It’s a momentous day, dear readers. For the second time in this blog’s 33-month history, I’m posting a salmon recipe.
I pride myself on being the kind of person who will eat just about anything, but salmon and I have a rocky relationship. There is nothing – nothing! – like a top-quality piece of salmon sashimi (especially if it comes from here). When I was fresh out of college, I would prepare it en papillote for dinner on a regular basis. I’ve also enjoyed barbecued salmon on occasion. (I think the grill can dry it out a bit so it isn’t quite so rich.) At this stage in the game, though, I sometimes have a hard time with oven-baked, just-opaque, unctuous salmon.
Despite my qualms, the recipe for Soy-Glazed Salmon with Watercress Salad from the July/August 2010 issue of Everyday Food caught my eye. (Major props to the food stylist who made broiled salmon look so good I couldn’t resist it.) There was some gorgeous wild caught sockeye salmon on sale at my grocery store recently, and 20 minutes of preparation time made the recipe a perfect weeknight meal. I decided to give it a go.
The ingredient prep required segmenting 2 oranges (click here for a how-to), so I did that first. I set the segments aside to use in the salad and squeezed the juice from the membranes into a small bowl. (They should yield about 3 tablespoons.)
Next, I made the salmon glaze, which would also become part of the salad dressing. In the small bowl with the orange juice, I added 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 3 teaspoons of honey, whisked everything together, and seasoned to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. In a large bowl (which would become the salad bowl), I whisked together 1 tablespoon of the glaze with 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. I set the bowl with the dressing aside.
I heated my broiler with the rack 4 inches from the heat and lined a rimmed baking sheet with foil. I seasoned 4 salmon fillets (the recipe suggested 6 ounces each, but mine were 5 ounces) with salt and pepper and broiled them for 5 minutes. I removed the fish from the oven, brushed them with the glaze, and then broiled them until they were opaque throughout (2 more minutes). I brushed the salmon with the glaze once more after I removed the fillets from the oven.
To finish the salad, I added the orange segments, 12 ounces of watercress (thick ends trimmed), and half of a small red onion (thinly sliced) to the dressing and tossed to combine. I seasoned the salad with salt and pepper to taste and served it alongside the salmon.
I’m delighted to report that the salmon was pretty tasty. The glaze was fantastic, and it made the fish incredibly flavorful. I’ll admit that I enjoyed the drier ends of my fillet more than the center, but that’s just me.
I loved every element of the salad except for the most central one: the watercress. I’d never tried it before, and it’s really just too bitter and the stems are too woody (even after a significant trim) for my taste. I ate it, and I would certainly eat it if someone served it to me, but I wouldn’t seek it out. Next time, I’ll probably make the salad with arugula.
TIPS: Removing the skin from fish before cooking is one of my least favorite chores. Thankfully, leaving the skin on works well with this recipe. I broiled the fillets flesh side up, and the cooked fish easily flaked away from the skin.