Wednesday, July 28, 2004


I found this recipe in a cookbook I got from the library not too long ago, yet now I can’t recall the book’s name or identify it in the library catalog. Ah, well. Apologies in advance to the copyright holder. (Although I’m told people can’t copyright actual recipes—the lists of ingredients and measurements—only the precise phrasing of the directions, and I’ll be rephrasing those to reflect my own haphazard methodology anyway.)

I spent most of my life really disliking fish and seafood, but I’m slowly coming around. It started with a growing love of sushi, which got an extra jolt from a surprisingly enjoyable introduction to raw oysters (courtesy of my friend C). I still like fish raw best—the cold, tender, almost buttery texture and the fresh, sort of cucumber-like flavor—but I’ve been venturing into the cooked realm. I had delicious lobster ravioli at an Italian restaurant in Boston (thank you, K) and a series of tentative eating-out encounters with salmon and fried walleye. When I moved to California, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands and try preparing fish myself. Salmon seemed the most approachable. I think this is my fourth attempt (though my first with this particular recipe), and I’ve been pleased with all the results—easy and light, but sophisticated. And this recipe was good. I’d feared it might be too bland, but my worry was unfounded. After all, how could you go wrong when garlic and butter are involved? I made only two servings (I’m not still quite keen enough on fish to enjoy it as leftovers), but I’ll give you the full recipe here. We ate it with a side of steamed asparagus, which was perfect with a little of the lemon-garlic-butter juices from the fish pan spooned over it. We had strawberry shortcake for dessert; all very summery. Would definitely make this again.

2 cloves garlic
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1½ pound center-cut salmon fillet, skinned and cut crosswise into 4 portions
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for garnish
¼ cup minced fresh parsley

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Mince the garlic and smoosh it into the butter with a fork in a small bowl, then add the salt and pepper and smoosh again.

3. Skin the salmon if necessary, and place it in a single layer in a 9x13 baking dish. Spread the garlic butter on top of the salmon, then drizzle it with the lemon juice.

4. Bake 10-15 minutes, until the salmon is just cooked through. Pull the salmon out of the oven, place the pieces on plates, sprinkle them with parsley, and squeeze the lemon-wedge garnishes over them.

Serves: 4
Time: Very quick. Maybe 30 minutes, at most.

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