I was wondering what to fix for dinner, and then I saw the Copper River Salmon at the store. If you are lucky enough to see this magnificent fish for sale, take out a second mortgage and buy some. The flavor and texture are like no other salmon I've tasted, due to the arduous journey the fish make in frigid waters. The journey is so long and difficult the fish have a higher fat and oil content, which gives them a better taste. I didn't want to mask the flavor by being heavy handed with the fish, and chose to pan roast it and prepare a simple relish made with thyme, olives and orange juice and zest to serve with it. As I was making the relish, I wasn't sure if it would taste good. However, the finished dish was terrific. I could taste all the different ingredients--sweet, acidic, floral, and salty. It was perfect with the salmon, but it would work with other fish too.
This is my submission for Weekend Herb Blogging, which was created by our fearless leader Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen. WHB has returned back to Kalyn's for this week. So, if you want to make an herby dish, send it to her before time runs out. She has all the info at her site. My herb of choice this week is thyme. I have a large pot of it on my patio, always at the ready for seasoning a dish. Thyme is a very tough and fragrant herb, one of my favorites! It shines in this relish, holding its own against the orange, shallots and olive oil.
Salmon With Kalamata Olive, Orange, Thyme, And Celery Relish
(Adapted from The Mustard's Grill Napa Valley Cookbook)
grated zest and juice from one large orange
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
about 1 Tablespoon of thinly sliced shallots
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pitted, thinly sliced kalamata olives
1 celery heart, thinly sliced--including the heart and leaves
1 Tablespoon chopped Italian parsely
1-1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
2-4 salmon fillets about 6-8 ounces each
salt and ground black pepper
Cherry tomatoes for garnish
Wash, dry and season the fish with salt and pepper. Put a teaspoon of olive oil in a heavy non-stick skillet and heat the pan until hot. Cook the salmon non-sjin side down for about 3 minutes, then turn to the other side and cook for 3-4 mintes more or until the salmon is cooked to a point where it's translucent in the center, when you check with the tip of a knife. Do not overcook! Do not cook until it "flakes". By then, you will have overcooked it.
Place each fillet on top of a spoonful of the relish. Then put a small amount of it on top and around the fillet. Scatter cherry tomatoes on the dish and serve.