Monday, November 02, 2015



Herb Encrusted Salmon

We had a luncheon guest Friday who doesn't ...
  • drink alcohol
  • eat meat on Friday
  • eat shellfish
I have an extensive list of Test Kitchen videos saved on DVR, so I perused them for fish recipes.  The first three I came across were for salmon, a fish I'm not terribly fond of because .. well, I'm just not.  However, this Herb-Crusted Salmon (there were two) looked properly good, so I trotted off to the fish monger and took pains to get a center cut Atlantic Salmon that passed muster.  Two pounds (over-kill) skinned and boned cost $34.  This turned out to be the 2nd best fish I have ever hadthe first was poached bass at some hole-in-the-wall French restaurant in Manhattan 30 yers ago.  Here's how good it is.  Both MoSup and guest said holy crap at first bite.  I was even more impressed, and had a leftover slab for dinner and some other leftovers for breakfast yesterday.  Most importantly; I used fresh thyme and tarragon, instead of the usual dried stuff, and it made a huge difference.

There was another upside: the Panko crust recipe.  I've used Panko for several years and swear by it, however; I usually just put it on top of, say baked chicken breasts, topped with a pat of butter.   Last night we had chicken breasts and I used a variation of the salmon recipe for the Panko.  Perfectly crunchy.


You're welcome.  Here's the video (if it works without a subscription)

For the fillets to cook at the same rate, they must be the same size and shape. To ensure uniformity, we prefer to purchase a 1 1/2- to 2-pound center-cut salmon fillet and cut it into four pieces. Dill or basil can be substituted for tarragon.


  • Salt and pepper
  • 4(6- to 8-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
  • 2tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2tablespoons beaten egg
  • 2teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1/4cup chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1 1/2teaspoons mayonnaise
  • Lemon wedges


  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Dissolve 5 tablespoons salt in 2 quarts water in large container. Submerge salmon in brine and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Remove salmon from brine, pat dry, and set aside.

    2. Meanwhile, melt butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add panko and 1/8 teaspoon salt and season with pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until panko is golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl and let cool completely. Stir in egg and thyme until thoroughly combined. Stir tarragon, mustard, and mayonnaise together in second bowl.

    3. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. Place 12 by 8-inch piece of aluminum foil on wire rack and lightly coat with vegetable oil spray. Evenly space fillets, skin side down, on foil. Using spoon, spread tarragon mixture evenly over top of each fillet. Sprinkle panko mixture evenly over top of each fillet, pressing with your fingers to adhere. Bake until center of thickest part of fillets reaches 125 (I did 122º) degrees and is still translucent when cut into with paring knife, 18 to 25 minutes. Transfer salmon to serving platter and let rest for 5 minutes before serving with lemon wedges.


Leonard Jones said...

I have never cared for shellfish or the rich gamy fish species. My favorite
fish are the mild varieties of whitefish like Cod and Halibut.

When I was younger, I spent some time at the bottom of the U at the horseshoe
pier in Redondo Beach. There was this seafood restaurant with hundreds of
seats located outside. The sounds were what you would expect from hundreds of
Asians chattering away like chickens on cocaine and the constant hammering of
wooden mallets cracking crabs. Finally, there was the odor. Imagine something
so foul it would drive the maggots off a Civil War gut wagon.

Someone once told me "If it smells bad, don't eat it." But I think that was in
an entirely unrelated context!

DonM said...

The best Salmon is no doubt the Sockeye Salmon from the Copper River in Alaska. Much milder flavor than the typical Salmon from the Atlantic. Generally only available in late May through June. $18.00 per pound but worth it. I usually buy the whole fish and have the butcher save the trimmings and bones to make fish stock for Lobster Bisque.

Pawpaw said...

I'd have offered my luncheon guest a peanut butter sammich, and said the hell with it. Which is why I have few luncheon guests

Anonymous said...

"We had a luncheon guest Friday who doesn't..."

Can they take a hint? How about a beating?

Unknown said...

DonM, de gustibus non est disputandum, but I don't know where you get that sockeye is milder than Atlantic salmon. Atlantic salmon (all of which available commercially is farm-raised) is by far the mildest and tenderest. People don't usually buy wild-caught salmon for its "mildness". They buy it for its stronger, "wild" flavor (and often because they're elitists about farmed salmon).

Why would you bother paying for Copper River salmon and then slather it with all kinds of crap that corrupts its natural flavor?

I soak my salmon filets or portions (whatever variety) in lime juice and sautee 'em in olive or canola oil, and season 'em in the pan with a sprinkle of the late Chef Paul's Salmon Magic (it's not really magic -- the first ingredient is sugar! -- but it does a great job. The only "exotic" ingredient is the mustard seed).

I start 'em skin side up (even when skinned) so that after I turn 'em they're skin side down/presentation side up. I give 'em just a couple of minutes per side on a medium flame, seasoning both sides, and I serve 'em as soon as they yield to the spatula, rare like a prime rib or chateaubriand; they melt in your mouth.

0007 said...

Hint: Artic Char puts any available salmon in the cat-food category. Especially when the Char is fresh-caught and then smoked in a smoker made out of a shipping crate, an element from a stove, refrigerator racks, and using the oak skids from other crate for the smoke...heh, heh, heh.

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