Pan Seared Salmon with Chive Dill Butter


So I know it’s been a while again since my last post, but what can I say….. I just get busy and unfortunately my blog and even making new recipes in general takes a back seat for a while.  But I always come back!  I left off with my first installment of a new project called Kids in the Kitchen, and though I haven’t had time to fit in another between busy school schedules, mini vacations and illnesses it’s still on my to-do list so be watching for that!  In the meantime I am hoping things have settled down enough that I can focus on making new and, in keeping with my current mindset of eating lighter and losing some of this holiday weight, healthier recipes.

First up on the menu is this Pan Seared Salmon with Chive Dill Butter.  I will share my technique/recipe below, but this is one of those great recipes that has a lot of versatility.  All you’re doing is preparing a piece of salmon and mixing whatever flavors you want into some butter to top it off.  Super simple.  I served this with some grilled asparagus drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper, and some smashed potatoes.  This was my first time trying smashed potatoes and all I can say is now I am a believer!  So good, with a crispy outside, seasoned just right, and soft in the middle….. but let’s get back to the salmon lol.

I will admit, I have struggled to cook salmon in the past.  It’s not particularly hard, but cooking fish in general takes practice to get it done right where you get that nice crust on top and the fish is nicely cooked through.  I have either had it stick in my pan, or ended up with somewhat undercooked fish in the middle of a nice thick piece of fish.  With time, however, I have gotten the hang of it.  Although I switched over to stainless steel cookware some time ago to cut down on my use of non-stick and their chemicals. fish is something I pretty much always use nonstick for.  Specifically, I use a a Rachel Ray Anodized Nonstick skillet and it works beautifully for giving me a nice crust, but avoiding the dreaded stick.  Another very important tip when cooking fish to ensure it doesn’t stick and gets great crust is to leave it alone once you have placed it in the pan.  It may be tempting to lift the edges to check, or slide it around to see if it’s sticking but don’t.  Trust me.  And don’t forget to use oil or butter or something to grease your pan.  Once it’s done on one side according to your recipe’s directions flip it once and again leave it alone til it’s time to come out.  It also helps to take your fish out a few minutes early to bring the temp up just a bit before you start, and make sure it’s dry…. especially if you are cooking with previously frozen fish.  Of course, as with pretty much all food, seasoning is important, so don’t forget to season before you place it in the pan!

Now that we talked a bit about cooking a nice piece of salmon, let’s talk about the butter…. as I mentioned it’s a versatile method.  You could put whatever herbs or seasonings in this you like.  The butter will melt beautifully over the warm fish and give that richness that takes a boring piece of fish to a whole new level, imparting the flavors you incorporated at the same time.  For this recipe I used some fresh chives, dill, garlic, lemon and some salt and pepper.  It’s important to start with room temperature butter for this, so don’t forget to take it out in advance.  You could even make the butter in advance and either use it hard from the fridge, or take it out a little before for a softer butter…. and any leftovers can be used on other meats, bread, or whatever sounds good to you.

As a natural casualty to having to photograph my food before I can eat it my salmon had cooled a bit while I was setting up so my butter wasn’t melting over it right away as I would have liked for the photos, so you’ll have to use your imagination a bit.

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Pan Seared Salmon with Chive Dill Butter

Ingredients :

  • salmon fillets (about a lb) * I used salmon with the skin
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 T. butter, at room temp * I just eyeballed how much butter so this is estimation
  • drizzle of olive oil (about 1/2 tsp. perhaps)
  • fresh chives, chopped (about 1 tsp. or so)
  • fresh dill, chopped (about 1 tsp or so)
  • salt and pepper to taste (separate from the salt and pepper above)
  • garlic clove, minced
  • lemon zest
  • Lemon wedges (for serving with the fish)

Directions :

  1.  Make your butter first.  To your room temp butter add your herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, the garlic, lemon zest (by preference but about a tsp or so), and some salt and pepper.  Using a small spatula sort of stir/whip it up until well combined and set aside.  If making ahead put back in the fridge.  You can either use it straight from the fridge later on, or let it warm up just a bit so it’s a little softer.
  2. Prepare you salmon.  If you are using previously frozen salmon be sure to pat dry before you start.  Season your salmon with a bit of salt and pepper (I like to use coarse salt when seasoning meat).  If you are using salmon with skin you don’t need to season that side, but if not I would suggest doing both sides.
  3. Heat the T. of oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat.  If using skin-on salmon place it in your pan skin UP so you get the nice crust from that first bit of heat on the top of your fish first.  Once you have set your fish in your pan DON’T TOUCH IT for about 4-5 minutes.  You see the fish start to turn opaque towards the middle and the edges will start to brown.  Flip it and cook an additional 4-5 minutes.  Of course the cook-time depends on the thickness of your fish, so take that into consideration, and watch for the fish to become opaque all the way through.
  4. Remove from pan and top with a dollop of your prepared butter.  Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Note : Amounts for the herbs in the butter are estimations and I encourage you to use more or less to your tastes.  I like a nice punch of flavor and likely used more than stated above.

Broiled Salmon with Mustard Dill Sauce


Rather than drag the kids to the store with me, which let’s face it is a nightmare, I like to wait until my husband is home before I go grocery shopping.  This is fine, except that by the time I am done it’s getting a bit late, and I often don’t feel like cooking anymore.  This is where super quick and easy meals come in!  Fish is a great option because if you buy fresh you need to use it right away anyway, and most preparations of it are fast.  I had planned to make some roasted potatoes with this, which admittedly would have added a good deal of time to the process, but luckily for me I forgot the potatoes.  I did get some asparagus though, and I knew between the two of us we had more than enough salmon so I just decided that would be dinner.  It ended up being plenty for me, but I am sure my husband would have liked to have the potatoes too.  Anyway, I sauteed the asparagus up while the salmon broiled and this meal came together lightning quick, and with very little work!

I actually can’t recall whether I have broiled fish before.  I have baked it plenty of times, but I guess I worried that the high heat of the broil on the top only would leave the middle uncooked before the top started to burn.  I am happy to report, at least this time, that is the not the case.  It was perfectly cooked through without being dry and had a nice bit of crust on top.   The recipe was originally for a much larger fillet of salmon, but for the two of us I halved the recipe.  That’s still 1.25lbs of fish!  Mine were cut into 4 individual fillets, so they cooked faster than the suggested time, so watch it closely when you put it in.  The sauce is easy to throw together, but if you want to save even more time, or allow for more time for the flavors to marry you could make it that morning and throw it in the fridge or even the night before.  Just make sure to give it a good whisk before serving it.

The flavors, though simple, were fantastic.  I was a little surprised by the step to rub soy sauce on the salmon, but whatever purpose it serves must be worth it because the salmon alone was great.  Combine that with the creamy sauce with that bit of grain and spice of mustard and the tang of the dill and you have a perfect pairing.  I used some of the sauce to drizzle on my asparagus as well.

Salmon isn’t the cheapest protein out there…. I think for 1.25lbs I paid close to 20.00!  To me that’s a lot, but we don’t eat salmon that often so I don’t mind splurging every once in a while.  Because it doesn’t fit into most people’s daily budget, however, I think it often becomes a “company dish”.  This not only has great flavor, but looks beautiful on the plate and would be great to serve to your guests.  I would just suggest rounding out the meal with something like… oh I don’t know… roasted potatoes and asparagus! lol.  Just don’t forget the potatoes like me and you’re golden.

 

Broiled Salmon with Mustard Dill Sauce

Ingredients :

  • 2.5 – 3 lb salmon fillet
  • soy sauce for rubbing the salmon
  • fresh bay leaves and thyme sprigs for garnish (I didn’t bother)
  • 1/2 cup coarse-grained mustard
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill, or to taste

Directions :

  1. To make sauce, in a bowl combine the mustard, water, cream, oil, sugar, and dill.  Whisk together until well combined and set aside.  If making ahead be sure to chill in fridge, and re-whisk before serving.
  2. Preheat broiler.
  3. Rinse salmon and pat dry.  Arrange skin side down (mine were skinless) on a foil-lined pan and rub thoroughly with soy sauce.  Season with salt and pepper and broil about 4 inches from the heat for 12-15 minutes or until just cooked through.  Transfer salmon to a platter and garnish with herbs.
  4. Serve salmon warm or at room temperature with mustard dill sauce.

Recipe from A Chow

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