My most favorite way to take advantage of Pacific Northwest salmon season? See above: A full red-orange fillet showered with shallots, herbs and citrus zests, drizzled with olive oil and citrus juices, and roasted as low and as slow as you can bear.
The sweetness of the shallots and the orange and the aromatic herbs, which wilt but keep their flavor, are beautiful with the rich, mild fish. But it's the low-temperature cooking that's the star here. Cooking the fish in a gentle oven allows the fat to render slowly, which yields a staggeringly moist, tender result.
I'm partial to wild salmon cooked to medium/medium-well, which means it should be pulled from the oven soon after it begins to sweat its opaque white fat (pic above = raw; pic below = cooked).
**If you're lucky enough to get a sack of roe with your salmon, this is the technique I've used to salt-cure the eggs
Slow-Cooked Salmon with Citrus and Herbs
Makes 2 servings
1 large shallot, shaved on a mandoline or sliced as thinly as possible
Zest of 1 orange, plus a good squeeze of the juice
Zest of 1 lemon, plus a good squeeze of the juice
½ cup chopped basil, tarragon, oregano and/or dill
1 teaspoon honey (if your honey is thick, warm it in the oven or the microwave for a few seconds to liquefy it)
Salt & black pepper
Wild Pacific salmon fillet (King, if you can find it), enough for two people
Preheat the oven to 200 (or 220, if that’s as low as your oven goes). In a bowl, combine the olive oil, shallot, citrus zests and juices, herbs, honey, salt and pepper, and stir well. Place the salmon on a high-walled olive-oil-brushed baking sheet, skin-side down, and pour the dressing on top. Season with another sprinkle of salt and pepper. Place in the oven, on the middle rack, and roast for 30-45 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. It’s done when the filet has begun to ooze its opaque white fat, and the densest part of the fish pulls apart easily with a fork (When in doubt, don't overcook! If it's fantastic, fresh wild salmon, it's best cooked medium- to medium-well.). Serve with plenty of the topping ands spoonfuls of the pan juices.
*I could eat this three times a week during peak wild salmon season... but variety is the spice, I suppose, so last night's topping was sautéed ginger, onion and garlic, drizzled with plenty of olive oil and soy sauce, with dried red chiles and star anise tucked into the pan (and it was damn good).
What to do with the leftovers? How about...
Makes 4 appetizer-sized servings, or serves two for dinner with a big ol' salad on the side
Zest and juice of half a lemon (or more)
3 tablespoons minced dill (and/or tarragon and/or parsley)
1 large shallot, minced
1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
½ cup Greek yogurt, or a combination of Greek yogurt and sour cream
Salt & pepper
1 cup flaked cooked salmon
In a large bowl, combine everything but the salmon and season to taste. Stir in the salmon and mix well to combine. Season again with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon, if needed. And a drizzle of fruity olive oil would only improve the situation. Serve with crusty bread, toasted, and (ideally) rubbed with garlic cloves, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt.