One of my favourite go-to recipes is garlic butter salmon. Growing up, a special treat was always when my dad would come home from the grocery store with a whole Atlantic salmon, imported from Norway (one of the world’s largest producers of farmed salmon). I’d always watch him stuff the salmon full of tons of chopped garlic, slabs of butter, and the occasional sprig of thyme. He’d generously salt and pepper it, and throw it in the oven, and soon enough, the whole family would be having a dinner that seemed like it took a lot of work, when in fact, it was the easiest thing in the world!
Now, having a marine background, this post might be a bit nerdy. Here in British Columbia, Canada, where salmon are one of the most important species culturally and economically, the locals tend to hate on farmed salmon. A lot of the negativity is fueled by the media and/or misinformation, although some reasons to dislike farmed salmon are definitely legitimate. Whatever your environmental opinion of farmed salmon is, there is something to be said for their value in cooking. In Canada, all Atlantic salmon you get in the supermarket are farmed. The wild population of Atlantic salmon is unmarketable because of its scarcity. Atlantic salmon are also the classic farmed salmon, because they are docile, and as a result can be packed into net pens closer together with minimal aggression between individuals. I think of it as farming cows as opposed to wild bison. As a result of their lack of feistiness, they’re pretty fatty as far as salmon go, and therefore their flesh is buttery and smooth. I know some people who prefer Atlantic salmon sashimi over other types of salmon, because of the higher fat content. If you want a leaner salmon, something like wild sockeye would be more suitable.
And so, because I wanted a smooth, buttery texture to my fish, I chose Atlantic salmon for my recipe. I tend to really like fatty fish, and black cod is another to try if you’re like me.
I served the baked salmon with a caesar salad and home-made croutons too! Also, because I was cooking for two, and not a family, I used salmon fillets instead of a whole fish, but you can make it any way you like.
- 2 Atlantic salmon fillets
- Romaine lettuce
- Parmesan cheese
- Olive oil
- Anchovy paste
- Lemon juice
- Worcestershire sauce
- Olive oil
- Chopped garlic
First I made the croutons in advance. I love buying baguettes, but can never finish it before it gets stale, so I freeze them in individual portions. Bread freezes beautifully, and is so handy for times like this. I defrosted a few inches of baguette, chopped it up into squares, and tossed in a bowl with olive oil, finely chopped garlic, salt, and a little bit of dried basil.
I also tried two methods of making croutons: baked and pan-fried. Here are the two finished, side by side. The baked croutons are on the left, and the pan-fried ones are on the right:
They look almost identical! They were both good and crunchy, although I have to admit, the ones that were baked were almost effortless, whereas the pan ones involved standing over the stove, making sure they didn’t burn. So now I know: baked croutons only from now on!
I like baking my salmon wrapped in foil. I find that it keeps the moisture in (and keeps your dishes clean)! Here are my salmon fillets loaded up with a ton of garlic and slices of butter.
Wrap it up, and pop into the oven at 350C for like… 20min max maybe. As you can tell, the way I cook is very approximate. My style is more Jamie Oliver than Gordon Ramsay!
In the meanwhile, you can make the dressing by blending it all together, and chopping up your veggies for the salad. Don’t add the croutons till the very last minute so that they stay as crunchy as possible! Also, this was an oily version of a cesar salad dressing, and not your classic creamy dressing. It was delicious! Then, when the salmon is done, serve together! Easy peasy!