As many of you may recall, recently I’ve located 3 fishmongers in my part of town. This was quite the lucky stroke, especially considering that for years now, only previously frozen fish was available to me — unless I wished to pre-order what I wanted. Yes, that was a possibility but there was little room for spontaneity. Living by myself, I don’t mind planning a dinner when guests are involved but when dining alone, I’ll often let the market decide what I’ll be preparing. Very often that meant that good, fresh fish were off the menu. Well, not anymore.
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Now that I’ve a steady supply of quality fish, I’ve certainly taken advantage. Branzino, sturgeon, merluzzo, salmon, shark, and sea bream have all found there way to my table, as have more clams than I’ve had in the past decade. I’ve prepared the fish in parchment (al cartoccio), grilled (alla griglia); baked (al forno), stewed (in umido) or, like today, pan-seared. None is difficult or complicated to prepare, nor are any so bone-riddled as to be unpalatable. Although 1 specific dish may give you pause, I guarantee that you will be able to prepare the others without so much as batting an eye. So, with Christmas Eve approaching fast, I plan to present 3 fish dishes to you in December.
Today’s recipe is Pan-Seared Salmon Fillets. This is so easy to prepare that I debated blogging about it at all. Still, I was motivated to do so for the benefit of the younger members of my family. Preparing fish can be a bit daunting for the inexperienced cook and a recipe like today’s is a confidence builder. With both the salmon and sauce taking less than 15 minutes to prepare, all you have to worry about is preparing a salad and whatever sides you prefer. The only way this meal could be easier is if you ordered it in a restaurant — and then it would cost you at least double.
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Pan-Seared Salmon with Dill Sauce Recipes
- thick cut salmon fillets, skin in place
- salt & pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- lemon wedges for serving
- 4 tbsp (low-fat) Greek yogurt
- fresh dill, chopped + more for garnish
- 1 small garlic clove, minced or grated
- salt & white pepper
- Combine yogurt, dill, and garlic into a small bowl and mix well. Season with salt & pepper and set aside.
- Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet over a med-high heat. Season both sides of the salmon with salt & pepper.
- When oil is hot, add the salmon fillets, skin side down.
- Turn fish over once skin is well-browned & crispy but not burnt. This should take 4 to 5 minutes.
- Continue to sear, flesh-side down, for about another 3 minutes. This will give you a fillet that is med-rare to medium internally. Cook more or less depending upon your own preferences.
- Serve immediately garnished with chopped dill and accompanied with dill sauce and lemon wedges.
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To insure that the salmon cooks evenly, select yours from the thickest part of the salmon fillet. If you must use the “tapered end” of the fillet, you will need to adjust your cooking times accordingly and the salmon skin may not fully crisp.
Although the dill sauce may be prepared and served immediately, it is best when prepared a few hours in advance and allowed to sit so the flavors meld together. I prefer to serve it at room temperature and will allow it to sit on a counter for about an hour before serving.
There are definitely 2 schools of thought when it comes to eating the skin of cooked fish. This recipe specifically crisps the skin. If you enjoy eating crispy skin, serve the fillets skin-side up. If you prefer not to eat the skin, serve the fillets skin-side down. This will soften the skin and make it easier to avoid while dining.
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It’s déjà vu all over again …
With an eye towards Christmas Eve, I thought today’s Blast from the Past should follow this month’s fish theme. In many Italian households, baccalà (salted cod) is the centerpiece of the Christmas Eve dinner. Click HERE to learn how my family prepares this dish.
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Coming soon to a monitor near you …
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