Salmon is one of the simplest but most tricky things to make because there are so many things that can go just slightly wrong. The most common issue for me is either overbaking or underbaking the fish…and that the difference between these two extremes can be a matter of minutes. Before making this recipe I never thought to check the temperature of the fish with a thermometer (duh)…I would just cut into the fish a bit until eventually the fish would look more like fish hash than a fillet. The other things that can go wrong are under or over seasoning or having fish that is either too firm or so soft that it has no texture at all. Well, this recipe corrects all those issues. The fish is quickly brined so that it won’t have that white goo that we all know and love. Then the fillets are coated in a mixture of mustard, mayo and herbs and finally coated with a thick crust of panko, thyme, garlic and butter. The fish is baked at a lower than normal temperature to an exact temperature of 125 degrees. You really can’t go wrong with that! If you’re like me and have a hard time getting fish just right you seriously have to try this recipe!
This local MD wine is a blend of 70% Vidal Blanc and 30% Chardonnay. It has a light effervescence which was surprising at first but then quite successful with the salmon. The prominent flavors were lemon and pineapple and it offered a light and refreshing contrast to the salmon. This wine would be amazing with any fish, seafood or lighter fare. Thank you to my mom and dad for this pairing!
This witbier from nearby Baltimore, Maryland was a great pairing for the salmon! The typical flavors and aromas of a Belgian style witbier with orange, coriander, and citrus notes coupled with decent carbonation and smooth finish help compliment the herbs and citrus on the salmon. While the style of beer worked really well this particular witbier fell a little flat and lacked some body.
Herb Crusted Salmon
Adapted from this recipe
Generously serves 2
Salt and pepper
2 (6- to 8-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup panko bread crumbs
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons beaten egg
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1½ teaspoons mayonnaise
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 1 ½ quarts water in large container. Submerge salmon in brine and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Remove salmon from brine, pat dry, and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add panko, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt and season with pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until panko is golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl and let cool completely. Stir in egg and thyme until thoroughly combined. Stir tarragon, mustard, and mayonnaise together in second bowl.
3. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. Place 12 by 8-inch piece of aluminum foil on wire rack and lightly coat with vegetable oil spray. Evenly space fillets, skin side down, on foil. Using spoon, spread tarragon mixture evenly over top of each fillet. Sprinkle panko mixture evenly over top of each fillet, pressing with your fingers to adhere. Bake until center of thickest part of fillets reaches 125 degrees and is still translucent when cut into with paring knife, 18 to 25 minutes. Transfer salmon to serving platter and let rest for 5 minutes before serving with lemon wedges.