I love the simplicity of cooking fish. There isn’t much to it, but as usual when it comes to things that are simple, it has to be done right. Timing is everything, and the timing for cooking fish is directly related to the type of fish and the thickness of the piece being cooked. My preference for most fish is for it to be just cooked through so that the center is less cooked than the edges but not completely raw. Wild salmon is easy to cook because you can keep an eye on the thick edge to see the color change as it cooks through. And, I’m enjoying as much of it as possible right now since the season for fresh, wild salmon is coming to an end. Last weekend, I was thrilled to try a new pan I received from All-Clad that’s perfect for cooking fish. It’s the d3 ARMOR Fish Pan (Retail Price: $199.95), and you could win one of your own! It has a riveted surface on the bottom of the pan that makes it easy for the fish to release after being cooked. It is an oval shape that’s 13 inches long with flared sides to contain splatters, and it has a long handle. I used the pan to sear a salmon fillet and made a chunky, nutty salsa to serve on top.
I learned a brining tip from the book Ad Hoc at Home that I always use when cooking salmon. It only requires about 10 minutes of brining, and it adds great flavor to the salmon and prevents the white spots of coagulation from forming on the surface when it cooks. You just mix cold water with sea salt at a 10 to one ratio, stir to dissolve the salt, pour the mixture over the salmon, and leave it for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, I dry the salmon, season it, dredge with flour, and it’s ready to sear. After brining, only a very small amount of salt is needed for seasoning, and I also season it with black pepper and piment d’espelettte. For the salsa, I took inspiration from a recipe in The New Spanish Table but made a few changes. I used Marcona almonds, a mix of green and black olives, added lemon zest and juice, and used sherry vinegar. Garlic, parsley, fresh oregano, and olive oil were added to the salsa.
Cooking with this new pan was fantastic. It’s just the right size and shape for fish so the heat is focused right where it needs to be. The flesh-side of the fillet released easily after cooking, and turning the piece was a breeze.
Brining makes the salmon deliciously seasoned all the way through, and the nutty olive salsa was crunchy and zesty on top. Now, for a chance to win one of these pans, just leave a comment on this post including your email address so I can contact you. A winner will be randomly selected on Friday October 14th, and the winner must be a US resident. Good luck, you’ll love this pan!
Seared Salmon with Marcona Almond, Olive, and Caper Salsa
For the salsa:
1/3 cup Marcona almonds, chopped
1/3 cup mixed green and black olives, pitted and chopped
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped
Zest and juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper and piment d’espllette to taste
For the salmon:
1 lb. fillet of salmon, bones removed
Sea salt and cold water for brine
Salt, black pepper, and piment d’espllette for seasoning
All-purpose or rice flour for dredging
Olive oil for searing
To prepare the salsa:
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and allow to rest at room temperature while the salmon is brined and cooked.
To brine the salmon, place the fillet in a baking pan. Combine enough water to cover the fillet with 10% by weight sea salt. I use a digital scale and place a measuring pitcher on the scale and zero it out. I add enough cold water that I’m sure will cover the salmon and check the weight. Then, I add 10% of that weight of salt and let it dissolve in the water. The salt-water mixture is then poured over the salmon, and it’s left to brine for about 10 to 15 minutes. After brining, remove the salmon and pat it dry. Season very lightly with salt, normally with freshly ground black pepper, and to taste if using piment d’espelette. Dredge the top of the fillet with flour and shake off excess.
Heat the All-Clad d3 ARMOR fish pan over medium heat with enough olive oil to barely, thinly cover the pan. After a few minutes, when you’re sure the pan is hot, carefully place the salmon flesh-side (the side that was dredged in flour) down in the hot pan. Leave it to sear for about five minutes. Shake the pan gently to see if the fillet is loose enough to turn. Use a wide spatula to turn the fillet and guide the cool side of the salmon with your free hand to carefully turn it to skin-side down. Let cook for another four to five minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet. Remove from heat and let the salmon sit for a few minutes before serving.
Transfer the salmon fillet to a serving platter and spoon the almond and olive salsa over the top.
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