If you read my post about why and how to choose fish wisely, then you know that I think wild Alaskan salmon is a great choice for those who eat fish.
I generally gravitate toward Asian flavors when I make salmon- and I typically utilize the broiler or grill- so when I spied the recipe for Seared Wild Salmon with Brown Butter Cucumbers in Melissa Clark’s fabulous Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can’t Wait to Make, I thought it sounded like a nice change of pace. Plus how can you go wrong with a healthy dinner recipe that’s ready in under 15 minutes?
You’re not still afraid to eat or cook with butter, are you? Butter is a natural fat, and using it for cooking helps you better absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in your food (like vitamins A and D). Buy organic butter made from the cream of pastured cows if you can, but know that using even non-organic /non-pastured butter is far better than cooking with vegetable oils. While olive oil and coconut oil would certainly be healthy options in this recipe, butter is a classic pairing with fish, and for good reason: it tastes great.
Melissa’s recipe calls for 2 salmon fillets, but I only had 1 on hand. When served over brown rice along with a salad, I found this to be plenty of food for 2 people who weren’t starving.
Recipe for Seared Wild Salmon and Vegetables in Brown Butter
Yield: serves 1-2
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Melissa's recipe calls for Kirby cucumbers. I used lemon cucumbers from my garden instead, and threw in the jalapeno and corn because they weren't getting any younger in my fridge. Feel free to use whatever vegetables you have on hand: zucchini would definitely work well.
*1-2 thick wild salmon filets (6-8 ounces each); you can use fish that was frozen, but make sure it's fully defrosted before you cook it
*Coarse sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
*2 tablespoons unsalted butter, preferably organic/pastured
*1 large shallot, peeled and diced (or use 2 garlic cloves, as Melissa suggests)
*1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
*2 lemon cucumbers (or Kirby cucumbers), peeled and diced (I actually did not peel mine because they're homegrown and organic)
*kernels scraped from one ear of fresh corn
*2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or mint)
*Lime wedges, for serving
1. Season salmon with salt and pepper.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat (I used cast-iron), melt the butter. Allow it to bubble and start to brown, which will take about 2 minutes (don’t let it burn).
3. Add salmon (with the skin side up) and cook for two minutes without turning. Add the shallot and jalapeno and cook for about 45 seconds. Add the cucumbers and the corn, and cook for about 3 minutes, until the underside of the fish darkens and the vegetables are getting crisp around the edges.
4. Using a spatula so it does not break apart, flip the salmon over. Keep stirring the vegetables around and cook for another 2-4 minutes, until the salmon is cooked to taste (I like mine on the rare side, so I took the pan off the heat at 2 minutes).
5. Add the basil or mint to the pan and stir it in with the vegetables. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve the salmon with the vegetables spooned over and the lime squeezed on top: I ate this over short grain brown rice; Melissa notes that it’s great with boiled soba noodles dressed with sesame oil and salt, as well.
Adapted from Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can't Wait to Make by Melissa Clark.