Having suffered through off-limits and limited seasons during the past few years, everyone from fishermen to consumers are celebrating the return of this delicious California fish.
My favorite way to cook salmon is to slather filets in olive oil, then sprinkle them liberally with Tom Douglass’ smoky “Rub with Love” Salmon Rub and grill them over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the white fat starts to ooze out. With some simple ears of corn on the side, that’s a healthy meal fit for a warm, spring evening.
I also checked in with chef/owner f Josh Silvers of Petite Syrah in Santa Rosa, who said he likes to grill his salmon with green onions and foil packets filled wtih garlic cloves, olive oil and salt. “You smash those up and eat it with it,” he said. On the side, he suggests serving a simple butter lettuce salad with avocado and grapefruit, and making a vinaigrette from grapefruit juice, shallots, oil, salt and pepper.
“The tart grapefruit complements the avocado,” he said. “And then. a glass of rose.”
If you don’t want to grill your salmon, , Silvers suggests salting the fish on both sides, searing it in a really hot, oven-ready pan for a minute, then throwing it into a 500 degree oven with a pat of butter on top. When the butter melts and the salmon looks translucent on top, flip it over for 20 seconds, and you’re done.
You can serve the buttery salmon with risotto or mashed potatoes made with crème fraiche. As a sauce, try a simple pesto made with basil, or cilantro, or parsley.
Here’s another, simple potato-and-salmon dish from a spring chapter of Molly O’Neill’s “ A Well-Seasoned Appetite,” a seasonal cookbook that takes you on a sensuous journey from spring steaming to winter stews.
Seared Salmon Scallops with Warm Potato and Snap Pea Salad
Serves 4 as a main course
12 very small new potatoes, scrubbed
3 cups sugar snap peas, stemmed and strung
4 pieces salmon fillet, 4 ounces each
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Cook over medium heat until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and halve the potatoes. Set aside. Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of salted water to boil. Add the peas and blanch for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Heat a large heavy-bottomed non-stick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Add the salmon and sauté until just cooked through, about 2.5 minutes per side. Place one piece of salmon in the center of each of the warm plates.
Transfer the potatoes and peas to a skillet and toss until warmed through. Remove from the heat and toss with the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil, the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Arrange around the salmon, sprinkle with dill, and serve immediately.