For the recipe of the week, I thought I would use a simple yet delicious Salmon item. In Sonoma County now is the time for wild salmon to be caught off our coast. Oddly enough the waters of the Pacific can be very rough and tumble at this time of year. Some days the seas are calm and pristine, but more often than not they are wild and choppy.
Not only does a fisherman in this area have to worry about the weather, but there are many other factors to take into account when fishing for salmon. First of all you can take it to the bank that the seals which follow the boats religiously will get at least twenty percent of your catch. Many fishermen actually shoot them, which I consider to be a horrible solution, but it happens none the less. There are also white sharks and angry sea lions to contend with at this time of year. Long story short, the ocean is just as wild and unpredictable as it’s always been. Which is even more reason to cherish every bite of wild salmon when you are lucky enough to get some.
Roasting wild salmon on a cedar plank and serving it will a dollop of fresh herb Salsa Verde, is one of my favorite preparations. As a chef I think it is imperative to cook in a way that showcases the products you work with. Freshly caught salmon is a wonder to behold and it is perfect to eat on its own with only the addition of a little salt. Put a portion on a cedar plank that has been soaked in water to keep it from burning on the grill or in the oven, and you add a great touch of smoke to the fish. Top it off with the following recipe for Salsa Verde which is based on a South American tradition and you create a vibrant set of flavors that will impress customers, as well as your food cost.
Cedar Plank Roasted or Grilled Sonoma Coast Wild Salmon with Salsa Verde
Wild King Salmon Six, seven ounce portions (pin bones removed)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 Tablespoons
Sea Salt to taste
Cedar Planks one or two per person
Rub Salmon liberally with extra virgin olive oil, then season with salt. Place on pre-heated grill skin side up and cook approximately 5 minutes, before flipping over and cooking on other side. Salmon and all other types of fish cook uniformly at ten minutes per inch of thickness. Salmon should be slightly rare in the middle and not dry to allow the wonderful fatty richness of the fish to shine.
This sauce is best made at the last minute either by emulsifying in the blender, to create a bright green puree or by using a mortar and pestle to create the more classic and rustic version. This recipe is a staple on many of the best menus featured in the south of
Italian Parsley 4 Tablespoons finely chopped
Fresh Chives 2 Tablespoons finely chopped
Mint 2 Tablespoons finely chopped
Fresh Chervil 2 Tablespoons finely chopped
Fresh Basil 2 Tablespoons finely chopped
Garlic Cloves 2 each
Dry Mustard Powder pinch
Cider Vinegar 4 Tablespoons
Lemon Juice 2 Tablespoons
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1/4 cup
Salt & Freshly Milled Pepper to taste
Finely chop the herbs & garlic, and then combine in a bowl. Carefully blend the oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard powder, salt & pepper. You can either combine all of the above in a blender to emulsify, or do it carefully with a mortar & pestle.
Test for seasoning and serve immediately.