New Recipe: Oven-Roasted Salmon with Tarragon and Shallots

  Salmon, shown here with a side of mushroom risotto, which I am still perfecting my recipe for

Salmon, shown here with a side of mushroom risotto, which I am still perfecting my recipe for

Dear Readers,

If you're new to cooking with salmon, this oven-roasted recipe is how I first learned to cook it, and is still one of my favorites.  It's handy for nights when you don't feel like cooking, but still need something to eat that's filling and nutritious.  Please click here for the recipe!  

I first learned to cook salmon this way from my Whole Foods fishmonger in Birmingham, Alabama, who was such a great guy and who got me eating fish for the first time.  (Well, I'd had popcorn shrimp at restaurants in Florida, does that count??  I used to love those suckers.)  He told me to just start out by sprinkling any kind of fish seasoning on the fillets that looked good, and then cooking them in butter as directed in my recipe.  I picked up the fancy-shmancy tarragon, etc. from Mark Bittman. BTW, I always cook the fillets with the skin on--way easier to remove after they're cooked than beforehand.

Salmon is one of the least-fishy fish out there, and I also love it because in the past 6 years of cooking with fresh and frozen salmon, I have yet to encounter any round worms.

(I know, gross.  Sorry.  I ran into some in a batch of frozen cod I bought once, and now I stick with salmon.  That was probably one of my highest-ick-factor cooking moments ever, those worms in the cod.  Ewwww!!!  Has that ever happened to you?  Practically turns you off fish for life.)  

The main thing to watch out for when cooking with salmon (and really, most fish fillets in general) is the pin bones, which are thin, white, needle-sharp bones that you really don't want to eat.  If you're buying fresh salmon from your fishmonger, do yourself a favor and request that they remove the pin bones for you: I've never had anyone tell me no, and it saves a lot of hassle later.  If you're buying frozen fillets, you'll want to double-check them yourself before cooking.  Your diners can also remove them at the table as well, if they're eating carefully--they pull out easily once the fillets are cooked.

Salmon is really good for you, as long as it hasn't been grown on a farm--look for wild-caught, Alaskan sockeye and coho salmon for some of the best flavor out there.  Yum.

Yours Truly,