Sunday, June 10, 2007

Low and Slow Salmon

Copper River Salmon

The Seattle rain is lasting abnormally long this year. Just when you think the weather is finally getting better, it goes from sunny to rainy in the blink of an eye. Temperatures will drop 30 degrees overnight and Mother Nature reminds you of the wet and dreary weather you already suffered through for the last 8 months isn't quite over yet. However, there is a silver lining in this seemingly perpetual gray cloud, one thing that keeps me going amidst all this nasty weather and actually makes me feel, dare I say, grateful for living here - the salmon.

Copper River SalmonWild Copper River Salmon boasts an intensely red flesh, is rich in healthy omega-3s, and is rightfully touted as the best salmon in the world. Seattle serves as the main distribution hub for Copper River salmon so Seattleites are the first in the US (aside from Alaskans) to taste the season's first salmon. After being caught in the Alaskan river, the salmon is flown to Seattle, and then distributed to the rest of the country. Unfortunately, the season is regrettably very short, only lasting from mid May to mid June. I have to admit I didn't get my salmon from the fishmonger at Pike Place but at my local Safeway. But at $8/lb I'm not complaining. With such a beautiful piece of fish, I didn't want to overcook and ruin it so I used Jaden's absolutely amazing way of cooking salmon. My photo isn't nearly as gorgeous as hers (the stunning DMBLGIT winner) but it was truly delicious.

Cara CaraAs I was preparing my orange and onion bed, I sliced open an orange and to my surprise, I was greeted with fruit that was coincidentally the same shade as the salmon. It was a Cara Cara Navel! Cara Caras are one of my favorite oranges. They're extremely sweet, barely acidic, and the color is simply stunning. I ended up eating the Cara Cara because it was just too good and had to grab a second orange (just a regular navel this time) for the salmon. The red color of the orange comes from lycopene, the same cancer-fighting antioxidant found in tomatoes and grapefruits.

Jaden's Low and Slow Salmon
1 lb of salmon fillet, cut into 4 single serving portions
1/2 orange
some onion slices
salt and pepper
Olive oil

Bring the salmon out to room temp (can't skip this step otherwise the salmon will still be cold inside after baking). Salt and pepper the fillets and top with some olive oil.

Coat a baking pan with some olive oil. Scatter some onion and orange slices on the baking pan. Lay the salmon fillets on top of the bed of aromatics. Decorate the top of the salmon with some thin orange slices.

Stick the pan in the oven and turn the oven to 250ºF. I felt like there was no need to preheat the oven since the salmon will be cooked low and slow anyways, it's probably okay to stick it in a cold oven and let the oven warm up.

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes (or just 10 minutes if you like your salmon really rare). I went for 35 minutes because I'm always a bit paranoid (and Steven recently recovered from a stomach bug so I wanted to be extra careful). As long as a knife slides in and out of the salmon easily and the flesh flakes then it's done.

*You can discard the orange and onion slices. It was just for show. :P

The salmon was perfect. It was the perfect method to showcase the lovely Copper River Salmon. This is my go-to salmon recipe from now on. Many thanks Jaden!

Completely optional sauce since the salmon tastes perfectly fine with salt and pepper:

Citrus Ginger Soy Sauce Glaze
1/4 tsp of fresh ginger
Juice from half an orange
3 Tbsp soy sauce

Cook until the glaze is thick and syrupy. If it's not sweet enough, add some honey, too much ginger, then add more soy sauce and honey or orange juice. You can baste the salmon before it bakes or drizzle it on top after it's done.

Jaden's Tropical Island Salmon
Original LA Times article: Low, Slow, and Succulent
This will be my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging. WHB is an event created by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen and is hosted this week by Rachel from Rachel's Bites.

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