A simple technique with great results

Salmon is a perfect summer main course. It can be poached, roasted or grilled with equally great results. I like to slow-roast the salmon in a 275 F oven, as it produces a creamy, moist texture. Whether I am serving it chilled or warm, the technique remains the same – I prefer slow roasting to poaching salmon because I find it much easier and there is less cleanup. And the kitchen doesn’t get too hot. There is no need for a poaching vessel; a baking sheet with sides will suffice.

I am often asked what kind of salmon I like best. Well, it depends on what looks and smells the freshest. Farm-raised salmon is available year-round, but many fish lovers reject this type due to its mild flavor. There is also controversy over whether farm-raised fish have higher levels of toxins than wild varieties. I ask my fishmonger what they know about the farm where the fish is raised and whether they have checked on the toxin levels. If I am satisfied with their answer, I will buy it.

If you prefer wild salmon, you are in luck during the summer season since both Atlantic and Alaskan varieties are abundant at this time of year. When selecting your salmon, check for a slightly sweet odor and firm flesh. Salmon filets may have “pin” bones (tiny bones). These bones are often buried vertically in the thickest part of the flesh. To remove them, press the meat with your fingers and remove any bones that appear. Tweezers come in handy for this job.

A light Asian-style miso and cucumber sauce complements the salmon just right. Serve this with a simple rice pilaf flavored with peas or zucchini and chopped cilantro for a satisfying quick dinner. To drink, why not try a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a California Viognier or a fruity, slightly sweet Riesling?

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons white (or light yellow) miso 1 teaspoon prepared wasabi
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped European cucumber 2 pounds salmon filets, skin removed,
cut into 4 to 6 equal serving pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, whisk all the vinaigrette ingredients together. You can add more oil if the sauce is too thick. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 275 F. Rub both sides of each piece of the salmon with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
3. Place skin side down on a nonstick or foil lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven at 275 F for 18 to 22 minutes, depending upon the thickness, or until flaky and just cooked through. Thicker pieces will require longer roasting. The salmon will appear very moist. 4. Place the salmon on serving plates and spoon the vinaigrette over the salmon and serve immediately Advance Preparation: This may be served as a chilled entree. After the fish is cooked, let it come to room temperature. Loosely cover and refrigerate until serving. The sauce can be covered up to 4 hours ahead of serving and kept at room temperature. Serves 4-6.