Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Herbed Wild Salmon

Christopher cooked some king salmon we got at the Lobster Place Seafood Market in Chelsea Market when we were visiting him in Brooklyn a few weeks ago. He used the Red Miso Sauce recipe which he had previously shared with me. The salmon was awesome but still I decided I wanted to explore other ways to cook this fish while it is still in season. This recipe is loosely adapted from Cory Schreiber's  Wildwood:Cooking from the Source in the Pacific Northwest, a cookbook Alexandra gave me shortly after she moved to Portland. My version has been modified to reflect ingredients I had on hand when I found the recipe and personal preferences.

The author writes, "When a salmon fillet is properly cooked, you'll find that it flakes off the skin with relative ease. Baking the fish on rock salt tempers and distributes the heat, resulting in moist evenly cooked flesh."

Serves 2 - 3

Prepare the vinaigrette my version followsWildwood recipe below*, by whisking together:

1 T olive oil
1 T tarragon vinegar
1/2 t Dijon mustard (or Ducktrap River Mustard Dill Sauce)
1/2 medium red onion (or equal amount of sweet white onion), thinly sliced
1/2 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced (optional)
1 t capers, drained
1 t chopped fresh fennel weed
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Cover and refrigerate if not using within the next few hours. Can be made up to two days ahead, but I serve at room-temperature.


1 pound wild salmon

remove pin bones, leave skin intact. Rub with:

1 T minced mixed fennel weed, sage and thyme (Wildwood uses 2 T of mixed minced fresh herbs such as tarragon, basil, flat-leafed parsley and thyme  for 4 pounds of fillet)

1 1/2 t fennel seeds cracked **
Salt (or to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)

If not cooking immediately, cover and refrigerate.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Cover a roasting pan large enough to accommodate the fish with aluminum foil turning up the edges slightly. Cover the surface of the foil with

Rock or kosher salt

Place the salmon, skin side down on the salt.

Bake in the oven until opaque on the outside and slightly translucent in the center. Wildwood says 35 to 45 minutes for 4 pounds of fish; I cooked 20-25 minutes (convection oven) for one pound of fish. Time will vary according to the thickness of the piece too. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes (the salmon will continue to cook).

To serve use a wide spatula to remove the salmon from the salt. Remove the skin and portion the salmon onto plates or a large warm serving platter. Spoon the red onion-caper vinaigrette over and serve or serve sauce on the side - especially with the more delicate king salmon.

Author's note: "Though the salt on which the salmon is baked will absorb juices from the fish, there's no reason to throw it out. Instead set it aside for use the next time you prepare this dish or one similar to it."***

I served this for Ed's Birthday dinner - 1 June 2010 (photo below).

 (for 2 pounds of salmon/8 servings as an entrĂ©e):

1 c olive oil
1/4 c sherry vinegar
1 t Dijon mustard
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 t capers, drained
1 t chopped fresh basil
1 t salt
3/4 t freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Put the desired amount of seeds in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan. Toast in the oven for 10 minutes, or until they begin to darken in color, occasionally shaking the pan so the seeds will toast evenly. Remove the seeds from the oven and pour them onto a cool pan.

To crack the seeds, use a large knife; with the wide side of the blade, press down on the seeds.

*** Wildwood Cooking from the Source in the Pacific Northwest, page 13.

Reviewed 5/22/2017

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