender’s Greek seasoning as my favorite spice mix, and that’s saying something. If you absolutely refuse to go buy it, you can approximate the same effect by mixing dried thyme, and rosemary with paprika, salt, pepper, ground chipotle powder and garlic powder. Put the spices on relatively thick if you like a nice spice crust the same as I do.

This is with just salt & pepper, prior to the rest of the dry rub

Preheat the oven to 400, and preheat a pan over medium heat with a small amount of vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the salmon, flesh side down, and leave it untouched for about 2 minutes until that side looks browned, then flip the skin side down. If you have a pan that you can put in the oven, throw it in right now. Otherwise, cook the fish for another 2 minutes before transferring it into the oven. The cooking time is going to depend on how thick or thin your fillets are and that does vary widely depending on what part of the side of salmon you were sold. It should be done in 10-20 minutes, so check frequently in that window. You’re looking for the flesh to be firm and opaque, and it should also flake cleanly with a fork. If you have an instant read meat thermometer, so much the better. In that case it’s done when it reaches 125 degrees in the thickest part of the fish.

Now don’t get me wrong, this will be delicious all by itself. But why not take it one step farther? That step is a garlic-dill compound butter.  Compound butters are an easy way to add another layer of flavor to cuts of meat and fish. Obviously butter is adding calories to the dish, but you also don’t need very much since it will be a concentrated flavor. I’d say it about equals out with other things you might add to a dish like a pan sauce. Take 4 ounces of room temperature butter, or spreadable butter, and add it to a bowl with

  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves of roasted garlic, minced and pasted
  • 1/3 tsp of minced dill fronds
  • salt and pepper to taste.

For the roasted garlic: throw the cloves, skin on, in a pan over medium heat. When the skin starts to get black and spotty on one side, flip them around. Take them out after all sides are done, then mince and paste the garlic before adding to the butter. Let the butter firm up in the fridge for 15 minutes or so. When the fish is hot out of the oven, scrape out some butter (however much you like) and let it melt over the fish. Then squeeze a bit of lemon or lime juice over the top and it’s ready to serve, in this case paired with a ceasar salad, topped with shredded pecorino-romano cheese – thanks for the suggestion Arty!