Serve Salmon with Pep­per­oncini Lemon Sauce any­time

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FOOD - BY SARA MOUL­TON THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

My fam­ily has al­ways served whole baked fil­lets slathered with some kind of but­ter sauce. But this year I’m mov­ing in a new di­rec­tion: salmon fil­lets with crispy skin and a Greek­ish sauce. I was in­spired by the crispy-skin salmon that’s be­come a main­stay on restau­rant menus in re­cent years. The con­trast of the fish’s crisp and flavour­ful skin with its moist and flavour­ful flesh is a knock­out.

But it never oc­curred to me to at­tempt it at home un­til now. It turns out that it’s re­ally quite sim­ple. You just need to make sure the skin is very dry be­fore you cook it. Not only must it be pat­ted down with pa­per tow­els, it also has to be scraped re­peat­edly with a knife to re­move any ex­cess mois­ture. Then all you need is a hot skil­let and some oil with a high smoke point. (While the salmon’s cook­ing, you’ll have to press it down fre­quently with a spat­ula to pre­vent the skin from buck­ling and shrink­ing.)

The tart sauce is a snap. It’s a mix - half-yo­gurt and half-may­on­naise flavoured with lemon, dill, gar­lic and pep­per­oncini. (The last-named in­gre­di­ents are those Tuscan pick­led pep­pers of­ten used to en­liven Greek sal­ads with a tiny bit of heat.) The sauce’s tart­ness pro­vides a wel­come con­trast to the fish’s rich­ness.

Truth­fully, now that I know this easy and ef­fec­tive tech­nique, it’s how I’m al­ways go­ing to cook salmon - even when it’s not a hol­i­day.

SALMON WITH CRISPY SKIN AND PEP­PER­ONCINI LEMON SAUCE

Start to fin­ish: 40 min­utes Servings: 4

1/4 cup plain Greek yo­gurt

1/4 cup may­on­naise

2 ta­ble­spoons minced seeded pep­per­oncini

1 ta­ble­spoon liq­uid from the pep­per­oncini jar

1 to 2 tea­spoons lemon juice, or to taste

1/2 tea­spoon minced gar­lic

1 1/2 ta­ble­spoons chopped fresh dill

Kosher salt and black pep­per

Four 6-ounce salmon fil­lets with the skin

1 1/2 ta­ble­spoons veg­etable oil with a high smoke point

In a bowl com­bine the yo­gurt, may­on­naise, minced pep­per­oncini and pep­per­oncini liq­uid, lemon juice, gar­lic and dill; add salt and pep­per to taste. Cover and chill. Pre­heat the oven to 450 F. Pat the fish skin very dry. Scrape the skin with a large knife, at a per­pen­dic­u­lar an­gle, 8 to 10 times to re­move any ex­cess mois­ture, wip­ing the knife clean each time. In a large oven­proof skil­let heat the oil over high heat. When the oil is hot, re­duce the heat to medium and add the salmon fil­lets, skin side down. Im­me­di­ately press down evenly on the top of each fil­let to keep the skin from buck­ling up. Cook the salmon, press­ing down fre­quently, for 4 min­utes or un­til you can see that the skin is get­ting crispy and the flesh has light­ened about 1/3 - one-half of the way up the side. Sea­son the flesh with salt and pep­per, trans­fer the skil­let to the oven and bake for an­other 4 to 6 min­utes or un­til the salmon is cooked to the de­sired de­gree of done­ness.

Trans­fer to plates, skin side up, and top each por­tion with some of the sauce.

Nu­tri­tional in­for­ma­tion: 446 calo­ries; 251 calo­ries from fat; 28 g fat (4 g sat­u­rated; 0 g trans fats); 128 mg choles­terol; 349 mg sodium; 1 g car­bo­hy­drate; 0 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 45 g pro­tein.

AP PHOTO

This May 30, 2017 photo shows salmon with crispy skin and pep­per­oncini lemon sauce in New York. This dish is from a recipe by Sara Moul­ton. (Sara Moul­ton via AP)

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