Thu | Dec 13, 2018

Culinary perfection in simplicity

Published:Thursday | April 5, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Salmon with a tarragon vinaigrette. This dish is from a recipe by Katie Workman.


Salmon with Tarragon Vinaigrette


A good piece of fish needs very little to make it perfect. Here, the brisk, anisey-tangy flavour of tarragon vinaigrette is a wonderful complement to the lushness of salmon fillets. If you start with excellent salmon and super-fresh herbs, and don't overcook the fish, you cannot mess this up. It's a less-is-more dish.

The mix of orange and lemon juices in the vinaigrette provides a nice balance of sweetness and tanginess. I love starting fish in a pan (make sure your fish is fairly thick, about 1-inch or even thicker) and then transferring it to a stove to finish cooking. Here are the three main reasons why:

1) You can use the oven to cook something else to go with the fish, whether it's roasted potatoes or other vegetables.

2) If you are cooking the fish with the skin on, you can get that pan screaming hot before you add the fish, and when the skin hits the pan it starts to crisp up immediately. It then stays crisp and delicious and great to eat. Soft fish skin: not good. Crisp fish skin: a fabulous counterpoint to a well-cooked, soft, delicate fish.

3) Perhaps best of all: You don't have to flip the fish, which even for the most confident and experienced cooks doesn't always end well.

Serve this with rice and a green salad, or a whole-grain salad mixed with some fresh or roasted vegetables.




Serves 4

Start to finish: 25 minutes

For the Salmon:

1 tbs olive oil, plus more

for brushing

4 (6-ounce) fillets of salmon,

1-inch thick, skin on if desired

Salt and pepper for tasting

For the Tarragon Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbs fresh orange juice

1 tbs fresh lemon juice

2 tbs minced fresh

tarragon leaves

2 tbs minced shallots

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Coarse or kosher salt

and freshly ground pepper

to taste




Preheat the oven to 425?F. Heat a heavy, ovenproof skillet over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.

Brush some olive oil over each piece of salmon, and season with salt and pepper. Add the salmon to the pan, skin side down (if relevant).

Allow to sear, without moving, in the pan for about 3 minutes. Transfer to the oven and roast for 5 to 8 minutes, until done to your liking.

While the salmon is cooking, in a small container combine the 1/4 cup olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice, tarragon, shallots, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper. Shake to combine.

Transfer the fish to a serving platter or individual plates. Shake the vinaigrette to remix it, and then pour it over the fish. Serve hot or warm.

Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, "Dinner Solved!" and "The Mom 100 Cookbook."