Thursday, February 28, 2013

Salmon with a Creamy Dill Sauce

Salmon is one of the healthiest foods in existence. It is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for a healthy heart and brain. However, many people find salmon to be a difficult meat to add to their diet. It can taste a little too fishy for those with sensitive palates, and if ill-prepared, it is taste dry and unflavorful.  This recipe combats both of these issues. The Creamy Dill Sauce overcomes any fishy taste that might be associated with the salmon, and the pan-seared cooking method is from America's Test Kitchen, the scientists of the cooking world.  In other words, it is a tried and true cooking method that has proven to be the best way to cook salmon.  Other benefits of this dish?  Well, for starters, it's delicious. It is also easy and quick to make (under 15 minutes), and the nutritional profile is a dieter's dream. 

Salmon with a Creamy Dill Sauce
Serves 2

1/4 Cup Light Sour Cream
1 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Dried Dill
1/8 tsp Garlic Powder
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
8 oz Salmon Fillet
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 tsp Canola Oil


1. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, mustard, lemon juice, dill, garlic, and cayenne.  Put in the fridge and allow to chill until the salmon is done.

2. Heat a 10-12" heavy bottom skillet (cast iron is the best) over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.  Salt & pepper the salmon.

3. Add the oil to the skillet, and swirl to coat the bottom. Once the oil is hot (but not smoking), place the salmon in the skillet, skin side down.  Do not move the salmon; allow it to sit in the same spot (over medium-high heat) for 4 1/2 minutes to 5 minutes, or until the bottom half turns opaque.

4. Flip the salmon and cook, without moving again, for 3 1/2 more minutes to achieve a medium-doneness.  Remove from the pan and plate, allowing to sit to stand for one additional minute before serving.

5. Top the salmon with several dollops of the chilled dill sauce.

Serving Size: 1/2 the Salmon with 1/2 the Dill Cream Sauce
Calories: 307
Fat: 17
Carbs: 3
Protein: 33

* This recipe is easily doubled or tripled, if need be.
* If you don't want to pan sear the salmon, you can broil it or bake it. I used to bake mine, until I tried searing it with a cast iron skillet--and found it to be so much tastier that way!  But if you want to bake it, seal the salmon in an aluminum foil pouch, and bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until it easily flakes with a fork.
* It's so important that you do NOT overcook the fish. It makes it taste dry and plain. That's why I rarely order salmon at restaurants; it's almost always overcooked. I only trust myself (well, sort of) and fancy restaurants (mostly) to not overcook the delicate fish.
* When I order my salmon from the butcher, I ask for it to be trimmed of fat with the pinbones removed, so that I don't have to do that myself.  I do keep the skin/scales on one side, because it holds the fish together. I just eat around the skin when I serve it, but you can peel it off after you cook it, if you prefer.  
* If you don't get your fish de-boned and trimmed beforehand, google how to properly do it yourself. I have no clue :)

Perfectly cooked salmon!

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