Happy Labor Day! I hope you all are enjoying the long weekend.
Today’s my last day in Cordova, Alaska with Copper River Salmon. I’m sad to be leaving this beautiful, unique place. It has been an otherworldly adventure – Cordova is so rich with character, fueled by the strong, skilled and – as it turns out – witty and fun fishermen (and fish enthusiasts) whose livelihoods depend upon its sustained local population of salmon. I’m looking forward to sharing the wealth of information I’ve picked up along the way about sustainable fishing in Cordova specifically (and Alaska in general), and to show you photos of the fishery and scenery – I’m saving all that good stuff for a separate blog post in order to really do it justice.
While I’m leaving Cordova today, I’ll be staying in Alaska for 5 more days, exploring more of the state with my boyfriend. Stay tuned for more adventures!
In the meantime, I have a marvelous recipe for you (if I do say so, myself!).
^Coho salmon fillet^
The beautiful Coho salmon fillet you see pictured here was shipped to me by Copper River Salmon prior to my trip to Alaska. As soon as it arrived, I prepared it for dinner, and shared it with friends. For those of you who have never tried Coho, it’s really tasty! The flesh is delicate and has a subtle buttery flavor. For me, it’s kind of the middle ground between King and sockeye salmon in the sense that it doesn’t contain as much oil (fat) as King, so it has a lighter texture similar to Sockeye (you can see that texture between the slices of fish above), but doesn’t have as strong a flavor (i.e. doesn’t taste as “fishy.” Coho season runs August through September, and the Copper River Coho were larger this year than normal.
Funny, last night, Laura (from A Beautiful Plate) and I prepared a big salmon dinner for some of the local fishermen’s wives and scientists in the area. We took a somewhat similar approach to this recipe, lightly seasoning the salmon and broiling it in the oven, but rather than topping it with blistered heirloom cherry tomatoes, we sauteed hedgehog and chantarelle mushrooms -which we foraged locally in the forest the day prior – in butter, garlic, white wine, lemon zest, and some herbs. Both approaches are testament to my cooking philosophy when it comes to seafood and meat – a good quality cut, in my humble opinion, should be seasoned ever-so-simply because the quality speaks for itself, and having a tasty topping always adds a little something special to the meal without compromising the flavor or texture of the star ingredient: the fish.
While the recipe contains several elements – a beautiful wild-caught salmon roasted to perfection, a lemon garlic butter sauce, and blistered heirloom cherry tomatoes – it is a simple delight to make. The fish, sauce, and tomatoes can all be made in tandem if you’re in a hurry, or you can take your time and make it in parts.
The lemon rosemary garlic butter sauce requires no more action than heating heating the ingredients. Similarly, the heirloom cherry tomatoes get a quick sear in a cast iron skillet, charring them up, and causing them to explode in tomato flavor in your mouth upon consumption. All elements added together make for a divine eating experience.
I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as I did. Stay tuned for a recap of my trip to Cordova!
Roasted Salmon with Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce and Blistered Tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes I used heirloom
- 1 clove large garlic minced
- Pinch sea salt
- Pinch Italian Seasoning optional
Prepare the salmon:
Place the oven on the high broil setting, move a rack to the top shelf of the oven, and lightly oil the bottom of a large casserole dish or baking sheet.
Stir together the Italian seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt in a small bowl. Place the salmon fillet in the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle the salmon with the seasoning mixture.
Roast the salmon on the stop shelf (or second-to-top) for 10 to 15 minutes, or until fish reaches desired doneness and is crispy on top. For salmon that's rare on the inside, roast 8 minutes, and for salmon that's cooked through but still moist, cook 10 to 15 depending on how thick the fillet is.
Remove salmon from the oven and allow it to cool 5 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of garlic butter sauce and top with blistered tomatoes (see instructions below).
Prepare the garlic butter sauce:
While the fish is roasting, prepare the sauce and tomatoes.
Add all of the ingredients for the garlic butter sauce to a small skillet and heat over medium-high. Allow the sauce to come to a full bubble, stirring occasionally, until garlic is very fragrant.Reduce the heat and allow it to simmer while the fish and tomatoes are cooking, stirring occasionally. If you'd like, you can turn this into a brown butter type of situation by cooking the mixture at a higher temperature until it browns.
Prepare the Blistered Tomatoes:
Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high. Once the skillet is hot, carefully add the tomatoes. Allow them to sit, untouched for 2 minutes. Give the skillet a shake and cook another 2 minutes. Give the skillet another shake/stir and cook until tomatoes are blackened and skin is beginning to wilt, about another 3 minutes.
More Delicious Salmon Recipes: