By Sarah Leah Chase
(January 21, 2021) These days, I probably cook fresh salmon for family dinners, if not once a week, at least every 10 days. This was not always the case as high quality fresh salmon was not as easy to catch on the east coast until ethically farmed salmon from Norway and hand farmed Wester Ross salmon from the Scottish Highlands began to become readily available as credible options.
Back in 2001, prolific cookbook author James Peterson dedicated an entire book to cooking salmon. In “Simply Salmon” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), Peterson recalled his disappointment at trying to buy restaurant-quality fresh Atlantic salmon at the Fulton Fish Market in New York. City. At one point, an importer suggested that he try some salmon that was farmed in Norway.
It was a revelation, and Peterson reported: “The creature cost a little bit fortune when it was air freight packed in ice and was still a relatively rare commodity. But when I opened the Styrofoam box, I saw a beautiful fish, light silver with black clear eyes, still smooth from the sea and smelling like an immaculate beach. “
Pan-fried salmon with tomato vinaigrette
Ted Allen’s recipe first required to sauté the salmon in a frying pan with the meat side down. Since we love crispy salmon skin in my household, I burn the salmon with the skin side down before transferring it to the oven. I also used coarsely crushed cumin instead of the ground cumin required in the original recipe because the seeds give a much more vibrant cumin flavor.
1 pint grape or mixed baby heirloom tomatoes, halved
1 shallot, peeled and cut into thin slices
1 tablespoon broth-packed capers, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 center-cut, skin-on salmon fillets, 6 to 7 ounces each
1-1 / 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarsely crushed cumin seeds
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh sliced basil leaves
- Preheat oven to 400 F., convection setting, if available.
- In a small mixing bowl, mix the halved tomatoes, sliced shallots, capers and red wine vinegar together. Season with salt and pepper and set aside briefly. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper.
- Heat the rapeseed oil in an ovenproof medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the salmon fillets, skin side down, to the frying pan and fry until the skin is browned and crispy, about 3 minutes. Transfer the frying pan to the hot oven and fry until the salmon is cooked to your liking, about 6 to 7 minutes for fish that is almost but not completely cooked through in the middle. Transfer the salmon fillets to heated serving dishes.
- Add olive oil, cumin and tomato mixture to the pan, keeping in mind that the handle will still be very hot from the oven. Boil everything over medium heat, and scrape up all the browned pieces that stick to the bottom of the frying pan until the tomatoes just start to soften and collapse, about 2 minutes.
- Pour the tomato sauce over the salmon fillets and garnish with a sprinkle of parsley and basil. Serve immediately.
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