Salmon in Lemon Butter

Posted: 2012/03/13 in Uncategorized

Fish. Americans have issues with cooking fish correctly. Unfortunately or fortunately we have cultural fears hard wired about not cooking our food to the point just before it reaches the charcoal briquette state so we don’t all end up spending the evening in Emergency with Salmonella or Ecoli. The admonition to NOT eat undercooked food was second only to Don’t Talk To strangers or god forbid accept candy from them in our life lessons from our parents. To this day I have trouble accepting a piece of candy from anyone I didn’t go to kindergarten with. Makes for some bleak Valentine’s Days I can tell you. Anyway that poor fish did not give up its life just to be cooked to taste like a wad of Kleenex. Respect the fish. It was probably our ancient ancestor at some point in our evolutionary process. Oh and if the vague concept of cannibalism flashed across your brain I apologize. Being a (lapsed) Catholic I have been brainwashed since infancy on the issue. You get used to having some stranger push something the size of a silver dollar in your mouth and assure you you were eating Jesus’ body…yeah try choking that down. Did I mention you could not, under penalty of a yet another sin, chew Jesus’ body bits? I was usually half way home after mass before I could bring myself to flip that wafer to the back of my  throat and let gravity do its thing. OK back to fish.
Oh well one more thing. When I cook I crank up some music…You might say I choreograph and cook. I dance and sing along. It horrifies the cats but I have a good time. Plus you are in a good mood – which is crucial to cooking. If you’re having a real bad day or the monkey on your back is bleak suicidal despair I suggest ordering take-away. Have a pizza delivered. A nice cheesy hot pizza with a crunchy crust will if not put you off suicide will certainly delay it until you finish the pizza. Anyway I am listening to the Tom Waits ‘Bad As Me album’. If this doesn’t get yah going yer dead on the inside. “It takes a raised right man to keep a happy hen…” OK back to fish.

Lets go for a nice thick Salmon fillet. I never grasped the Salmon ‘steak’ thing with the bit of fish spine in the center…so ignore those. I know salmon is relatively expensive – often its touted as being ‘Wild Caught” – yeah like bears stand in the rivers with large buckets snatching up passing salmon just for YOU.  The same bears that are shot for their glands which are sent to Japan for failing libidos – oh don’t get me started.  Ok…we have probably all eaten sushi so we KNOW even raw fish will not kill us on the spot. So trust me on this.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a saute pan and squeeze juice of 1 large lemon in the butter. OK my cave woman method for doing the lemon is to halve it and dig my fingers inside until I reach the pith and rind. I cup my hand to catch any seed that may fall out but let the juice and pulp drip through. What smells better than fresh lemon juice on your hands? I don’t know. Not much. Once the butter/lemon is hot but not turning brown or YIKES black slide in the fish skin side down. If the butter/lemon starts to turn brown reduce your heat.’s the great method – spoon the hot butter/lemon over the top of the fish…it will cook the top side of the fish. It should take no more than 7 minutes. The fish will continue to cook after you remove it from the pan. If you like the darkened crispy bits turn your fish flesh side down just before removing for a minute. That’s it – no salt, no pepper, and for the love of an imaginary god please no paprika!  If you feel compelled beyond all reason to decorate the fish remember all those chopped up fresh herbs will detract from the fish taste. Maybe sprinkle your chopped herbs around the edge of the plate and your X-Mas tree bough sized branch of rosemary not ON the fish but off to the side somewhere. If one of your guests asks for Tartar Sauce…show them the door – they have issues.
Anything imaginable can be served as a side to fish EXCEPT cheese. One great looking side is fire roasted asparagus. Just coat fresh stem peeled asparagus with olive oil and if you are lacking a stove top grill use long metal tongs with the handles wrapped in a towel or held by an oven mitten (no burned fingers)…grasp 4-6 spears in the tongs and hold over a burner flame. NO do not extrapolate and use your vanilla scented candle. They will get a great grilled look and who doesn’t love slightly carbonized vegetables? You can microplane a little fresh lemon rind over the asparagus once plated up…REMEMBER graters can cut you!
So Voila! Enjoy the taste and texture of the fish.

  1. Baxter Aubin says:

    I once bought a nice big piece of what I thought was salmon in the Wastelands, but after I started eating it the bones seemed a little large. A call to the medical examiner quickly clarified the situation. It was actually part of a human chest. Still, with a little lemon and garlic butter, it wasn’t too bad.

  2. A little advice here Bax…anything sold as “fish-thing” from Malady Bog should be avoided. Also – quality salmon has no bones – part of the OUCH price tag contains the fee for some sad person’s day spent standing in the stench of rotting fish bits painstakingly removing those tiny thread like bones for you…

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