S. went on a 24-hour, sleepless fishing trip last weekend and came back with several pounds of fresh salmon, the majority of which is nestled nicely in my freezer awaiting inspiration (lucky me!). I’m no expert on salmon fishing in the Great Lakes but the Petosky News says that it’s probably of the Chinook variety, or maybe Coho. Who knows and what does it matter? I don’t think I’ve ever eaten salmon, or any fish really, within 12 hours of it being caught so I knew the preparation would have to be minimal and allow the fresh flavors to shine through. It was a minor miracle that I knew exactly what I wanted to do AND that I was able to find the recipe almost immediately (because this never happens). And maybe it was because I was reading her wonderful book, A Homemade Life, that Molly Wizenberg (my first blog love) was on my mind, but I remembered a Bon Appétit piece of hers from a couple of years back in which she extolls the virtues of fresh salmon and crème fraîche. Two ingredients later (the aforementioned crème fraîche and a lemon) and we were dining of some of the best salmon I’ve ever tasted. If you can ever get ahold of some extremely fresh salmon, this is an excellent preparation.
Admittedly these are not even close to being the prettiest of photographs but I wanted to show you a “before/after” comparison. Can you see how lusciously the crème fraîche almost melted from the salmon as it roasted? Let me assure you the flavor was just right, not overly creamy, but with just a subtle amount of tang–in other words, perfect.
Crème Fraîche Roasted Salmon
1 lb. fresh salmon filet
1/4 cup crème fraîche
1 teaspoon lemon zest
a pinch (1/4 teaspoon perhaps?) sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Method: Preheat oven to 425° and cover a cookie sheet with foil. Sprinkle the lemon zest, salt and pepper over the fresh fish. Next spread the crème fraîche, covering every corner of the salmon. Roast for about 12-14 minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon. To test for doneness, cut into the thickest part of the salmon. According to Molly, it should be almost opaque but cooking will continue even when you pull it out of the oven. Serve immediately preferably with the simplest and freshest of sides (we did pine nut couscous and spinach salad).
It felt right to make a dish of Molly’s (even though I didn’t find it on her blog and it wasn’t in her book) for my first go with freshly caught salmon. Reading A Homemade Life I found myself laughing, crying (yes, this is food writing, she’s that good!) and completely identifying with her in numerous ways, from her love of France and food to her cheeky embarrassment about having a food blog (“umm…I take pictures of my dinner and put it on the internet…”)* I can relate!
Well, S. and I are off to see the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (ha-ha!), which cracks me up because we’re not that cultured. S. was able to get free tickets through work since they are performing at Eastern Michigan University tonight. And I’m late!