Simple additions let the flavor of the salmon shine through!
We eat a lot of salmon dishes in our house, and this is one of the easiest and most flavorful. The full flavor of the salmon shines through, with the wild leeks and lemons adding their own unique accents. Another bonus is that it is fast to put together, effortless to cook.
Ramps (Allium tricoccum) are another Northern seasonal native that makes an appearance only briefly in our woods. They are also called wild leeks, wild garlic, or wild onions, and have a subtle onion/garlic flavor.
It is important to know the source of your ramps. Because you want them to be sustainably harvested. They have been over-harvested in the United States and Canada (where they are protected) and are listed as a plant of “special concern” in a couple of states. So trust who you purchase them from, and mistrust any large volume of ramps that you see, especially large clumps of them with the roots intact.
You can easily substitute scallions, another delicious allium, for the ramps if you do not have a reliable source, just add a little garlic to the recipe. You can also use sliced leeks, or even onions here.
Wild salmon in season soon
Wild Alaskan salmon’s season begins about mid-May, and the different varieties will keep us happy all summer. The wild salmon all has more flavor than farmed, and a range of sizes, colors, and texture.
When in season, fresh wild Alaskan salmon with its deep orange color is the fish of choice in our house. The deep orange comes from their diet of crustaceans such as shrimp and krill, which have an abundance of carotenoids. Note that some of the farmed salmon from elsewhere is given feed that has dye added to darken the flesh of the fish. This is another reason to get to know your fish monger so you will know what you are buying..
Other times of the year, you can find the wild salmon previously flash frozen, although it tends to be rather dry when cooked. You can also look for fresh salmon from the Faroe Islands or Scotland where the fish is sustainably farmed and harvested with stringent environmental and health practices in place. These farmed salmon are higher in fat and thus the the rich, beneficial Omegas we look for in salmon.
Gentle heat and little liquid
I usually sear my salmon in cast iron, or cook it under a broiler. The recipe here is a more gentle approach. It is not quite a poach because we are using very little liquid. I used to poach salmon for both hot and cold preparations in considerably more liquid, until I realized that so much of my flavor was going into the poaching liquid and that meant less in my fish! I rarely poach salmon now, but a little liquid in the bottom of the pan helps to add steam to keep the fish moist in the heat of the oven.
Baked Salmon with Ramps & Lemons
1 lb. salmon
1 small bunch of ramps (wild leeks)
1/3 cup white wine
Preheat your oven to 350, and lightly oil a baking dish that will accommodate your fish and vegetables.
Prepare you salmon by removing any small pin bones. Salt and pepper the fish, then place skin-side down in the baking dish.
Zest one of the lemons, and juice it. To this add the white wine and whisk.
Pour the liquids over the fish.
Add the ramps or scallions to either side of the fish.
Slice the remaining lemon and place around the fish and pan. Drizzle with a little more olive oil.
Fit a piece of parchment paper over the fish loosely (even a couple of butter wrappers will do).
Bake for about 10 minutes, remove the parchment, and baste with a little of the pan juice. Back in the oven for 10 more minutes. Check to see if it is at the doneness you desire. We like ours opaque in the middle, some folks like it rare, and others want it well done.
Serve, giving everyone some leeks and lemon along with the fist, and spooning a little of the juice in the pan over the salmon! This makes 4 portions.
Ramps are high in Vitamins A and C, selenium, chromium, calcium, and iron.
Wild salmon is high in Omega 3 oils which are reported to be beneficial to the heart. It is also naturally abundant in Vitamins A, C, D, E & B-12, niacin, potassium, and protein.
© Copyright 2019 – or current year, Dorothy Grover-Read, The New Vintage Kitchen.