Each year in mid May, Pacific Northwesterners eagerly await the first shipment of Copper River Salmon from Alaska. It’s a short season that yields the most sought-after wild salmon for their rich omega-3 oils. Evidently the Copper River is no cake walk (or swim, rather), so these fish build up a well-above-average store of oils and fats. So yeah, it’s kind of a big deal here! And when you get your hands on some, you put a little extra thought into how it should be prepared. (And who you’re having over for dinner!)
I rolled into the Seattle Fish Company (in West Seattle) hoping to get my hands on some early this week. As soon as I placed my order, the mustachioed, aproned man behind the counter asked, “How are you gonna prepare it?”
Was this a test? Would my naïve midwestern roots deem me undeserving of this local delight? We chatted for a moment and I had him at Himalayan Salt Block. But regardless, it wasn’t an interrogation, Seattleites just get excited about this stuff!
Using a Himalayan Salt Block is a great way to sear and season fish perfectly. And don’t sweat oversalting. As long as you don’t use water-based sauces, the cooking process will very slowly and evenly initiate just enough. But first, you have to temper your block on the stove. Read more about how to do that here. While the salt block is slowly heating, make the glaze. Salt blocks are not an anti-stick surface, so using oil or some kind of glaze is essential. This mustard glaze is made with olive oil, so it was perfect.
Next, I chopped some fresh dill and cucumber for a light Tzatziki-style dipping sauce on the side. I thought this was a nice addition to the plate, but some of you purists out there may find the glaze is more than enough to satisfy. If you’re making any side dishes, now is a great time to get them started. I threw some fingerling potatoes in a pot of boiling water and got the baby broccoli ready to fire in the skillet.
Make sure you have everything in a nearly prepared state before placing the salmon on the block; it’s not a good time to have to multi-task. And make sure your salmon is nicely coated with glaze. Place the salmon on the block. Let it sear for a couple of minutes and flip. The skin will come off onto the block. No problem, you can scrape it off easily later.
Now, serve it up! But leave the block on the stove top to cool. It’s too hot to mess with immediate after use and stays pretty hot for about 30 minutes. You can carefully scrape away any large pieces of food that may be stuck on, but other than that, steer clear and go enjoy your dinner!
- 1 or 2 lb Copper River Salmon
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp grated lemon, rind
- 2 Tbs lemon, juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup no fat greek yogurt or sour cream
- 2 Tbs finely chopped cucumber
- 1 Tbs chopped fresh dill
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 squeeze fresh lemon
- 1 pinch pepper
- Slowly temper salt block over stove top for about 40 minutes
- Coat Salmon in glaze
- Place on hot salt block (skin down)
- Sear for a few minutes on each side or until desired middle temperature
- Coat with additional glaze, sprinkle lightly with finely chopped dill
- Let salt block cool before cleaning
- Combine all ingredients in small mixing bowl
- Whisk until smooth
- Coat salmon thoroughly
- Finely chop fresh dill and cucumber
- combine all ingredients in small bowl
- Stir until well combined
- Serve cool, on the side
- For more detailed instructions on how to cook & care for a Himalayan Salt Slab, visit seasalt.com or http://www.grainofsalt.com/2014/04/grill-himalayan-salt-slab/