One of my favorite ways to prepare salmon is to rub a zesty combination of spices into the fillet, let it sit to come to room temperature (and give the seasonings time to penetrate), pan fry the fish to create a crust, and then bake it until it’s cooked through – but only just.
This technique allows for a tremendous amount of leeway and creativity: I’ve done tenderloin seasonings – horseradish, mustard, thyme, and black pepper; I’ve used chili spice rubs with cumin and ground chipotles; crushed nuts or grated cheese can make a nice addition, as well.
This recipe uses a variety of Asian flavors to balance the richness of wild Alaskan salmon; it has just enough tang, and can be kicked up a few notches, for those who really like heat.
You will need:
- 1 lb. wild Alaskan salmon fillet
- Chinese 5 spice
- soy sauce (or tamari)
- Thai sweet chili sauce
- lime juice
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
2. Pour about a tablespoon and a half of Thai chili sauce over the surface of the fillet, and rub it in. This will create a sticky surface for your other seasonings to adhere to.
3. Sprinkle the fish with a healthy dose of 5 spice, along with a shake or two of cumin and a generous amount of freshly cracked black pepper. Drizzle with soy sauce, and set aside.
4. Heat a small amount of olive oil in an oven-proof skillet. Place the salmon skin-side-up into the skillet, searing the surface. When you can see the color of the fish changing on the cross-section of the fillet, flip the fish over. Shake soy sauce and a liberal squeeze of lime juice over the top and let cook for a couple of minutes.
5. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the fish is just cooked through. Baste periodically with lime juice to keep it moist.
Serve immediately with hot steamed rice and something fresh and green.