Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Seared Wild Salmon with Zucchini and Basil

Salmon has always been my favorite fish--it's incredibly easy to cook and when you get it right, the taste and texture are downright buttery. I've always heard that summer is the best time to buy wild salmon--something about how the fish build up lots of fat around this time of year in preparation to spawn. Not sure how pinpoint accurate my scientific reasoning is, but I do know that tastebuds don't lie, and if you spot some beautiful wild salmon (I try to stay away from the farmed stuff) you should snatch it up. It is, indeed, especially delicious right around now.

Here's a recipe from Cook This Now, by Melissa Clark, that's simple enough to let the flavor of the fish shine through. It also incorporates summer zucchini and basil, two more seasonal favorites that are ripe for the picking at farmers' markets right now. Pictures by Mark Iantosca. xo

Seared Wild Salmon with Zucchini and Basil
Serves 2
2 thick wild salmon fillets (6 to 8 ounces each)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 small zucchini, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch cubes
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Lime wedges, for serving

Season the salmon with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Cook until the foam subsides and the butter turns deep gold in color, about 2 minutes (watch it carefully to see that it does not burn).

Add the salmon to the pan, skin-side up. Cook, without turning, for 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and a pinch of salt to the pan around the salmon; stir to coat it with butter. Continue to cook, stirring the zucchini, until the underside of the fish turns dark golden, about 3 minutes longer. Flip the fish (push the zucchini to one side of the pan so that the fish can make contact with the pan). Add the garlic to the zucchini and stir. Cook the fish until done to taste, 2 to 4 minutes longer.

Stir the basil into the zucchini in the pan. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Spoon the zucchini and butter sauce over the fish and serve with lime wedges, encouraging people to squeeze them. This needs a tiny bit of acid to bring out all the flavors.


  1. Salmon and zucchini, yummmm. Thanks for sharing! xx

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