Spice up some salmon for Lent
I never tire of salmon, but sometimes I tire of the preparation. My favorite way to enjoy salmon is pan roasted in my cast-iron skillet, with just some flaked sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Sometimes I drizzle on some sesame oil before I add the pan to the oven, but that’s been the extent of my getting fancy with the fish. It’s a no-fail, never disappointing dish, but you know, sometimes you just want a little more.
With the Lenten season here, I’m sure many of you will be feeling the same way. So, it’s time to riff on this favorite fish and still get all those wonderful health benefits, including omega 3’s.
It’s surprising how easy it can be to jazz up a dish with just a few ingredients. For instance, I used to love those spicy hot buffalo wings, the lip-smacking hot tempered by blue cheese sauce. So I applied a similar technique to salmon and came up with a delicious seafood version sans the calories. I used hot sauce and panko — this time whole wheat panko, because I was feeling virtuous — and it was super delicious. This recipe serves six, but it can easily be halved (I used 2, 7-ounce fillets and half the sauce). And if you really want to be health conscious, you can skip the butter. I’ve prepared it both ways and really don’t miss the fat.
Recipe adapted from Gourmet. To halve recipe, use 1/8 cup sauce, and 2 tablespoons butter.
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup hot sauce such as Frank's RedHot or Louisiana hot sauce (do not use Tabasco)
1/3 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (2-pound) piece salmon fillet with skin
Preheat oven to 425 degrees with rack in upper third. Lightly oil a shallow baking pan or place cast-iron skillet in oven to heat until searing hot.
Melt butter with hot sauce and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper over medium heat. Set aside 1/4 cup sauce.
Toss panko with oil in a bowl. Remove skillet from oven and carefully place on hot stove, brush salmon with remaining sauce, salt and pepper and sear salmon, flesh side down for about 2-3 minutes, flip salmon, and sprinkle panko evenly over top of fish, then bake until panko is golden and fish is just cooked through, 15-18 minutes. Remove salmon from skin with spatula and serve reserved sauce on the side. Serves 6.
Note: If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, lightly oil a heavy baking pan, place salmon with sauce skin side down and bake for 16-20 minutes or until fish is cooked through.
Per serving: 352 calories; 24 g fat (8 g saturated fat; 61 percent calories from fat); 3 g carbohydrates; 0 g sugar; 119 mg cholesterol; 236 mg sodium; 30 g protein; 0.2 g fiber.