Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Salmon with Capers and Dill

With St. Patrick's Day approaching, a day that mostly centers around amateur drinking and foods with horrifying shades of green, I thought it appropriate to share a dish that would easily grace a real Irish table. Adapted just slightly from Rachel's Irish Family Food: 120 Classic Recipes from my Home to Yours and shared by The Splendid Table, this authentic meal is a lighter and healthier way to honor the Irish tradition. In addition to swimming the cold Irish rivers, salmon also plays an important role in Irish mythology. The Salmon of Wisdom was said to be a fish that would grant all the knowledge of the world to first person to eat its flesh, earning this fish a place in the hearts, minds, and bellies of many an Irish lad and lass. This recipe is brilliantly simple, the piquancy of the lemon and capers shining brilliantly against the rich salmon and butter and burst of fresh herbs. Dill is an herb sadly infrequent in my culinary repertoire, but each time I use it I ask myself why I don't do so more. If you're like me and always looking for an occasion to cook something special, why not try this meal out for St. Patty's Day? It may not grant you with the knowledge of the universe, but it is a fine start to a night of carousing or a quiet night at home with a pint of Guinness. Éirinn go Brách!

Salmon with Capers and Dill
adapted slightly from The Splendid Table
serves 4

4 tablespoons (50g) butter, diced
4 (4-ounce/125g) salmon fillets (with the skin left on, if you wish)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice mixed with 6 to 8 tablespoons water 
4 teaspoons chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried drill

1. Place a frying pan over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add a couple of pats (knobs) of butter, very quickly followed by the salmon, with the skin side down. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden brown underneath. Turn over, season with salt and pepper, and fry for another couple of minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through. (The timing will depend on the thickness of the salmon fillets and heat of the pan.)

2. Add the capers, along with the remaining butter, and lemon juice mixture and boil for 1 minute. Season to taste, adding more lemon juice or water, if necessary. Transfer the salmon onto warmed plates, stir the chopped dill into the sauce, and pour over the fish to serve.

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