Saturday, June 16, 2012

Two Kinds of Fish Done One Way

I am a huge fan of fish. I especially love the really fishy-tasting fishes like the oilier cold-water fish - salmon, trout, mackerel, herring and swordfish. Because they're a more robust, oily fish than some of the more delicate white-fleshed fish, these fish can take some searing heat and not dry out as quickly.

For this reason, one of my favorite preparations for these fish is a good sear in a wicked hot pan in a little bit of olive oil, 3 - 4 minutes on the skin side (if it's a fillet), even if the skin has been removed, start with that side, to sear off some of the residual fat left clinging to the flesh. Then flip it over one time, and sear for another 3 - 4 minutes on the other side, and then plate and serve immediately.

For a thinner fillet, opt for the lower time; a thicker fillet or steak, like around 1 inch thick, will need a bit more time, but be careful, because fish can go from perfectly moist and delicately soft to dried out rather quickly.

The salmon, in the picture above, seared for 3 minutes on the first side and about 2-3/4 minutes on the second side; the swordfish, pictured below, went for 4 minutes on both sides, as it was a little more than 1 inch thick.

I didn't marinate the fillets, and I wasn't in the mood for a complicated sauce, so instead, I made a mustard-dill compound butter by mashing together 2 tablespoons salted butter, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill. I formed it into a log, rolled it up in plastic wrap, securing the ends with twist ties, and then popped it in the refrigerator to chill. Then as soon as the fish was plated, I sliced it into generous pats and plopped it right on the fish.

See how it melts into a luscious sauce? So simple, but so much flavor.


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