My fish guy is a wonder. Now that’s a sentence I didn’t see coming! Seriously, though, this guy is good. He knows me and what I like (anything that swims, floats, or crawls in water, pretty much…) and he watches for me when I’m walking through the store. I’m glad he does, he’s a great source of information, he isn’t just trying to off-load product. He really knows his stuff. He’s the one that told me about basa and that stuff is cheap, so he certainly isn’t trying to upsell me!
Anyway, I was in the store today and he hooked me. Thing is, he really really knows fish! So when he talks about a certain kind of fish being special I listen. Today it was New Zealand King Salmon. Mmmmm… he was right!
But here’s the thing. I asked him to cut me a small piece and the first piece he picked up was the tail end of a large fillet. It looked fine to me, but he put it back and pulled out a huge side of fish. He told me that for almost any other fish that flavor will be the same head to tail, but for salmon you want to get a slice that has the stomach meat on it.
He said it really has better flavor. I had no idea! Understand, I feel certain that I’ve eaten my weight or more in salmon in my lifetime. I love it. I love it grilled, baked, smoked, in dips, hot or cold, as gravelax, as an appetizer or a main course, with or without dill or even lemon, as sushi; I’ve never met a salmon I didn’t like! So to find out that I could have enjoyed it even more was astonishing.
Anyway, he cut me a nice piece and told me just what to do. His suggestion was to bake it or grill it and he said put nothing more that a bit of salt, pepper, and olive oil.
Now I suppose its possible that he was making up this “stomach meat flavor” thing, but I really don’t think so. He doesn’t strike me as that kind of guy. And, I think he was right. It was mild, buttery, firm, and had absolutely no fishy smell at all. I had a wonderful lunch, and there were no leftovers. MMMmmmm!
I wasn’t willing to turn on the oven or set up the grill for one little piece of fish, but this worked fine. Here’s all I did:
Pan “Baked” Salmon
1 fillet of salmon (about 1/3lb) per person
fresh ground salt and pepper
fresh lemon juice
I put a tiny bit of oil in a non-stick pan, heated it up (medium heat) and put the fillet skin-side up in to sear. I ground a bit of salt and pepper on the skin. After about 1 minute I carefully flipped it skin-side down, added a bit more salt and pepper, covered the pan and turned the heat down as low as I could.
After about 8 minutes the salmon was cooked through, moist, and ready to eat. I doused it with a bit of lemon juice and had a fine meal.
That’s all there is to it. And, I must say that I’m not smelling fish in the house at all a few hours later, it was that “clean”. I know that some folks say that salmon is too strong in flavor, but I think that if you can find this kind and you trust your fish guy it might work for you. It certainly did for me! Let us know if you try it, OK?