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Tarragon vinaigrette a wonderful complement to fresh salmon


    A good piece of fish needs very little to make it perfect. In this recipe, the brisk, anisey-tangy flavor of tarragon vinaigrette is a wonderful complement to the lushness of salmon fillets.

A good piece of fish needs very little to make it perfect. Here, the brisk, anisey-tangy flavor of tarragon vinaigrette is a wonderful complement to the lushness of salmon fillets.

If you start with excellent salmon and super-fresh herbs, and don’t overcook the fish, you cannot mess this up. It’s a less-is-more dish.

The mix of orange and lemon juices in the vinaigrette provides a nice balance of sweetness and tanginess.

I love starting fish in a pan on the stove (make sure your fish is fairly thick, about 1-inch or even thicker) and then transferring it to the oven to finish cooking. Here are the three main reasons why:

>> You can use the oven to cook something else to go with the fish, whether it’s roasted potatoes or other vegetables.

>> If you are cooking the fish with the skin on, you can get that pan screaming hot before you add the fish, and when the skin hits the pan it starts to crisp up immediately. It then stays crisp and delicious and great to eat. Soft fish skin: not good. Crisp fish skin: a fabulous counterpoint to a well-cooked, soft, delicate fish.

>> Perhaps best of all: You don’t have to flip the fish, which even for the most confident and experienced cooks doesn’t always end well.

Salmon is available everywhere because it’s so good and so popular. If you can get wild Alaskan salmon, do yourself (and the environment) a favor and buy it. It has a more pronounced flavor than farm-raised, so you’re getting the full salmon experience.

And because the Alaskan seafood folks are vigilant about sustainability and harvesting practices, you know you’re eating salmon that has no growth hormones, artificial coloring, preservatives or added stuff that you might be wondering about in fish.

Serve this with rice and a green salad, or a whole-grain salad mixed with some fresh or roasted vegetables.


By Katie Workman

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 4 (6-ounce) fillets salmon, 1-inch thick, skin on if desired
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • >> Tarragon Vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Coarse or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Heat a heavy, ovenproof skillet over high; and add olive oil.

Brush more oil over each piece of salmon, and season with salt and pepper. Add salmon to pan, skin side down. Sear about 3 minutes (don’t move fish). Transfer to oven and roast 5 to 8 minutes, to preferred doneness.

Meanwhile, combine vinaigrette ingredients in small container; shake.

Serve fish hot or warm, with vinaigrette. Serves 4.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 285 calories, 14 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 109 mg cholesterol, 605 mg sodium, 2 g carbohydrate, no fiber, 37 g protein.

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