Salmon has become so popular that I often avoid it while dining out. I recall overdosing on chicken many years ago but have now found several innovative ways to prepare salmon.
In particular, I was delighted to find a delightful recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi for Pan-Seared Salmon with Celery, Olives, and Capers recently reprinted in the New York Times. For those unfamiliar with Mr. Ottolenghi, he is a British-Israeli chef who incorporates many Mediterranean flavors into his original cooking. This recipe for pan-seared salmon has become one of my favorites.
Salmon is a naturally oily fish and I always look forward to seeing the imaginative use of vegetables and spices. I was particularly drawn to the use currants and pine nuts. Although not featured in the title, they add a bit of color to an otherwise traditional presentation of salmon.
Although salmon is rarely found in Mediterranean cuisine, the use of fish in a diet is always welcome. For those looking for other original fish suggestions, do sample these recipes:
Yotam Ottolenghi’s Pan-Seared Salmon
- ⅔ cup of currants approximately 100 grams
- Generous pinch of saffron
- 4 salmon fillets (about 4 ounces each skin on
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil about 100 milliliters
- Salt and black pepper
- 4 celery sticks about 6 ounces or 180 grams, cut into 1/2-inch/1-centimeter dice, leaves removed and reserved for garnish
- ¼ cup of pine nuts roughly chopped
- ¼ cup drained capers plus 2 tablespoons of their brine
- 8 large green olives pitted and cut into 1/2-inch/1-centimeter dice
- ⅓ cup 20 grams parsley roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest finely grated
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Cover the currants with boiling water and set aside to soak for 20 minutes. In a separate small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of boiling water with the saffron and also leave for 20 minutes or longer.
- Gently rub the salmon fillets with 2 teaspoons of the oil, 1/3 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Set aside while you make the relish.
- Add 1/3 cup/75 milliliters of olive oil to a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the celery and pine nuts and fry for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the nuts begin to brown (watch carefully as they can burn quickly). Turn off heat and stir in the capers and their brine, the olives, saffron and its water and a pinch of salt. Drain the currants and add them as well, along with the parsley, lemon zest and juice. Mix well and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add salmon fillets skin-side down and let cook for 3 minutes, until the skin is crisp. Reduce the heat to medium, flip the fillets over and cook 2 to 4 minutes more (depending on how much you like the salmon to be cooked).
- Divide the salmon on 4 plates and serve with the warm relish spooned on top. Scatter reserved celery leaves (if using) and serve immediately.