Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Best Salmon I've Ever Had

I posted about this Salmon back in 2012 but thought it was worth re-posting because it was the best Salmon I've ever had!!! At the time I first made this, I was trying to duplicate a meal I had at Salty's on Alki Point in Seattle. The restaurant has a few recipes online, but not exactly what I had eaten in the restaurant. So, I took elements from 2 or 3 recipes and merged them into what I thought I had ordered. The result was spectacular! Shaun and I happily oohh-ed and blissfully mmmmm-ed after every single bite.

The key to making most perfect restaurant food, other than technique and superior ingredient quality, is FAT. This recipe has lots of fat but its all worth it. So, if you happen upon some fresh (wild-caught) salmon this year, consider giving this recipe a try. It's Salmon baked in the oven--covered in a basil-garlic butter, then served aside are some garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus, covered in a pesto-butter sauce called Pesto Beurre Blanc.

Baked Basil-Garlic Wild Salmon

1.14 lb wild salmon fillet (half a salmon) (pull put pinbones with plyers) 
     (Different Salmon weight will adjust cooking time and you may need to increase the amount of butter you prepare)
3 tablespoons basil-garlic butter (See recipe below), softened but not completely melted
½ teaspoon salt and pepper mix (80% salt and 20% pepper)
1½ ounces Pesto Beurre Blanc (See recipe below)
5 spears per serving- asparagus spears - blanched and reheated with some of the basil-garlic butter
1½ cups garlic mashed potatoes (See recipe below)
2 teaspoons parsley (for garnish)

Basil-Garlic Butter
Yield 4 ounces
4 tablespoons butter, unsalted, whipped
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon onion, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt and pepper mix (80% salt and 20% pepper)
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon fresh basil, fine chopped

                Slowly whip oil into soft whipped, mix all remaining ingredients.

Pesto Beurre Blanc
Yield 6 ounces
1½ teaspoons onion, minced
2 teaspoons vinegar
3 tablespoons white wine
½ cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter
1 pinch Kosher salt
½ teaspoon dried thyme (or marjoram)
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoons pesto (your favorite recipe or buy prepared)

Mix shallots, thyme, black peppercorns, kosher salt, vinegar and wine in a small pot and reduce over medium heat until liquid is almost evaporated. Turn heat to low, add heavy cream and reduce slightly. Using a small whip slowly incorporate butter to sauce consistency, add pesto and mix well.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
(enough for 3 servings)
5 Yukon gold potatoes

          Boil potatoes in water (whole), when done, remove and peel off skin. Then mash until smooth. 

Add the following:
1/3 c. cream 
3 tablespoons butter 
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste) 
Dash of Garlic Powder.

Mix until incorporated. (Do not over mix.)

Putting it all together:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare a metal pan (with short edges) by lining with a piece of parchment. Then spray parchment with Pam (or brush lightly with oil). Then place salmon fillet on pan, skin side down.

Brush salmon fillet with basil-garlic butter and season with salt and pepper mix. Bake to desired doneness (be sure to not overcook the salmon*) while basting the salmon with remaining basil-garlic butter. Check after 15 minutes. Mine was done at 20 minutes. (When done, the fish will flake apart.)

Place mashed potatoes at the center of a serving plate and arrange asparagus spears leaning on the mashed potatoes. Pour pesto beurre blanc over the hill of asparagus, and place salmon fillet on the asparagus and garnish with chopped parsley.

Eat immediatley. ENJOY!

*Note on How to Tell if Salmon is Cooked:
1. When baking or grilling, cook the salmon just until it flakes. This is about 10 minutes for each inch of thickness (on the grill, that’s about 5 minutes per side). It does not have to be opaque all the way through to be cooked — it will probably be dry if you wait that long. - From Salty's Website 
2. Here’s how to tell it’s done:
~ The top is slightly brown and/or tiny bits sticking up get a little charred
~ A little whiteness appears at the sides from the fat
~ When a wooden spoon pressed on top gives back a little resistance but not too much
~ And the MOST IMPORTANT: cut into the thickest part.  At the bottom, you should have some translucent, raw-looking fish. BUT!  This fish is easily parted with a butter knife.  If there’s raw-looking salmon that can’t be teased apart with a butter knife, it needs another moment. If it can, DO NOT cook the salmon any longer!  The fish is moistest and most delicious when you leave this translucent area as so.

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