So I was finally getting to some old mail and found a big catalog-sized envelope. I opened it and found a Taste of Home Holiday Healthy Cooking magazine, and a note thanking me for my recipe submission and telling me that it was published on page 51. (And that I could buy additional copies for $2. Thanks.)
I barely remember sending it in, but it really is one of my treasured recipes. Years ago, my ex and I had the best pan-seared salmon at Martin House in Provincetown. (A side note: Martin House used to be the best place in P’town – cozy, open year-round, creative, well-conceived and well-prepared. I am so sad to read on Chowhound and other sites that it’s slipped and maybe been sold. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll find their way back to excellence by the time I make it back to the Cape.)
After we were back from that long-ago vacation, I set to work re-creating the dish, and came up with this. It was an instant family favorite, and stayed in heavy rotation for a long time. These days, I’m pretty conflicted about eating salmon like I used to. I’m ducking as I say this, but I love the taste of the farm-raised Atlantic stuff. It’s fatty and forgiving to cook and doesn’t have too strong a flavor for the fish-phobic at heart (not me!). I really want to like the wild-caught Alaskan, but I just don’t. And since I don’t want to feed my family the toxic PCB-laden fish o’ death, we don’t eat much salmon these days. (How do you deal with this? Please let me know!)
Anyway, for the brave-at-heart: I’ve re-modified to make it more like the original recipe. Apparently, Taste of Home found mine a little more complex than they like, but really – my way is better. Starting the salmon on the stove top and then finishing it in the oven gives it a nice crust and great appearance, while also keeping it moist by getting it on a lower heat that doesn’t dry it out. ToH does it all on the stove-top, 4 – 6 minutes per side. Go ahead and do it that way if you want, but it won’t be as good.
Also, I don’t think I would have done carrots just with butter & parsley. Though I do love to just have the steamed baby organic carrots as a quick, easy vegetable (as if I could get them into my children), we could do something just as easy but a tiny bit more interesting. Maybe a splash of olive oil, a dash of butter, a sprinkle of salt, and a smidgen of dried orange peel and cayenne?
Reprinted and adapted from Taste of Home Healthy Cooking, December/January 2009
3 c. fresh baby carrots
1 c. instant brown rice
1 c. reduced-sodium chichen broth
1/4 t. pepper, divided
3 t. chili powder (I especially like this with green chile powder that I got in Santa Fe a few years back, but it’s really hard to find)
1/2 t. salt
4 salmon fillets (4 oz. each)
2 t. olive oil
1 T. minced fresh parsley
1 t. butter
- Heat oven to 350.
- Place carrots in a steamer basket; place in a small saucepan over 1″ of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and steam for 12 minutes or until crisp-tender.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the rice, broth, and 1/8 t. teaspoon pepper to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Combine salt and chili powder, and rub over salmon. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet until rippling. Carefully place salmon, skin-side up, let cook for 3 minutes, and then flip and cook for additional 2 minutes.
- Place salmon into pre-heated oven, and cook for 10 minutes per inch of thickness (reduce the time if it’s less than an inch, increase if it’s more).
- Remove rice from the heat, let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Combine carrots, parsley, butter and remaining pepper in a bowl. Serve with salmon and rice.