Jazzing up a hearty salmon steak
By Carol Mighton Haddix
Salmon has such a rich flavor that it's often best to keep it simple when cooking it. However, as a fan of black pepper, I love to coat a salmon fillet generously with that fragrant, hot spice. Sometimes it's just freshly ground black pepper from my peppermill. Sometimes it's cracked pepper for an appealing look. Sometimes, it's a blend of white, black and red peppers.
Specialty peppers also take well to fish. Head to your nearest spice merchant to find them. I especially like the mild Aleppo red pepper from Syria, or the Espelette from France.
A good side dish with this salmon is lightly steamed asparagus. Or serve it on top of baby greens tossed with an herb vinaigrette.
Not a fan of spice? Coat the fillets with chopped fresh herbs instead.
Cook the salmon in a heavy cast-iron skillet, and you can finish it by roasting it uncovered in a 350-degree oven about 8 minutes.
These spicy flavors call for a fruity, slightly sweet wine such as riesling or gewurztraminer.
SPICY PEPPERED SALMON FILLETS WITH HORSERADISH DRIZZLE
• 4 salmon fillets, about 6 ounces each
• 1 to 2 teaspoons freshly ground or cracked pepper
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 3/4 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
• 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
• 1 tablespoon milk
• 4 sprigs fresh dill or parsley
Sprinkle salmon with pepper and salt on both sides; pat lightly so spices adhere. Heat olive oil in large skillet over high heat; add salmon, skin side up. Cook to sear, about 2 minutes. Carefully turn with spatula. Cook to sear, about 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to low; cover skillet. Cook until salmon is almost cooked through, about 4 minutes, depending on thickness. Transfer to platter or plates.
Meanwhile, mix together sour cream and horseradish in a bowl; stir in enough milk to make drizzling consistency. Drizzle over salmon; top each fillet with a dill sprig.
Makes 4 servings.
• Per serving: 330 calories, 51 percent of calories from fat, 18 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 114 mg cholesterol, 1 g carbohydrates, 39 g protein, 241 mg sodium, 0 g fiber