I’ve been thinking about Greek flavors recently. Who knows why? Maybe it’s the warm weather. Those flavors—oregano, lemon, garlic, just seem so say, “Summer is here”. And salmon is the perfect foil for these flavors. Salmon is a wonderful fish and it lends itself so well to grilling. This version however, was done in the oven. It was a rainy day and The Goddess hasn’t filled the empty propane tank yet, so we go to Plan B…the oven! Or rather, the broiler.
First, we need to deal with the unevenness of the filet. God, in her infinite wisdom, did not make a fish filet the same thickness. So this means it won’t cook evenly. Anyway, a swimming brick isn’t going to go cutting through the water with great speed, is it? But, The Goddess, in her infinite wisdom (yeah, right!!!) can help you fix this little problem. We’re going to mess with nature. We’re going to even the tail end of the filet out. Here’s how: Place the filet, skin-side-down on our cutting board. By the way, this is the board I use for fish, chicken or pork, because I can simply toss this one in the dishwasher. Wood doesn’t fare well in the dishwasher…no, no, no. But, I digress. Using a very sharp, thin-bladed knife (a boning knife) and carefully slip the knife between the skin and the salmon (on the tail end). Gently cut, holding the knife at a very steep angle and cut the salmon flesh from the skin. You’re going to cut up about five or six inches up the filet, toward the head-end. Cut about 2-3 inches of the skin off and pitch it out. Don’t worry…this will make sense in a minute. Now you are able to fold the “flap” of salmon under itself on top of the skin. Just tuck it under. The “folded” end should just reach the end of the remaining skin.Like this. The narrow, tail-end of the fish should now be at about the same thickness as the wider, head-end of the filet. Move the whole filet onto a double thickness of ungreased foil; the foil should be about and inch or two wider than the filet and about four inches longer on the ends. Set it aside.
The topping is completely simple. I stir it all-together in a bowl or cup measure. Start schmearing it evenly over the top of the salmon. Drizzle the honey over and place the lemon slices on top.
Turn the broiler on HIGH. Place the fish/foil in an oven-proof skillet. Place the skillet over high heat; cook for about 2 minutes. The point of doing this is to begin to cook the fish from the bottom, just a little. There’s a reason. When you broil the oven is hot, but the concentration of heat is on the top. You don’t want the top to burn, just brown while the filet is uncooked in the center. This seems to do the trick. You’re going to broil for 6-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the filet.
Remove the skillet from the oven—CAREFUL, the handle is hot, hot, hot! Set aside to allow the salmon to rest for 2-3 minutes. I place the entire piece, foil and all on a platter and then serve it up and enjoy!
- 1 (2 1/2 pound) salmon filet, with the skin on
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh Greek oregano
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh mint
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 6-8 cherry tomatoes, diced (about a good 1/2 cup)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2-3 teaspoons honey
- 6 thin slices lemon
- Sumac (optional)
- Tzatziki (optional)
Remove any bones from the salmon; pat it dry. If you’re using a whole filet, you’ll need to even out the tail end. To do this, using a very sharp boning knife, carefully slide the knife along the skin, just under the flesh of salmon, separating the salmon from the skin, for about 4-5 inches. Carefully turn the salmon under, so the depth is about the same at the bottom, as it is at the top of the filet. Cut the excess skin; the skin is quite tough. Place on a doubled piece of foil just slightly wider and longer than the filet. Place it in the fish, in its “cradle” in an oven-proof skillet; set aside. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, except the honey and lemon slices. Stir until well mixed. Grind some salt and pepper over the filet. Pour the tomato mixture on top of the filet and evenly spread it to the edges. Drizzle the honey over the salmon; place the lemon slices evenly over the top.
When ready to serve, heat the broiler on HIGH. Place the skillet on the burner over high heat. Cook for 2 minutes. Place the skillet about 6-8 inches from the broiler. Broil for about 7-8 minutes, depending on how thick the filet is. Remember, it’s better to slightly under-cook the salmon than to over-cook it. Remove the foil/fish to a platter, tuck the foil under and slice into portions. Using a spatula, carefully slide it under the fish, with the skin under the spatula. Remove the filet, leaving the skin behind. Excellent with Tzatziki and Greek-Style Roasted Potatoes or rice.
Greek Salmon Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2016. All rights reserved.
As I mentioned, this can easily be done on the grill. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly. If you put the fish directly on a hot grill, when the fish is cooked, the skin will stick to the grill and you can use a large spatula to slide the salmon onto a platter leaving the skin behind. It works like a charm every time. Then, let the grill cool and you can just pitch the skin into the garbage.
By the way, in the heat of summer, when the garden tomatoes are wonderful, I’ll use those, but right now, I diced up yellow and red cherry tomatoes. They are your best option when it isn’t garden tomato season.
I like this served with Tzatziki, which I could eat by the bowl. But, you could just serve it with lemon wedges and it will still be wonderful. The texture is moist and very smooth. I served this with Greek-Style Roasted Potatoes and Greek Zucchini. Yeah, I think I got my Big Fat Greek “fix”! But, I’d do it all over again and will! Those potatoes were so good the next day…leftovers, remember? Life is good.