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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wild Salmon with Orange Ginger Sauce

GLUTEN-FREE

This dish is a winner because it's so simple to make and you may have the ingredients already on hand.

I always keep wild salmon stocked in my freezer for fast dinners when I'm short on time. After you thaw it overnight in the fridge, it cooks quite quickly. You have just enough time to make a sauce and toss a salad before it's ready to eat. Dinner can be ready in 20 minutes.

I buy organic citrus fruit because it's important to eat the zest. The essential oils in citrus zest are the most flavorful part of the fruit and they have important health benefits too, notably anti-cancer effects. If you have other organic citrus fruit, like tangerines or grapefruit, feel free to experiment. If your oranges are not organic, omit the zest from this recipe.

A stove top grill pan is my favorite way to cook salmon and I always start with room temperature fish (take it out of the fridge in advance). Because there is minimal contact between the fish and the pan, the meat won't dry out if you don't overcook it.

Avoid overcooking the salmon because it will quickly lose its flaky and tender texture. I prefer cooking salmon on the stove top (rather than in the oven) because I can keep a good eye on it.

  • 2 organic Valencia oranges, zest and juice, or other oranges
  • Fresh ginger
  • Sea salt
  • 1 pound wild Alaskan salmon at room temperature, fillets or steaks, cut into 4 ounce portions
  • Extra virgin olive oil, first cold pressing 
  • Ground peppercorn
  • Tamari (optional)

Zest and juice the oranges into a small saucepan. Grate enough ginger to taste. (I like my sauce spicy so I use a teaspoon or more.) Add a small pinch of sea salt, but not too much because you will want to adjust the seasoning at the end. Warm the mixture over medium-low heat until it starts to boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the mixture reduces by half, about 15 minutes.

While the sauce reduces, brush the salmon with olive oil and season it with sea salt and ground peppercorn. Warm a stove top grill pan (or skillet) over medium heat. Once hot, place the pieces of salmon inside and do not move them once you put them down.

Cook until the fish detaches and develops grill marks, about 4 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish. Along the side it should look halfway cooked: the bottom half will be opaque and the top half will be translucent. Turn the fish over and turn the heat off. Cover loosely and allow to rest for 5 or more minutes, while the residual heat finishes cooking the fish.

Once the orange ginger sauce has reduced and thickened, taste it for seasoning. If it needs more salt, add a few drops of tamari (or more sea salt if you prefer). For a teriyaki-like flavor, add more tamari, to taste.

The fish is ready to eat when it is just cooked through. It should be opaque but soft and moist. It should flake apart easily when prodded with a fork.

Transfer the fish to a serving plate. Drizzle the Orange Ginger Sauce over the fish or serve it separately.

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