Saturday, June 09, 2007

Filbert Crusted Baked Salmon

My dad is learning to cook now that he's retired, and seems to really be enjoying it. He's always done some cooking: barbecuing, of course;a phase of baking a lot of bread when I was a child. His anadama bread (a dark bread with molasses, great with butter and honey) was very, very good. Another bread, that didn't rise, we joked should be used as weights in the back of the pickup.

I grew up thinking of these nuts as filberts, though they are more commonly called by their upper class name of hazelnuts. My Grandpa Delbert raised filberts, and I thought that Filbert was actually his name at one point in my childhood.

The girls and I went to my folks' house for the weekend a few weeks back, to celebrate Dad's birthday and a belated Mother's Day. Dad made the following dish, from a recipe in The Oregonian. He modified it slightly by accident, adding the filberts with the mustard instead of sprinkling them on later as directed in the original recipe. I made the recipe at home the next week and made it as originally directed, but have to say I like Dad's version better (though both were very good). This is great with a salad and twice baked potatoes or brown rice pilaf and steamed asparagus. I found wild caught, Alaskan salmon fillets at Trader Joe's for about $6.00 a pound, enough for our family, though the recipe calls for two pounds. Don't use farm raised salmon; it'd be better to substitute a different fish.

*1 tsp sea salt
*2 cloves garlic, minced
*2 tsp herbes de provence (I used that recipe as a guide and made something close to it with what I had on had, as I didn't want to go to the store)
*2 TBS whole grained or Dijon mustard (I used Dijon)
*3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
*1 tsp fresh lemon juice
*1 2 lb fillet of wild salmon
*3-4 TBS finely chopped filberts (hazelnuts) (Note: subbed cashews one day, and they worked very well, too).

-In a small bowl, combine salt, garlic, herbes, mustard, olive oil and lemon juice, mixing with a fork til emulsified. If you'd like, stir in the filberts now.
-Place salmon on a rimmed baking sheet that you've sprayed with Pam or lightly oiled. Spread the mustard mixture thickly over the top and sides of the fillet. Refrigerate for an hour.
-Preheat oven to 350. Bake salmon, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, then sprinkle the nuts over and lightly press them into the coating if you didn't add them earlier. Return to oven and bake up to another 15 minutes, until salmon flakes when tested with a fork (note: our salmon finished much earlier than recipe suggested it would, so test early as you don't want it to dry out).

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