Friday, March 9, 2012

Salmon on the Rocks

If you are wondering what to serve at your next dinner party, I have a recommendation: salmon roasted on a bed of rock salt. This recipe, which I adapted from Corey Schreiber's Wildwood: Cooking from the Source in the Pacific Northwest, is a surefire way to prepare a succulent, crowd-pleasing fillet of fish. The salt magically distributes the heat so that the fish is moist and evenly cooked, with a pleasant but not aggressive saltiness infused through the skin. Here was the menu for a successful Friday night dinner party, much of which I cooked ahead on Thursday evening:

first course
Red lentil soup (this recipe, made the day before)
main course
Herbed salmon roasted on rock salt (below)
Golden hulless barley risotto with fennel, leeks, and celeriac (similar to this, partially cooked the day before, then finished with more broth and grated parmasan)
Kale salad with roasted squash, almonds, and cheddar (similar to this and this, all the components prepped the day before)
Chocolate espresso cheesecake from Eugene City Bakery

Herbed Salmon Roasted on Rock Salt
adapted from Corey Schreiber

1 or several large salmon fillet(s) (calculate about 6 ounces per person)

salt and freshly ground black pepper
rock salt (also sold as ice cream salt) for baking

for each salmon fillet, prepare an herb mixture with:
zest from 1 large lemon (use a microplane grater to zest)
1 handful fennel fronds
1 handful Italian parsley leaves

Before your guests arrive, take your salmon out of the refrigerator. Find a baking dish large enough to hold the salmon and cover the bottom of the dish completely with rock salt. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the bed of rock salt. Lightly salt and generously pepper the flesh side of the salmon fillet. Chop the fennel fronts and parsley leaves and combine with the lemon zest. Spread the herb mixture over the fish, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and set aside.

When your guests have all arrived, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Just before you serve the first course, put the salmon in the oven. Bake for about 35 minutes until the fish is opaque on the top, but still slightly translucent inside. Remove the fish from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes or so (it will continue cooking). Bring the whole fish on the rock salt bed to the table and serve.


Renee said...

What an interesting idea! I've wanted to learn how to cook fish more.

hilt m said...

I've made this a couple of times and every time it turns out perfectly. Usually add some herbs and spices to the salt.