I was a little bit nervous about having salmon on the menu for the shower. I knew there were several devout fish haters coming, but I also made a big pasta salad so they could fill up on that. Luckily, nearly all of them ended up trying the salmon and claimed to enjoy it. They’re friends who normally voice their true opinions, so I am inclined to believe them!
The most difficult part of this recipe was cutting the salmon into individual portions. A very sharp pair of scissors eases the job, but cutting through flesh of any kind is rather unappetizing. I poached the salmon the night before the party and was grateful for the cooling off period between cutting through skin to eating the finished process. I’m a pretty tough cook, but any kind of butchering still makes me feel a little icky.
Hmm, I’m not selling this recipe very well, am I?? Nevermind the paragraph before, you’re going to love this. You could just poach the fillet whole and slice it when serving and avoid the ick factor.
You may wonder why I’m using the term ‘poach’ even though the salmon is cooked in the oven. Technically, poaching is a cooking method where the food is completely submerged in simmering water or wine until cooked through. I suppose my technique would be a form of steaming, but who wants to eat ‘steamed salmon’? Sounds like that should be followed by ‘wheat grass shooters and colonics at 8!’
I bought a prepared mustard aoili sauce from Trader Joe’s to serve with the salmon. The salmon is prepared so simply nearly any sauce would complement the fish. Some lemon or dill mayonnaise would be terrific or maybe an Asian inspired dipping sauce full of soy, garlic, and cilantro. Uh, can you say yum?
2 lemons, thinly sliced
2-1/2 lb. salmon filet (preferably wild caught) cut into 6 or 7 smaller pieces
1 cup water
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 375. Lay the lemon slices in a large glass baking dish in a single layer. Place the salmon on top the bed of lemons. Pour the water around the salmon. Sprinkle the fish generously with salt and pepper. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and place in the oven. Let cook 25 minutes. Check that fish is done, it should be flaky, but still firm. If not done, cook longer, checking it at 5 minute intervals.
You can serve the salmon immediately or you can remove it from the liquid, chill it, and serve later. Some weird white stuff might cover the surface of the fish as it cools. It’s perfectly harmless, just not very attractive. It can be scraped off for a prettier presentation.
Garnish a tray with some fresh herbs or lettuce, set out a yummy sauce and get ready to turn salmon haters into salmon lovers.