I bought a beautiful cut of wild-caught Alaskan King salmon from the grocery store this week at a great price and my fiance automatically assumed something must be wrong with it. Fortunately that was NOT the case, it was of great quality and absolutely delicious!! I always buy wild-caught fish, though it can be pricier, the flavor is usually better and it is much healthier for you too. Now and days a lot of fish are "farm-raised" and my step-dad who is a toxicology specialist, has done numerous studies on the dangers of farm-raised fish. Now I'm not saying all farm-raised fish are bred in horrible conditions and contain cancer causing pollutants, but a lot are. So if possible, limit your farm-raised fish intake to once a month.
A few things to remember when picking a good quality fish or fish fillet:
- Look at the skin for a bright metallic sheen with smooth scales and color.
- Ask to smell the fish, there should be no odor. If it smells very "fishy", it probably is old and was not kept in proper conditions.
- Look at the eyes, they should be clear, shiny and bright.
- Check underneath the gills for a rich bright red color, if they look gray or drab it's definitely not fresh!
- Touch the fillets to see how firm they are. Press down on the fish to see if it has resiliency, it will bounce back if it is of good quality or sink down from the pressure.
Ingredients for Salmon:
- 4 - 13"x13"pieces of parchment paper cut into hearts
- 4 - 8 oz salmon fillets
- 16 - thin slices of lemon halved
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Ingredients for Herb Sauce:
- 1/4 cup dry white wine (like Chardonnay)
- 1 cup fish broth
- 2 shallots, finely minced
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1/3 cup chopped herbs (chevril, basil, dill, tarragon)
- salt pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400F.
For the salmon, place a fillet on one side of your heart-shaped parchment paper and fold the other side over to enclose the fish. Begin folding the edges of the parchment paper together, starting towards the small end and ending at the big end, forming a pouch or "Papillote" as the French would say :). Put on a baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on how thick the fillets are. You can test the doneness by the firmness of the fillet.
To make the herb sauce, saute the shallots with the wine, about 2-3 minutes. Add the stock and simmer until the mixture has reduced by half, about 8-10 minutes. Add the cream and allow the mixture to thicken slightly. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the chopped herbs.
You can serve each person with a parcel to unwrap at the table and place the herb sauce in a seperate bowl. The reason for a "papillote" is so each guest can enjoy a fresh whiff of the aromas and flavors trapped inside the packet while cooking in the oven. I hope you enjoy unwrapping this tasty treasure!