Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Roasted Salmon with Potatoes and Herbed Creme Fraiche

Salmon is, without a doubt, my absolute favorite fish. I eat it smoked on a bagel, slathered with homemade sriracha and roasted, seared in golden olive oil, and wrapped snugly in a heavy-duty foil packet with a smattering of herbs and veggies and thrown into the oven. And if you stumble upon the good stuff--salmon that is fresh and fatty and in-season, it doesn't really matter what you do to it, it will taste like butter and please the toughest dinner crowds imaginable.

You'll want to shop for wild salmon because the wild stuff > farmed, every single time. Unfortunately, unless you live in Alaska or the Northwest, where fresh salmon will apparently jump out of the waters and into your bare, eagerly waiting hands, salmon is only in season from mid-to-late summer. Fortunately, that time is now, so carpe diem, and all that, because come fall, you'll be staring glumly at a glass case full of pale, farmed salmon serving as your only sad options. And you don't even want to think about the toxic, unsanitary conditions those poor little guys are raised in, believe me.

But back to happier times! Summer! Yay. Here is a new favorite way to utilize one of the best jewels of the season. This preparation takes a decidedly Nordic bent, and uses the brightness of fresh herbs mixed with a dab of creamy creme fraiche to season the fish, and pairs the whole thing with tender young potatoes. So good.

Roasted Salmon with Potatoes and Herbed Creme Fraiche
1 1/2 lbs small, waxy potatoes, scrubbed
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Salmon and Assembly
1 1 1/2 lb piece of wild salmon, skin on
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt
1/2 cup creme fraiche
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, dill, and/or tarragon, plus tarragon and dill sprigs for serving

Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and add cold water to cover by 1"; season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, 15-20 minutes; drain and pat dry. Let cool slightly, halve potatoes and toss with oil; season with salt.

Salmon and Assembly
Preheat oven to 400 F. Place salmon, skin side down, on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet; rub with 1 Tbsp. oil and season with salt. Roast until medium-rare (mostly opaque but still slightly translucent in the center), 10-15 minutes. Break up salmon into pieces, removing skin if desired.

Whisk creme fraiche and chopped herbs in a small bowl; season with salt.

Spread herbed creme fraiche on plates and top with salmon, potatoes, and tarragon and dill sprigs; drizzle with oil.


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