Monday dinner: Herb-crusted salmon with lemon-capers vinaigrette

I really don’t like salmon.

I don’t have anything against it personally, politically or on any sort of moral grounds. I’m not a big fan of the full fishy flavor that some enjoy. This is weird, because I don’t mind it in sushi, but when it comes to run of the mill evening dinners, it’s not a fan favorite. But, The Wife likes it and since she sucks it up on a lot of my kitchen experiments, salmon makes appearances around here during the summer when I can plank it and grill it or make a Wegmans salmon burger. I rarely cook it indoors, since the smell is tough to cut, and I almost always serve it with some sort of sauce I can smother it in (tzatziki is my go-to here.).

I came across this recipe a few weeks ago and thought this might be a nice summertime diversion from the normal fish swimming in cucumber sauce. Turns out that it was.

WHAT WORKED: The fresh herbs countered the fish flavor nicely. The vinaigrette was actually stood out here. Drizzled over the top before serving, the lemon and herbs complemented the salmon flavor nicely. I halved the recipe for our purposes and picked up two small filets, rather than a huge piece.

WHAT DIDN’T: The recipe itself. Nowhere in the original was there a note about how much lemon juice to use. I had to improvise with some bottled lemon juice since I built my grocery list based on the ingredients and didn’t buy any fresh fruit. Also, I’m not sure why we needed rock salt on the bottom of the baking pan.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Likely. This went together easily and is versatile enough to come out during the winter months.

Herb-crusted salmon with lemon-caper vinaigrette
Adapted by Rick Bakas

  • 1/2 cup rock salt (I used coarse kosher salt)
  • 1 lb. salmon with skin
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, thyme, and parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped basil
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp. capers, drained
  • 1 tsp. coarse-ground dijon mustard
  • 1/4 thin-slicked red onion

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread rock salt over bottom of baking sheet. Place salmon skin-down on top of rock salt, sprinkle salmon with salt, pepper and freshly chopped herbs. Bake 35-45 mins.

Whisk together olive oil, dijon mustard, capers, salt, pepper, 1/4 cup basil and red onion. Take salmon out of the oven, remove the skin and cut into equal portions. Serve with vinaigrette, on top or on side.

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4 thoughts on “Monday dinner: Herb-crusted salmon with lemon-capers vinaigrette”

  1. Thanks for taking the recipe for a spin, Jared. My wife can’t stand salmon so we make this for the same reason. As a side note, the rock salt isn’t really necessary. It’s only there to help keep the salmon moist during cooking. But there are other methods to accomplishing the same thing—like putting a thin sheet of white wine in the baking sheet instead.

    Also, some places like Whole Foods will remove the skin for you when you buy the salmon. As you pointed out, you don’t need a whole piece but can do individual sized cuts.

    Did you have any favorite wines with it?

  2. Ah, Whole Foods. They haven’t come to Central New York yet. My local Wegmans doesn’t get how to remove the skin gently, mangling the fish when asked.

    In terms of wine, our standby white here is Salmon Run Semi-Dry Riesling made by New York vineyard Dr. Konstantin Frank. I’m more likely to drink this with an ale that can stand up against the fish flavor.

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