1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp capers, drained
1 tsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp fine sea salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 lb. salmon fillet, pin bones removed, with skin intact
2 tbsp mixed minced fresh herbs, such as tarragon, basil, flat-leaf parsley and thyme
2 tbsp fennel seeds, cracked
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Rock salt or kosher salt, for lining pan*
* If you can’t find rock salt or another coarse salt, this technique works with finer salts, but the skin will be too salty to eat — just be careful not to tip the fish over and get any on the flesh. You can also add aromatic whole spices like star anise and cinnamon to the salt, a trick learned from cookbook author Lora Zarubin.
Step 1: To prepare the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and mustard. Stir in the onion, capers, basil, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve. The vinaigrette can be made up to 2 days ahead.
Step 2: To prepare the salmon, rub the fillet with the minced herbs and fennel seeds. Season with salt and pepper. At this point, the salmon can be covered and refrigerated overnight.
Step 3: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Cover a large sheet pan or roasting pan with aluminum foil. Pour the rock or kosher salt into the pan, covering its surface. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the salt.
Step 4: Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the fish is opaque on the outside and slightly translucent in the centre. This method of cooking allows the salmon to cook through without becoming dry. Remove from the oven, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let stand for 5 minutes (the salmon will continue to cook).
Step 5: To serve, use a wide spatula to remove the salmon from the salt. Remove the skin and portion the salmon onto plates. Spoon some of the vinaigrette over each portion and serve.
Reprinted with permission from Kristen Miglore’s Food52 Genius Recipes (2015 Ten Speed Press).