Hey hey hey! How’s the day going? Thank you so much all of the sweet wishes about my nerve repair surgery. Everything went well and I’m on the mends! I took the day off yesterday to rest a bit but am back in the swing of things now. I also have a sweet splint on my hand, which makes me look pretty tough, like I punched through a window or something. 😉 P’s 6 month update is up on the family page. I still can’t believe she’s half a year old.
For today, let’s talk about my favorite fish!
Salmon was one of the first meals I cooked for the Pilot when we were dating (10 years ago!). I had just gotten off work and was on the way to grab groceries and cook dinner for us at my apartment. I called my Uncle Eric (<— chef and he always amazing ideas for meals and menus), to see what I should make. The menu: salmon (with a ginger, soy sauce and orange dressing), wasabi mashed potatoes, and roasted asparagus. It sounded fancy, but was still doable. This was key since I was very new to the cooking game.
His tips on cooking salmon:
-Go for the freshest you can find. Wild-caught is a sustainable option, with a vibrant red hue and rich taste. He said to take a good look at the fish and make sure it didn’t look slimy or bruised. Instead of overdressing it, let the flavors of the fish shine through.
-It’s all about the sear! The best way to cook salmon is to preheat the oven to 375, and preheat a large pan on high. Season the salmon well with salt and pepper, then add some oil to the pan. When the oil dances, place the salmon (skin side UP) on the pan. Let it sear (you should hear a sizzle, or the pan isn’t hot enough) for 30 seconds to 1 minute. When you transfer it to the baking dish, place it skin side DOWN so the lovely browned top is facing up. After that, bake for 10-12 minutes, until it flakes easily with a fork.
-If you can, let it marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. If you’re using a sauce, marinate it in a sealed baggie (in the fridge), and drizzle a little extra marinade on top before baking.
Last week, I received a request for some fish recipes, since it’s one of my favorite dishes to cook at home. Even so, we tend to get into fish ruts and rotate through the same recipes. We have salmon pretty much every week, and I’m always looking for some new flavor combos and recipe ideas to change it up. Here are some of my favorites for salmon:
1) BBQ. Season the salmon with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Pan-sear using the method above, and before baking, baste with your favorite BBQ sauce.
2) Pistachio-crusted. season the salmon well with salt, pepper and olive oil. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup crushed pistachios, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Gently coat the salmon with the mixture before baking.
3) Dill and lemon yogurt. Season the salmon well with salt and pepper, then pan-sear using the method above. In a small bowl, combine 1.2 cup plain yogurt with a heaping tablespoon of fresh chopped dill and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Stir in 1-2 minced garlic cloves. Before baking, spread the yogurt sauce on top. Garnish with lemon slices and fresh dill.
4) Lavender and honey. This one is unexpected and so delicious! The sweet honey is beautiful with the earthy lavender. Season the salmon with salt and pepper, the pan-sear using the method above. Drizzle the fillets with honey and top with pinches of dried lavender before baking.
5) Honey-Dijon. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and pan-sera using the method above. In a small bowl, combine equal parts (I use a heaping tablespoon each) honey, olive oil, and Dijon mustard. Season well with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Spread the sauce onto the filets before baking.
6) Blackened. Combine 1/2 teaspoon each of brown sugar, smoked paprika, oregano, garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin. Season well with salt and pepper before adding 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Rub onto the filets before pan-searing and baking.
7) Orange-maple-ginger-soy. In a large ziplock bag, add 1/4 cup Tamari or soy sauce, the zest, juice and slices of one orange. Add i/4 cup honey, 1 teaspoon of fresh minced ginger and 2 minced garlic cloves. Season well with salt and pepper. Place the salmon in the bag to marinate for a few hours or overnight in the fridge. When you’re ready to cook, pan-sear using the method above and top with the orange slices before baking.
8) Salmon with cranberry sauce. Recipe is here!
9) Straight up with lemon and garlic. Season the salmon with salt and pepper before pan-searing using the method above. Before baking, place fresh lemon slices on top.
10) Tacos! Use the blackened salmon (#6 above!) and serve in corn tortillas with shredded cabbage, salsa and a creamy cumin-lime sauce. Just combine plain yogurt with 1/2 teaspoon cumin, zest of 1/2 a lime and a squeeze of lime juice. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Are you a salmon fan? What’s your favorite recipe or flavor combo?
Have a great morning and I’ll see ya later today.