When I think of salmon, I don't immediately think of fish. I think of a great river, cascading over the rocks and churning itself into foam. These salmon travel over these rivers each year to return to their homes, where they lay their eggs. However, to navigate over the rocks and such, they have to 'jump' out of the water, which leads to some stunning images. Many times, bears will stand on the sides of the river and catch the fish in their teeth. So, whenever I eat salmon, I imagine myself as a bear eating the freshest fish around.
There is a large body of evidence that suggests a fish-heavy diet is actually a very healthy diet, aside from being aesthetically pleasing. Fish is overall healthier than red meat, especially if the fish is sustainably sourced and made properly. Salmon specifically has a lot of protein and lots of omega-3 fatty acids, two things that should be enough to put it on any health-concerned foodie
’s radar. This is also true of most oily fish (such as....) Even if you don’t have the time to cook a piece of salmon, there are other ways to enjoy these benefits. You can eat salmon raw (salmon tartare or sashimi) or eat it smoked with some olive oil and capers. Lox, a brunch snack, involves smoked salmon and cream cheese eaten in a bagel. If you have not tried it, I would highly recommend it.
But on to today’s special dish. This particular preparation of salmon had a lemony, tangy sauce on it when it was cooked. It provided a great complement to the distinctive taste of salmon, which is why lemon butter is a known salmon accompaniment. However, the taste of the fish demands some starch to accompany it. So, a quick garlic mash balances out the meal quite well, both in regards to the overall flavour composition and health-wise, getting some starch with the fish. And, in regards to vegetables, we decided to prepare some zucchini. Slicing the zucchini and adding liberal amounts of salt and pepper turns it into a finger-licking side snack that augments the overall feel of the dish. Eating this delicious and easy salmon with all the accompaniments felt like a real homecoming, something we all need during our time in quarantine.
1 Salmon filet (skin on)
¾ tsp salt
1 ½ tbsp paprika
1 ½ tbsp Pepper
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
7 cloves garlic, skinned and finely chopped/crushed
Generous pinch of chives (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon Butter Sauce
1 lemon worth of lemon juice
8 tablespoon butter
½ cup white cooking wine
3 cloves minced/crushed garlic
note: Wash fish, salmon, and zucchini before cooking!!!
Potatoes: Slit the potato skins, and place into a pot of boiling water over high heat. This will take the longest time, so put them in right at the start.
Salmon: Cut the salmon filet into 4-5 pieces depending on how big the filet is. Mix paprika, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Season the non-skin side of the salmon with half of the spice mixture. Leave for 5 minutes to help the seasoning set into the salmon.
Zucchini: Cut the zucchini into ¼ inch thick cut rounds, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Salmon: Heat up a frying pan on high heat, put 2 tbsp oil in the pan and let heat up. Put the salmon into the pan skin side down. Cook for about 2 minutes or until skin crisp, and browned but not burnt.
Salmon: Flip the salmon over carefully, and with a fork and knife, peel off the skin and discard. If done gently, it will come off in one piece. Season the removed skin side with the remaining spice mixture. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until the salmon pulls apart easily. Then flip again to the side that used to have skin for about one minute with a cover, or until the whole salmon pulls apart easily. Set salmon aside and start zucchini.
Zucchini: Put zucchini into a wok with about 3 tbsp of olive oiil on high heat. Season with saly and pepper. Cook until desired softness, about 7-8 minutes depending on thickness. It should be soft, but maintain its form and not be mushy.
Potatoes: Take out the potatoes when boiled. Peel and throw away skins (be careful, they will be very hot!). Put the potatoes into a large bowl, and mash, using a masher or a fork. Continue mashing until slightly lumpy but mostly mashed.
Potatoes: Now pour the cup of heavy cream into the mashed potatoes and mix it in. Then add the garlic, chives, salt and pepper to taste. Mix until combined and creamy. Do not over mash or it won't have a nice texture. Set aside.
Sauce: For the lemon butter sauce, combine 7 tbsp butter, 3 cloves minced/crushed garlic, the ½ cup of white wine, and the lemon and cook on medium heat for 7 minutes or so, until the alcohol is boiled off. Finish with the last tbsp of butter, and remove from the heat.
note: The last tbsp of butter should be almost melted when you remove the sauce from the heat, and the carryover heat should melt it nicely.
Serve your plate by putting the zucchini on one side of the plate, in a neat portion. Follow this by a spoonful of mashed potatoes in the middle of the plate. Now put the salmon on top of the mashed potatoes. For the final step, generously drizzle the lemon butter sauce over the salmon.
There you have it, an amazing plate of seared salmon on top of a rich garlic mash, with a side of delicious zucchini finished with a generous drizzle of lemon butter sauce.