I used to have a strict policy about cooking fish in my kitchen. It did not happen. Not by me or anyone else. I feared it would smell up the house and the apartment. Then I would be known as that neighbor that cooked the fish and stunk up the entire building, similar to the reputation that some employees on my floor get when they reheat their fish leftovers in the microwave. Seriously people! Luckily I never had a desk/cube by the kitchen.
Honestly I was also terrified of cooking fish. I feared it would taste fishy, become overcooked, or worst of all make me sick. I have gotten food poisoning too many times from fish and couldn’t imagine inflicting it on myself.
So what convinced me to break my rule? I got sick of eating chicken, shrimp or meat every night. That and the fish counter at Whole Foods always looked so delicious. So I bit the bullet one Sunday night and picked up a whole branzino and cooked it up.
First of all I have no idea what possessed me to cook a whole fish for my first fish but I did it. It might have to do with my absolute love for branzino. Second of all it was delicious! The rule was broken and all of a sudden I had so many more recipes at my disposal – well all recipes minus salmon. That fish was permanently banned in my book. Make me sick once shame on you, make me sick twice shame on me, not sure what you say for the third, fourth, or even fifth time.
So how did I get to cooking salmon of all fish in my kitchen? Ok well clearly I do not stick to my food bans. We had a dinner party and a few guests only ate fish. My mom told me about this great salmon recipe that was super easy so I made it for them. They cleaned their plates and there was one small piece left, so I crossed my fingers and took a bite. I was soo good. It tasted nothing like the salmon I was used to. So enter salmon. I am still super careful about recipes, the cut of the fish (I will NEVER accept an end piece), and where the salmon comes from.
Last night I got the most delicious and fresh looking pieces of Wild Pacific Salmon from off the coast of Oregon. It literally had no smell and looked like it could be eaten as sashimi (I am not that crazy yet). I could not stomach ruining such a wonderful piece of fresh fish with over seasoning so I turned to Alice Waters who has the most amazing ability of showcasing fresh ingredients. I settled on her roasted salmon recipe and served it up with her herb butter.
For the salmon – simply pre-heat the oven to 425 and place the salmon (4 to 6 oz fillets with skin on) on an oiled baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 7 to 10 minutes. You want the middle to still look pink, be careful not to overcook. That’s it!
For the herb butter – you can take any combination of leafy herbs. I used basil and parsley last night because they happen to be sitting in the fridge. Blend a quarter cup of chopped herbs with half a stick (4 tbsp) of softened butter, half a clove of minced garlic, salt, pepper, a pinch of cayenne, and a squeeze of lemon.
The butter was so good we saved it for a dinner later in the week – check back to see.
We had a California artichoke to start and roasted potatoes with roasted salmon for dinner. It was such a yummy Monday night dinner and the perfect start to the week.