ROASTED SALMON


Sometimes when you have a nice thick pieces of fish, all it needs is a little unfiltered Spanish extra virgin olive oil and low cooking temperatures. Slow cooking or slow frying is a dead-simple technique to cook, any sort of fish, right to the starting point of flakiness.

My hubby got these gorgeous pieces of wild-caught Salmon from nearby Whole Foods MarketThe fish was of such brilliant and pristine quality that I was not in a situation to experiment lest I waste it in mistakes. So I followed the mantra of the simpler and slower, the better. Less ingredients and slow roasting will do complete justice with these beautiful pieces of Salmon, somehow I was so very sure of this.




Which oil for Roasting Salmon? 
I always use Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Olive Oil for almost all my dishes. Over and over and over I read about how good or bad it is to fry or cook with olive oil. In spite of all the misleading information about olive oil in the media, I prefer EVOO over any other canola or vegetable oil. What I believe is that unless you are doing industrial deep frying, you will never reach the smoke point on your home stove-top. That's the layman knowledge I gathered from some really good and informative blogs. You can read more at - The science of cooking with olive oil {Also, I love the enhanced flavor my fish attains after getting cooked in EVOO.}

What should be the oven temperature for the perfectly cooked Salmon?
Salmon is also well-suited to many of the cooking methods, from grilling to poaching, broiling, pan-seared, and even deep frying. Being married to a Bengali, {the fact remains a fish cannot survive without water and Bengalis cannot survive without fish,} I have tried almost all the above methods of cooking Salmon. After experimenting many a times with these beautiful species, I finally resided on the method of slow cooking, cooking on low temperature {275° F} to maintain its original sweet flavor and velvety texture.

How much should be the cooking time?
Cooking time of Salmon fish depends on the thickness of the steak. It usually varies between 20-30 minutes, with skin side down, at no more than 275° F. For very thin fillets of Salmon, 15 minutes @ 275° F will be perfect. Keep on increasing the time duration according to the thickness for the perfect tender and evenly cooked Salmon.  
{Very similar to Bengali fishes like Rohu and Ilish. Frying less and on low heat makes the crispy outside and super-moist inside. My Mum-in-Law even adds raw pieces of marinated Ilish(Hilsa) fish to the authentic Bong Fish Curry}

How to punch up the flavor of Roasted Salmon?
Baked salmon is great, but what else could we add to this recipe to make it a little more exciting, while still keeping the prep time short. A quick sauce preparation using Dijon mustard with EVOO and a little honey will make all the difference. A slight glaze of this sauce on the salmon seems to make the perfect symphony.

What should we serve with Roasted Salmon? 
I wanted my beautiful thick Salmon steak to take the center stage. To make it a complete meal, I decided to serve it on a bed of tangy mixed bean salad tossed in olive oil and red wine vinegar. Though I was not sure to serve bean salad along with Salmon, but surpassing all my expectations, it turned out to be a great companion to the fish. Roasted Greens or garlicky mashed potatoes can also be great accompaniments to this sweet 'n' fatty fish.




ROASTED SALMON

SERVES 2
INGREDIENTs


2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil



1 pound thick salmon fillet, or other fish like striped bass or cod


Pink/Kosher salt

Black Pepper

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Fresh minced Garlic(optional)




Preheat the oven to 275° F. Brush a baking dish lightly with a teaspoon of olive oil.



In a small bowl, mix the remaining olive oil with honey and Dijon mustard


Arrange the fish fillet(s) skin side-down in the pan. Rub the top with the prepared dressing. Sprinkle lightly with pink salt.

Roast for 15 to 35 minutes, until a two-pronged kitchen fork inserted in the thickest part of the fish meets with no resistance, the flesh separates easily from the skin, and is just beginning to flake when you poke into it.

Serve warm or at room temperature atop salad or mashed potatoes.


MIXED BEAN SALAD

SERVES 2
INGREDIENTS

1/4 can Black beans (or 1/2-cup cooked)
1/4 can Pinto beans (or 1/2-cup cooked)
1/4 can Garbanzo beans (or 1/2-cup cooked)
1/4 can Red kidney beans (or 1/2-cup cooked)
1 medium Red onion, chopped fine; 1/2 cup Frozen Sweet Green Peas
1 small Tomato, chopped fine
1/2 pound Asparagus, trimmed and halved
2 Carrots, grated or finely chopped; I cut them in thin strips of half moon
1/2 cup fresh chopped Cilantro (or parsley); can use less or more to taste, I prefer lots of cilantro
1 bunch Green onions, chopped
2 stalks Celery, finely chopped
1 Green Chili, finely chopped

FOR DRESSING

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2-4 cloves garlic, minced (I use a lot of garlic, me garlicky)
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. salt


Drain & rinse beans in colander.

Boil asparagus in a large pot of salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with ice cold water.

In an extra large bowl, combine all chopped/fresh ingredients and beans.

Mix dressing in a separate bowl, and pour over bean/veggie mix, stirring well to coat evenly with dressing.

Refrigerate few hours before serving.

Anshu Bhatnagar

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